The week of April 14 I will get a call from the post office in town to let me know that my baby chicks from McMurray Hatchery have arrived. Here's what I ordered (minimum order of 25 chicks):
All three breeds are reputed to have gentle and calm dispositions, with the Barred Rocks being on the intelligent side. I chose heavy breeds because we have cold winters here in NW Ohio. I also wanted dual-purpose chickens that would be good layers (Black Australorps being the best of the breeds I chose) and good fryers.
Our biggest challenge is going to be keeping my cousins' dogs from trying to kill them. I plan to give them plenty of advance notice that there will be chickens out and about. Even though we are constructing a fenced run for them, I still want to be able to let them free range as much as possible during the warm months. It makes for healthier birds and tastier eggs. I'm already annoyed with my cousin's black lab as she comes over to our yard to poo. I've even found dog piles in my mulched beds. I hate to ask them to keep her confined to her kennel since this is the country, and they are my cousins. Yet I feel it is my right to have a poo-free yard and free-ranging chickens to boot. I thought I left problems like this behind when I left the city!
At any rate, we are all excited about the impending arrival of 25 chicks (plus one mystery!) next month. I can already hear the Peep! Peep! Peeping of fuzzy babies and the pitter-patter of tiny orange feet in the brooding box. You can be sure that pictures of said chicks and chicken coop project will be posted!
*Mystery chick is a freebie the hatchery throws in for fun. They place a chick from a rare breed in your order and you get to find out what it is when it's all grown up. Fun huh?