Friday, March 20, 2015

Let's Talk About Chicks, Baby

You guys.

I got them. I got four of them. My chickens (said in a Smigel my precious voice).

Barred Plymouth Rocks:

White Plymouth Rock:

Silver-Laced Wyandotte:

If there were a way to explain how excited I am right now... I still prolly wouldn't be able to exaplin it....that's how excited I am.

I'd planned my flock out differently, you know. Oh yes. I'd had my flock planned for months....and I'm sure you can tell from the past-tense tone that things didn't quite go my way. This wouldn't be post if there weren't some sort of internal self-adjustment, right?

I knew I wanted some Barred Plymouth Rocks from the get go. They are super layers and are dual-purpose, meaning once they are done laying they are perfectly suited for the dinner table. They also have excellent temperaments, are sweet with other birds and kids, and are tolerant to the frigid winters we get up here. Overall, they are a sensible, cute bird that I couldn't wait to get my hands on. I picked up the little black beauties on Wednesday. There were plenty to choose from. I went, I saw, I purchased. In and out in a matter of minutes. I was overjoyed to come home with my first two little dolls.

Next up, I'd planned, were the Easter Eggers and Buff Orpingtons. I'd wanted those two breeds real bad. Easter Eggers lay cool eggs (the shells are pastel colored...different variations of green, blue, and pink) and the Buff Orpingtons are super fluffy and chunky. I'd double checked with the store 12 times and was told yes, the breeds I wanted would be arriving at the store today, Friday, March 20th.

So this morning I packed up my car again and headed out, excited to complete my flock and have everything go exactly the way I planned it. Jen's perfect little plans :) I cranked the heat in the car (the babes need heat to stay healthy), dropped the little kid off with G-Ma and G-Pa, and drove out into the wild wilderness that is springtime road construction.

I arrived at the feed store at 10:15, exactly 2 hours and 15 minutes after they opened. I headed back to the chick area, hearing their little peeps chirp out from beyond shelves of  hardware cloth and power tools. I practically skipped down the aisle to my soon-to-be-babies.


The nice, young girl who helped me get my Barred Rocks was there, scoopin' poop and changing litter. I looked around for the bin holding the Orps and Eggers. Nothing. Hmm.

"Hi," I said with a smile, opening my towel-filled box expectantly. "I'm here to pick up a few of your Buff Orpingtons and Easter Eggers!" I seriously looked like The Joker, that's how big my smile was.

Her eyes immediately fell and she stepped back from me just a bit. "I'm sorry," she said. "They sold out already."

I kinda blinked for a second. I might've said, "Shutup."

"I started work at 8AM, got here at 7:45 this morning," she continued, "and there was a line of people outside the door. Even the people waiting since 7 ended up missing them."

"I'm not leaving here without a chicken," I told her, forcefully. I could tell she was a little afraid of me. I tried to mask my disappointment (cheyeah, rite....Jen, masking emotions?) and turned away. I looked into the other chick-filled bins and my mind immediately began acting like a total priss.

No. No. Not you. No. Nope. Bet you lay plain white eggs. Very Merry UN-Special to you. No. Weird-looking. Too sleepy. Too peckish. No. No, these birds won't work. Stupid hillbilly line of people taking my birds.

I heard the head staff woman come over, the one who ran all things chicken and knew me practically by name (I'm telling you I planned this OUT). She quietly asked the younger girl, "Everything ok?" The younger girl nodded and they both checked me out from under their eyebrows. They were waiting for me to freak out. Poor ladies. What a shitty morning they must've had. I kicked it into customer-service sympathy mode.

"Pretty rough morning, huh?" I asked them.

The younger girl smiled and the other lady sighed and looked upward. She returned my smile and said, "Lots of yelling. I get it, people get excited. I just feel bad for those who didn't get what they wanted. I'm sorry."

