The other new addition to our household are our chickens! About 3 weeks ago, we picked up 6 little red chicks from Tractor Supply in Oak Ridge. We decided we wanted Reds (preferably Rhode Island Reds) for their great temperament and large, brown egg production. What Tractor supply sells are "mixed reds" which means they could be RI Reds, New Hampshire Reds, or Red Sex-Links. We picked the 6 that most closely matched and were the darkest color, hoping to at least get 6 of the same breed. So far, it looks like we were successful. We don't know which ones we've got, but they all look very similar as their feathers have come in.
|6 cute, fuzzy, peeping chicks huddling under the heat lamp. It's amazing how tiny they were... The best guess the guy at the store had was that they were 2 to 3 days old.|
|Here they are just 6 days later. Already, their wing feathers are coming in.|
|It's amazing to watch how they change every day. This is one day after the picture above (one week after we got them and about 10 days old) and the tail feathers are already coming in.|
|A bird in the hand...|
|We encourage the kids to pick up the chicks often (if they can catch them!) so that both they and the chickens get used to the handling.|
|King of the roost...this one got brave and hopped up on the feeder. only seconds after I took this picture, the rest came and pecked her feet until she jumped down.|
At 18 days old, they're too big and feisty for the kids to hold in their hands, so they have to let them perch like falcons. The chicks are skittish and are too hard for the kids to catch. They run and flutter around and when you pick them up, they cheep loudly and flap their wings until they get settled. They have lots of feathers now and can fly for very short distances. I've had them leap out of my hand to coast back into their corral.
Our plan for these chicks is for them to be purely egg layers. Greensboro City ordinances allow us to have 6 chickens over 6 months old and four more under 6 months, so maybe this summer, we'll get a few more to grow for meat. We're looking forward to the eggs these ladies will produce this fall!