Warning: It's highly contagious and your computer screen will offer no protection. Adorable pictures of baby chicks below. Scroll further and you might catch the bug!
March/April is known as baby chick season. Since I live in a rural/semi-rural area, every farm supply store advertises that their day old chicks have arrived. Now, I'm not a fan of folks who run out and buy chicks (or any baby animal for that matter...be it kitten, puppy or dragon ;) without thinking things through. Babies grow up quickly and the number of pets that end up in shelters because of spur-of-the-moment decisions is sad. But getting chickens is something I've been considering for several years. I think I was born a researcher lol, so I put a lot of research into breeds, personalities, egg-laying skills, coop styles and sizes etc... And on March 4th, I brought my first chicks home.
I know, cute!! Right? The pictures don't do them justice. The 'yellow' chicks are Buff Orpingtons, known for their sweet, mothering, cuddly nature, and the others are Barred Rocks, otherwise known as Plymouth Rocks (links will show you what they'll look like as adults). I have two more arriving Monday and they are Australorps, another great egg-laying breed. I'm really going for egg-layers because I buy organic eggs and my boys go through them like raccoon. Plus, since I cook and bake from scratch, I go through them quickly too.
Just a few of the other reasons I want chickens...they're natural form of weeding and bug control. I don't use pesticides and I live in the worst 'Lyme' tick region in the US. My chickens will devour those ticks along with grubs and bugs that destroy my fruit trees and other plants. Don't worry, they won't have free range of my veggie garden otherwise I won't have veggies left, but they'll have plenty of room to roam (supervised or in a covered, movable pen for protection from hawks). I also have a secure coop planned for night protection from raccoon and other predators. Also, they make the best fertilizer (composted...and if you're cleaning up and free-ranging...smell will be well controlled), provide eggs that are way more nutritious than store bought and supply a happy, 'heartwarming' daily dose of entertainment. Yep, they're actually very social individuals. AND...by raising my own for eggs, I won't be supporting commercial mass egg production where most chickens live in miserable, overcrowded conditions. I do buy organic and 'free range', but it gets expensive.
So now I'm a 'pet', backyard chicken addict. I'm seriously trying to resist getting some Ameraucana chicks...or even Easter Eggers. Imagine having your chicken lay blue, green and other pastel colored eggs. They look like you dyed them for Easter, but they're natural!
|Photo courtesy of www.ozark.locallygrown.net|
Have you caught the bug yet?
[Edited to add: I'm just going to have to write a romance where the heroine raises chickens...and her rooster keeps waking up the hero ;). I figure it out. I'm getting hands on research ;).]