Yep. That was the hinging moment for me. These two ladies are just trying to do their job. They'd been yelled at all morning and were both still smiling at me, nice as can be, nothing but sympathetic and sensitive. It made me stop and think for a minute.

Every year for her birthday, my big kid asks for donations instead of presents. We usually get $200+...and every penny goes to an organization called Heifer International. They provide livestock and training to people who can't afford to eat. My big girl actually chose a flock of chicks as part of her donation this year. So while I'm sitting over here hemming and hawing over eggshell colors, some family somewhere is excited to just get a chicken. Any chicken. A chicken.

I did a quick Google search on the breeds left in the feed store bins and found them all to be hearty, dual-purpose, steadfast layers with good temperaments. With the staff lady's help (what an awesome woman!), I chose two beautiful little babes, a White Rock and a Wyandotte. Next week another Buff Orpington shipment comes in, and if I get one, great. If not, that's ok too. These loves will be filling my heart and my egg basket all year :)


Stay tuned! I'll be posting a "How to Raise Chickens Like a Jerk" post in the next few weeks!

Happy SPRING my friends! And thank you for reading :)

Jen



8 comments:

  1. Aww - such cute chicks. I can't believe how generous your oldest is, you must be proud. I know you these aren't the ones you wanted, but you have chicks and you will have eggs - even if they aren't pastel colored. I can't believe they were sold out - too bad you couldn't reserve them. Oh well have fun. Your kiddos are going to enjoy this!

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    1. Thanks Savvy :) Yes, she is such a cool little girl :) She raised enough to purchase a water buffalo this year, too! Such an achievement! And I cannot wait for my little chicks to grow up so I can show you how pretty they are..... :) Eggs all around!

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  2. So cool! Raising chickens will be a fun adventure! I feel like have played an interesting role in my past--both Angel's and my family had chickens at one point. My traumatizing experience was when my little sister locked me and my brother in the chicken coop (a small barn-like building) when we were 5 and 1. It was only like 10 minutes until my mom figured out what happened and came and unlocked the door, but I was convinced we'd miss dinner and have to sleep in there. Angel's traumatizing experience came when he was a teenager and his dad told him to go outside and butcher a chicken--he didn't really know how to do it well so it went rough. These chicks sure are cute little birds!

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    1. Thank you so much Rach! I've been totally sucked into chick land!! I haven't even had the chance to catch up on my blog....they are a huge, lovely distraction :)

      I AM SO SORRY to hear about your getting locked in a coop!!! Holy smokes! I would've been freaking out! And yes, the butchering process is absolutely jarring, especially the head-chop method. People don't realize how the bird reacts once you do that! GAH!

      Thank you so much for stopping by :) Hope you have a wonderful Easter!

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  3. So cute! My daughter would love the chicks.

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    1. Thank you!! The girls are going ga-ga- for them :) :) :)

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  4. OMG! They're SOO cute!! Congratulations love!! Send me fresh eggs!!!! :) You're going hard core man, love it - I have had this post up for a week trying to read it and between writing my blog post and work I couldn't!! I'm so happy for you I know how much you are working towards a better and more natural lifestyle. Get it! I have no words for their cuteness, it's amazing to think how large they become!! How long until they're full chickens? At what stage can they begin to produce eggs? Have a great one lovely Jen!! Talk soon chicka -Iva

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    1. THANK YOU Iva! :) :) HAHA I wish I could mail you some! Did you know eggs straight from the hen can actually be left outside the fridge for weeks and never go bad? True story! It's cuz the hen leaves a protective coating called the "bloom" on them that is washed off commercial eggs - the bloom keeps them fresh and impenetrable to bacteria!! SCIENCE! My girls will be about ready to head outside when they are 12-or-so weeks, depending on the weather. I will prolly want them out way before that! HA! They are getting big and dusty! They love to scratch! Once they hit 20 weeks they will be laying eggs :) Thank you so much for your sweet comment Iva! Hope your weekend is rockin!

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