Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The Chicken Diaries - Day 1

Christmas holidays are over and now all the shops are open so I was excited to take the kids to look at chickens since I said we would get them this week.

I had originally planned to get pullets - 4 month old chickens - and try to tame them before they start laying. I was reading about how to best tame a chicken and many people said that to raise them from chicks. I thought about whether it was a plausible idea, and when I read more about it, it didn't sound much harder than looking after rats.

So we went to my favourite pet store (where I get my rat food from) because they had lots of chickens previously and have always had chickens. But, when we got there, there were no chicks! Only hens! One of the store people asked if he could help me and when I asked if there were any chicks, he said he had some out back. So, out the back there was a cage full of black chicks - ooh were those Australorps?

He told me they weren't purebred. But they were $3.50 each and unsexed and so cute! So a snap decision was made - I bought four of the adorable creatures. 3 were black and yellow, and the other was yellow. The kids were thrilled - and couldn't wait to get them home so they could hold them. So here are my four chicks - and I'm hoping they are all girls!

The pale chicken is my daughter's, named Bubbles. This one with the yellow chest and yellow above the nostrils is my one, named Cacciatore.

This one with the black tipped beak is my son's chicken, named Mary (I thought he meant Merry, but he was adamant about Mary), and the last one is my husband's chick, that he named Spot.

So I've got them in an old rat cage, with some rat litter on the bottom with a lining of paper towel on top. Then I made a tent out the corners of the cage and covered it with an old shirt so the chicks could stay warm.

I was worried they would be cold, or that the bulb would melt the plastic box, or set fire to the shirt or the paper towels, but I think I've finally got it at the right height. In this picture the bulb was too high.

Our coop isn't here yet, but these little fellas will be inside the house for a little while yet. I'll be documenting their progress until they have their big move to the big coop. Welcome to the family little ones!

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