Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Answer to Slugs, Compost and Vegetable Scraps

3-day-old New Hampshire Red
Long awaited, the chickens have arrived!

3-day-old Red Star
We ordered two different breeds, New Hampshire Red and Red Star, three of each - and because the breeding houses are organized according to a schedule, we received the first three chicks during the last week of April and the second three chicks this past week. They will have to live separately until they are full-grown so that the big ones don't pick on the little ones.

Being first-time chicken owners, we really don't know what we're getting ourselves into. And we've have several interesting discoveries already.

Ooh - what's in the box?
First, the chickies come home in a Happy Meal box. Magalloway is intrigued but actually afraid of the baby chicks - they make so much noise and hop around erratically.

Second, the saying "Birds of a feather flock together" definitely holds true for chickens. The chicks do everything together; if one wants to have a snack, they all scurry over to the feeder. If one wants to take a nap under the heat lamp, they all huddle around into a chicky-pile. (Very cute, but hard to photograph - they tend to wake up when people come near enough to take a photo.)

Third, baby chicks grow really fast. We were amazed to watch how the New Hampshire Reds' wing-feathers  and tail-feathers grew day-by-day. The two-week-old NH Reds look completely different now and are "huge" compared to the baby Red Stars. Both breeds as adults will be reddish brown and fairly similar in appearance, but it's fascinating how different they look as chicks.
"Yellow" at two weeks old - we have temporary names for the chicks.

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