Lesson 1234 – Chick season

Thank you all for your wonderful and supportive comments regarding my father, each one has touched me. The funeral will be this weekend and while it will be sad, all of my brothers and sisters will be there, along with my mother. I’m sure we’ll all have some big smiles as we remember our Dad.

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As it is spring in New Hampshire (at least on the calendar – we ended up getting some snow on the first day of spring) people’s thoughts are turning to chicks. I gave a chickens 101 presentation to a women’s group who were interested in either getting chicks or continuing to maintain their current flock. They had lots of great questions, backyard chickens are still gaining in popularity.

We got 12 new chicks last spring (only 1 ended up dying) and don’t really need any new members of our flock (in a few weeks, we are going to be flush with eggs) but knowing that the peregrine falcons have discovered our backyard take-out restaurant, I’m going to be getting 4 new chicks just in case.

This time, I’ve decided to get 2 Columbian Rock Cross and 2 more New Hampshire Reds. Of last year’s batch, it was the New Hampshire Reds that ended up being the friendliest and most willing to interact with the rest of the family. They are a sturdy, red/brown, consistent egg laying bird bred specifically for our climate. For us, that’s a win-win-win situation.

As far as the Columbian Rocks, although they look similar to Light Brahma’s (of which we have had 2) there is enough of a difference for me to give them a try. As you have probably figured out, we like a flock filled with diversity.
If you are going to branch out and try different birds this season, go for it, but here’s some good advice I was given by a trusted chicken breeder – the old saying “birds of a feather, flock together” is an old saying for a reason. When you get new chicks either get at least 2 of each kind (so they have similar buddies) or try to keep them all to the same relative size. Try not to introduce all or a single bantam into a flock of standard-sized chickens. That just sets up the perfect condition for serious pecking.

If you do want to try a different size in your flock (or a significantly different shape) just make sure you have at least a pair. Not saying that you won’t have pecking, but at least they will be able to band together for support.

By having similar chicks, it will make introduction into the flock that much easier when the time comes.

Our chick order has to be in by March 30th and then it just becomes a waiting game until we become chick parents (again.)

Have to say, I simply adore chick season – when else do you get to do things like this?

chick with flowers

 

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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3 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, chicken care, Chicks

3 responses to “Lesson 1234 – Chick season

  1. Margaret-Elaine Jinno

    I started with chickens last spring: 2 Easter Eggers, 2 RI Reds, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 silver Wyandottes, 2 Plymouth Barred Rocks. My son helped me build a beautiful coop and run, as I live in the Village. They are laying well. All except the Buffs and Easter Eggers have red bare necks (or mostly bare, no feathers. The RIReds are just starting.)How do I know if this is molt or Hen Pecking? I would appreciate some help in identifying. Thank you.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Molt typically occurs in the late summer/fall time of year.

      If you have specific spots, I’d go with either pecking or mounting. Even if you don’t have a rooster, your hens will mount each other (it has nothing to do with being gay, and everything to do with exerting dominance and a pecking order.)

      If you have a hen with a bare back, she’s being mounted.

      Feathers lost around the neck area could be pecking but also inspect your chickens for mites and possible skin conditions.

      If your chickens are anything like mine, they are fed up with the winter. Stress can also cause pecking within the flock. We are letting our chickens out of the coop and while they still can’t go far due to the snow banks, at least they are moving around more. I don’t know where you are but if you can release the chickens (if only for a small amount of time) that might help.

      Let me know how things progress.

      Wendy

      On Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 1:12 PM, Lessons Learned from the Flock wrote:

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  2. Margaret-Elaine Jinno

    How can one only buy 2 or 4 chicks. My stores won’t sell less than 6 .

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