Tractor Supply has had Chick Days going now for a couple of weeks, but they don’t carry the breed that I want. My goal is to keep Cogburn, my Buff Orpington rooster, the two Buff hens and the one Olive Egger Hen and replace the other 6 with 10 more Buff Orpingtons. That will give me 13 layers instead of 9 and will give me a pure heritage flock, except for the Olive Egger, whose eggs are just fun because of their color and easy to identify. Hopefully, this will give me a self sustaining flock as the Buffs make good mothers and can raise their replacements and the table birds. A few days ago, I reconnected with the gal that I bought my two Buff hens from last year when they were about 10 weeks old. She has 1 to 3 day chicks and though I didn’t want to raise chicks again this year, I also didn’t want to pay $20 per bird for ones that are only a month younger than the layers I have since I wanted 10. This morning we made a road trip to meet her in a town about an hour from here and did a parking lot exchange of money for 10 new chicks. We took a towel lined cat carrier to bring the peepers home, with a side trip to Tractor Supply for starter feed as they can’t eat the laying mix for the big girls.
I have to admit that they are adorable at just a couple of days old. However when you buy babies they must be kept warm and after my experience of having the brooder in the basement last year, I don’t want a repeat of that, so they are in a makeshift brooder in the garage with a heat lamp, which I also don’t like to use, but have no other option at this point. Last year I used a large black plastic livestock water trough as a brooder, but it is full of split wood in the garage and I didn’t want to have to empty it. maybe later as they grow. The makeshift brooder is half of a plastic large dog crate set inside a larger wire dog cage with the heat lamp hanging from the wire cage. Pine shavings, a chick feeder and waterer in with them and a blanket over part of it, they are set for a while.
Hopefully, this brood will be a success and in 7 weeks they can be moved outdoors, the 6 hens from my United Nations flock will be moved to the chicken tractor for the young ones to be introduced to the coop. Sometimes this summer, those 6 will go to freezer camp and my egg production will drop until the babies are ready to lay.
Hubby says I have an addiction, but at least I limited my purchase to only the breed I want and only females, so we won’t have multiple pens of different ages, and one of them full of testosterone like we had last spring when I bought 21 chicks over a two week period and had half of them cockrells.