Chicks are coming! It’s only fitting that our next livestock to add our farm is chickens right? I’m pretty sure that will be my constant explanation to my husband when I start bringing animals home we’ve never discussed. 🙂 “But babe, you can’t have a farm without xyz.”
WHEN WILL THEY BE HERE?
The new girls in town will be here in May and we decided to order from McMurray Hatchery. This company was chosen due to their impeccable reputation. I researched endlessly on what kinds of birds we wanted on the farm and they had every single one.
I got a FB personal message the other day asking why we chose to order our poultry from an online resource rather than shop locally. They were also concerned with how the birds were cared for during shipping. Rest assured, the companies we are using have strict processes and practices. They want the baby poultry to get to the consumer healthy and happy as much as the consumer does.
Our farm chose to purchase our chicks online due to specific breeds we wanted here. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find exactly what you want locally. Trust me, I would buy locally first and foremost, but that’s just not feasible for every single purchase. Our baby goats we have planned will be locally purchased. We found an amazing farm about an hour away.
WHAT KIND OF CHICKS BREEDS?
This question takes me back to all the research we do before we add any livestock, farm equipment, or seed to this ground. Does it add value to our soil? Does it provide value to the farm in general? Does it provide our family with food?
Ameraucanas: derived from Araucanas and lay blue eggs. 6 chicks ordered.
Golden Penciled Hamburgs: standard and lay white eggs. 3 chicks ordered.
Silver Polish. If you don’t click on any other link…click on this one. Are they not so amazingly funny looking? Hens lay white eggs. 3 chicks ordered.
Red Star: “best brown egg layer, easy to raise, lay lots of brown eggs, and have a good feed-conversion ratio.” Ordered 3 chicks.
Note: all females were ordered. We don’t want a rooster right now, but maybe in the future. Also note: these poultry will not be used as meat birds. Only as egg production and fertilizer for our land.
Scott & I went back and forth with this decision, but ended confidently that we want the healthy chicks, therefore the hatchery will vaccinate the chicks prior to being shipped, especially due to it being best to vaccinate chicks at 1-3 days old. Since we are not using any medicated feed, it was even more important to make sure the chicks stayed safe for illness. Side note: ORGANIC GROWERS: Vaccinations are in compliance with the NOP/USDA organic standards. Source here.
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WATER, FEED, & HOUSING
The great thing is, by having our farm start out with our ducklings, we have everything we need already. Stock tank, brooder/heat source, pine bedding, & food. Don’t forget to have a feeder & waterer as well.
We add electrolytes the very first day the chicks/ducklings arrive. This just ensure they get the best start after a long car ride.
Poultry are pretty easy to care for as long as you understand they need fresh water, bedding, food, and heat everyday all day. We are currently cleaning the ducklings housing twice a day, but ducklings are notoriously messy. I can clean up at 9 am and check back on them at 10 and they have made a wet, poop filled, dirty tank already. Good thing they are so dang cute.