Spring has Sprung in a COVID-world

It’s been a few minutes since I’ve written but figured, you have to start back somewhere, right? Well here goes. Like many of you, life has been crazy, trying to find a new normal within this COVID-19 world. One of the ways that Ron and I have been able to do this is, is to do more projects on our land. While we don’t have a ton of acreage, it’s plenty for the 2 of us, the pups, and our most recent add-ons …..the CHICKENS!

Yes, we are dabbling in the hobby of backyard chickens. My plan is to document this a little better than I’ve been doing, since many of you have already asked me a ton of questions. While we are novices at chicken-keeping, I’ve read up a ton on how to keep our fowly friends content and am happy to share as we go.

First and foremost, let me backup and introduce you to the chickens. Right when all this COVID-19 business was rearing up in our area, Ron and I ran by Tractor Supply for dog food. Wouldn’t you know it, their popular “Chick Days” banner was out up front. Ron and I have frequently talked about getting chickens but had never pulled the trigger…. until March 12. There we stood looking at all those trough brooders of adorable chicks, and we decided, why not?!

Not an ad; just where we shop.

We picked out 12 standard chicks in 4 different breeds – Russian Orloffs, Blue Production, Barred Rocks, and Golden Sex Links from the pullet bins. The plan was to get familiar with a few different types and then build out the flock with our favorites.  

We bought one of the large water troughs, a feeder, and waterer and were off to conquer the world of backyard chickens with our new little fluffy friends. (Note – You will need heat lamps or a heating plate as well if you don’t already have one.)

For those interested in getting chickens, a few key terms we’ve become familiar with that you’ll want to know.

Pullets = female chicks (Note – Most hatcheries only guarantee about 90-95%. Additionally, if you buy from a feed store, you’re banking that the chicks are correctly labeled and placed in the proper bin. Bottom line – you may not walk away with the breed or sex you’ve planned for.)

Straight Run = chicks are not sexed; You’ll have to likely wait if you’re unsure. You can usually tell by about 3 months, or when your rooster starts crowing. 😉

Pecking Order = Chickens have a pecking order and will figure out who is at the top of that order.  

Bantams = basically miniature chickens (Note – Unless you plan on having separate coops, it’s difficult to keep bantam and standard chickens together. It’s not impossible. I’ve read plenty of people have done it, but you’re likely asking for trouble with pecking order.)

Sex Link = Not actually a breed but a hybrid crossing 2 full breeds. This can be handy if you’ve done research ahead of time as to the type of chicken you want. Sex Links have been bred in a manner that the color of the chick will tell you if it’s male or female.

Stay tuned for the lessons these novices learned when I talk about the Case of the Curious Chickens.

Until then – Stay safe, be well, and wash your hands! ~B

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