Why Chickens?

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NH, United States
Last year, I bought a chicken coop that was made by someone that I love dearly and decided to raise some chickens. Well... we'll see how this quest develops as Spring fades into Summer and the chicks arrive in early June! Check out my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/fbideas for the most recent videos I've posted!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blue Laced Red Wyandotte - Another 2 for the road!

Looking over the list, most of the chicks I picked will be Wyandotte's.  They are a favorite amongst backyard flock owners for their dependable egg laying, easygoing nature, and cold-hardiness. 

This cool and rare variety of Wyandotte is very new in the United States.  Apparently, these chicks will hatch 50% blue laced, 25% splash laced and 25% black laced due to the genetics of the blue color.

I love that they are so "puffy" looking.  It'll be great in the winter, but I'm going to have to remember to make sure they have plenty of shade during the hot summer days. 

They remind me of square dancers with the big puffy hoop skirts!  The outlining of each feather in the light blue color is just so striking.

Bantams or Standards - Which size?

OK, so now you're starting to see a pattern... So many choices, too many chicks so I chose either one or two of each breed that I really liked.  Actually, there were many, many more that I fell in love with too, but once I started ordering I decided not to get any of the bantams because they are smaller than the standard breeds.  I decided to pay attention to the natural "pecking order" of chickens and not get any that might start out with a size disadvantage.

Much to my dismay, that eliminated some of the really FUN chickens that I saw at the Deerfield Fair like polish and silkies.  They're smaller and apparently not as cold hearty so that was that.

Buff Orpington Chickens - I'll take 2 please!

Buff Orpington Chickens
Orpington's are known for being docile, feathery, cuddly.  Happy foraging or in confinement, pretty hardy, reasonable broodies and good mothers.  I'll have to be careful that they don't get bullyed from the other breeds.  The do not often fly due to their size and can be allowed to free range.  They are cuddly, docile and extremely child friendly.

I think they are beautiful.  They are supposed to have wonderfully soft feathers and I like it that they won't necessarily want to "fly the coop".  I want to make sure that when they first arrive, I hold and cuddle my little chicks so when my Grandchildren come to visit, they will be comfortable with being held by little hands.  Orpington's have small combs on their heads so that they won't get frostbitten too easily and they lay about 200 eggs per year.  I've ordered two of this breed because I think they'll be a favorite with the girls!  I just hope they aren't twins so that I can tell them apart!

Another Day - Another Choice of Chick

Blue Cochin 
50/50 chance of being Blue at birth - and feathery legs!
OMG I only ordered ONE of these!  Now that I've seen better photos of the chicks and the adult chickens, I can't believe I only ordered one!  Well, maybe I do believe it... Since the total number of chicks I'm getting is 15, I thought that was pushing the limit with my husband. 

According to http://www.mypetchicken.com/ Cochins are known the world over for being big friendly balls of fluff and feathers.  They don't lay very well but are popular because of their sweet personality and fantastic mothering qualities.  Cochins became famous in the 1800's when this Chinese breed was given as a gift to Queen Victoria of England, who absolutely adored them.
Look at her FEET!!

Aha! The color blue does not hatch true in chickens.  Blue is a diluting gene for black.  So, 50% of the blue cochins will hatch blue, and 25% will be black.  The last 25% will be "splash" having received two diluting genes.  Splash is a very light color, pale blue or white with "splashes" of black and darker blue in feathers, especially in the wings and tail.

I just noticed her leg feathers!  Guess I'll be able to tell the difference between this one and the Buff Orpington's easily.

Maybe I'll call her Vicki?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Google is my friend, and so is YouTube.

When I started looking for baby chicks, I wanted to make sure that whatever breeds I chose wouldn't die during the winter because NH winter's can be brutal.  Of course, there's no guarantee in life either theirs or mine, so the best I could do was look for "cold hearty" breeds.  Sounds logical doesn't it?

Google is my friend, and so is YouTube. I was amazed when I started searching on different keywords and phrases how much information is out there!  Blogs, videos, video blogs, emails, research papers and on and on.  I have to admit, I'm STILL researching!  I think that's part of the fun, looking and planning and telling others about what you're doing.  The other thing that is amazing to me is that other people are REALLY interested in what I've found <grin>.

So I think my next few posts will be which chicks will be arriving in a few months, and why I chose them.  What are they supposed to look like as chicks and when they grow up.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Trip to Hooksett Tractor Supply store

Chicks at Tractor Supply Store in Hooksett
Spring is here and although at the Agway or Blue Seal stores you can only "order" your chicks right now... Tractor Supply has them in stock and chirping already! 

They had 3 big tubs of different varieties of chicks (none of the ones I've already got on order), and in NH you have to buy a minimum of 12 chicks at a time from the store.  They are just too cute!  Fast little guys too!  I got permission to "pick one up" from the store manager, I just couldn't CATCH one!  Note to self.... have a plan when I want to pick up one of mine later this year :)  I finally cornered a little yellow girl and picked her up.  She was so-o-o-o soft!  My Granddaughters are going to love them!

Coop needs fixing!
I visited the Tractor Supply stores in Milford and Merrimack yesterday, so I knew Hooksett would have chicks too.  I was tempted to get these chicks instead of the ones I already have on order, however one MAJOR problem... the chicken coop is still on wheels :)  It's probably a good thing that I have another 60+ days before they arrive!  We still have snow, the roof needs shingling and repainting.  I have to decide exactly "where" I'm going to put it permanently.  Once that's done, I can figure how big a "run" we'll be building and which direction to place the slanted roof.  It's looking like the best place would be to face it South, which would put the entry door towards the street and one of the doors to the run towards the house and away from the wooded areas. 

Am I overthinking this?  I'm sure my husband would think so, he just shakes his head every time I open a chicken book or magazine :)  I'm so glad he loves me!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chicks On Order

The chicks have been ordered from www.mypetchicken.com and should arrive in early June.  I wanted them earlier, however when you're ordering baby chicks via the mail and you're choosing different breeds, they batch ALL of the chicks by the furthest delivery date.

I couldn't make up my mind exactly which "cold weather" breed I should get so I ordered one of these and two of those.... amazing how quickly they add up! So, 15 little baby chicks will be here sometime in early June and by the time they're old enough to lay eggs, it will be about Thanksgiving from what I've read.

I'll fill you in on all the other things I've been up to over the next few months so you can get an idea of how this all developed!