All I wanted was to have fresh eggs again. Just a few hens, enough eggs to keep up my supply and have a few to give away. The remaining three birds from the last batch were over two years old and for reasons unknown not producing. I tolerated their freeloading for a while, then tried to give them away (to a good home or a pot somewhere, I don’t want to know). The weather in Virginia is nice for chickens, especially in the fall, so I let them free range more than usual, figuring nature could take its course. When it was two down, one to go, I went soft and kept the last, resilient old gray cooped up all winter. It’ll get nice again, of course, I thought, and then I’ll get some newbies and deal with integrating them.
March came, and with it, my granddaughters Rise and Eppie (aged 5 and 3) – a perfect time to get chicks. The day after the girls came, we drove to Crozet to get five silkies and six brahmas and to Southern States to get six Rhode Island Reds. The next day we stopped in Tractor Supply, unintending to get any more, but the name got me: Cinnamon Queens. Their heads had a swath of color like a chipmunk, which I admit is no reason to buy them, but the two little girls were staring alternately at me and these adorable little creatures, so yes, we left with four more chicks. Seems like enough, don’t you think?
This is Rise with one of the brahmas. I hope she never forgets when Oma got chicks!
How did that fluffy little chick got to be this massive chicken? (Turns out three of the six, including this one, are Brahma Boys and therefore need a new home, which I’m working on, sorry, fellas.)
And here’s Eppie with a face only she can make.
My friend Sandy was very helpful with the set-up – the shavings, the heat lamp, the various ways of keeping these jumpy little birds from getting out of their designated space. I should have paid more attention, however, when he told me about his friend who had other kinds of chicks and how pretty and interesting and special they were. I had a lot going on with my own chicks in the house, two delightful little girls here, etc. Next thing I knew, Sandy showed up with a dozen more: four D’uccles, three black copper marans, a silkie/Easter egger mix, a bard rock/silkie mix, a maran/Easter egger mix, and two other beauties of unknown heritage.
This is a lot of chicks. You do the math. I’m too embarrassed. No way were these going to fit into our existing coop. We’ve had 15 in there, but not (gulp) that many (did you add it up?)… Plus, Sandy’s batch, which we combined with the silkies, were considerably smaller than the brahmas, reds and queens, happily chirping away in a separate enclosure. It slowly began to dawn on us that a new coop would solve the problems that might occur if we tried to integrate the Smalls with the Bigs. Note that two coops was not part of the original plan. All I had wanted was fresh eggs again.
Stay tuned for how the new coop took shape.