For anyone who knows me, it will be nothing new that one of my long time dreams has been to live on enough land to have chickens. Well, the land hasn't really happened, so I finally decided to settle with going through the permit process to have chickens on my 1/3 acre lot. I had really been putting it off just because I didn't feel like jumping through all the red tape associated with that process, but it turned out to be rather painless, and here I am six weeks later with healthy, growing chicks (which is one reason my food blogging life has slowed down a little around here).
Six weeks ago tomorrow, I went to a feed and seed about 45 minutes from my house to pick up a special order of three Buff Orpington chicks. I drove home with them chirping in the box all the way and then set them up in a washtub I had lined with newspaper (I put pine shavings in the next day after they knew where their food was and what it looked like). This is what they looked like on day one.
They remained snug and warm under a heat lamp for several weeks until we had to abandon the washtub for a larger homemade brooder made out of a plastic bin lined with cardboard and wire. They liked their new home and enjoyed daily "trips" out of the brooder to roam around the floor of our guest room (it was still too cold to go outside).
They went through what we affectionately called the "hobo" stage when they looked a little disheveled.
Along the way, they enjoyed reading Our State magazines and textbooks on teaching. Yes, we're raising exceptionally intelligent birds.
They learned that the food jar was a fun place to sit (at which point we put in a roost). And they've learned that they like mashed sweet potato, yogurt, applesauce, and scrambled eggs, but do not like cold, crisp foods like lettuce or cucumber.
Now, the weather is warming, and we took our first visit outside to the almost finished coop.
The girls stayed out about 45 minutes today and loved it, eating every bug in sight.
By the time I took them in, they were completely tuckered out and did not mind being returned to their makeshift brooder. We will continue to visit the outdoors this week in little spurts until next weekend, when we hope they can stay for an overnighter. We'll see how it goes.