A New Posse!

 A week ago we took a trip to the Farm Store and returned with 18 baby peeps.  Not the marshmallow kind, but the fluffy, chirping, make your heart melt kind.  It’s that time of year, time to start thinking of baby chicks, baby goats and all other things small.  
This is the earliest that we have started chicks.  I usually keep them under lights safely nested in their horse feeder “house” tucked in the garage.  I quickly found out that the garage is no where near warm enough.  When they all huddle under the light in a giant mass of chicken fluff, you know that it is not warm enough.  So, the peeps were relocated to the mudroom, just off of the kitchen and my bedroom.  Now I hear them chirp while I cook, do laundry and even sleep.  Chickens are not on my same sleep schedule.  Just like my babies, they wake up to eat ALL NIGHT.  I am getting used to their sweet noises all night (sadly I can’t say that I ever got used to my kids waking up all night) and I am sure that I will be sad when they are big enough to move to the garage in a few weeks.  Although, I won’t miss their “heavenly” aroma.  My kitchen smells like a duck...not in a good way.  

Baby Buff Orpington
But this is what chicken ranchers do...we keep chickens in the house when we have to, we get up early to feed the girls, and we refill food and water bowls 800 times a day because baby chicks are a mess.  They make a teenagers room look like a palace.

Baby Aracauna

We did lose a chicken on the first night.  It’s heartbreaking to look in their little house and see one not moving.  This has only happened to us once before.  Some of these little babies are just that, really little, and the stress of moving and relocating them is sometimes too much.  I always have a complete freak-out and I always cry, even if I did only know the chicken for a few hours.  Poor little peep.  
We tried a few different breeds this year.  We got Silver Laced Wyandottes, Buff Orpingtons, Aracaunas, and a few Black Sex-Links.  I am eager to see how the Black Sex-Links turn out.  We have never had them before and I am not sure about their temperament.  We got five of them, but the baby that died was one of these.  Everyone will lay brown eggs, except for the Aracaunas...they lay those beautiful green and blue eggs.  
Most importantly, my boys (the “chicken whisperers” as they are known at the Farm Store) are having a great time with the chickens.  They learn so many life lessons from having them, I wouldn’t trade the smelly noisy chicks for anything.  My boys learn that they have to give service to the animals, they can’t feed themselves; they learn the meaning of softness and how to be kind; they sometimes even learn lessons of life and death; and they are learning where food comes from and how to raise their own food if they need to.  I am hoping that teaching my boys all of these things makes me a responsible parent that has taken time for important and sometimes self-sustaining lessons.

The whole posse...aren’t they sweet?
If you don’t have chickens, you should seriously consider getting some.  They are not much of a hassle, they eat bugs in your backyard, you get a wonderful supply of organic free-range eggs, you can teach your children/grandchildren several valuable lessons, and they provide hours of free entertainment.  You want a good laugh?  Set up a chair and watch some chickens for a half hour, they do some pretty goofy things!

Out idiotic cat Bob who has taken sole mothering responsibility of the chicks!
If you want a really good laugh, watch my motherly instinctive male cat watch over our little flock like they are his own tiny children.  He never leaves them, 24/7 he watches over them, I am not quite sure what he is thinking.  He’s completely certifiably insane!!!  Poor Bob, I think that the other cats are talking, but I don’t have the heart to tell him...


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