Tuesday, June 29, 2010

RIP Chickie

I received the text from my brother at 1:12 PM this afternoon. I had just sat down to enjoy my lunch when the bad news came. The text said it plain and simple "black cat ate one of the white chickens....."

My father had let the chicks run loose in the yard just as they had yesterday. He then went out and returned an hour later to find one of the Golden Comets missing. He searched the entire yard with my brother until they finally spotted under the patio stairs was a small pile of feathers and a severed chicken leg. A stray black cat was seen running from the yard when they came out to investigate.

The chick never had a chance. It was very disheartening, especially when I had dreaded this day and hoped it would never come. I hadn't even gotten the chance to name her yet. There is one good thing to come of this though. I am determined now to finally finish the chicken coop I had started and construct a run for them to safely dig around without another incident. Until today I had been putting it off; telling myself that they are still small and they wouldn't need to be placed in a coop or need a run. Now I know better.

RIP Unnamed Chick

Monday, June 28, 2010

Getting Big

It’s been a little over 2 weeks since I brought my little chickies home and they have grown quite a bit already. When I got them, they were all fuzzy and cute. It must be all the protein in their feed (I mixed the 5 lb bag of chick starter feed with a 10 lb bag of high quality bird seed from Walmart) but they have grown a lot bigger and when I pick them up they definitely feel meaty and muscular. They’ve also been getting lots of bugs and greens from eating the weeds in the yard.

Their feathers are starting to grow out. Their wings seem to be fully feathered while their back and tail feathers are making their appearances. They’ve grown so much that I no longer have to pick them up individually to let them run loose in my backyard. They’ll fly out themselves now. I’ll try to get a picture of that one day.

Their temporary home at night

They like to hang out and hide from the sun under what will one day be their coop.

Scratching at the dirt for weeds and bugs.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Finally got around to getting chicks

This is somewhat of a late post in the sense that it should be dated 06.11.10.

Over the past few months I've put much thought into raising chickens in my backyard. It started out with a late night aimless web surfing session which somehow landed me on a Craigslist posting by a woman in Coney Island giving away a rooster she accidentally received in her recent order of chicks. The thought of raising chickens had never crossed my mind until then but afterwards I was definitely intrigued. I began looking up any information I could on raising chickens on the web. "Backyard Chicken" as deemed by many is a movement by many suburbian and city folk who raise their own chickens in their homes/yards. Everybody has their own reasons; from fresh eggs to more humane treatment of animals and even to use chicken poop as fertilizer. My reason, a little of everything but mainly just for the experience.

I drove out to New Egypt in New Jersey with my girlfriend which is a solid hour drive away to purchase baby chicks from their local Agway. They order chicks from a farm and they keep in stock throughout the summer. Breeds will differ from each order. One time I had called and they had listed out to me over 10 different breeds. When I arrived they were only carrying Rhode Island Reds and Golden Comets. Since the minimum purchase as required by state law is 6 chicks, I got 3 of each.

Although I really didn't want to, I ended up purchasing a bag of medicated chick starter feed. I would much rather have fed them organic things but with their little mouths and being my first time, I just didn't know what I could even feed them.

As I was getting gas on the way home, I decided to pick up one of the golden comets to hold in my hand. She flew out of my hand and landed on the dash board.