The Beginning

On April 22nd we welcomed 6 chicks into our home. This is our first time raising chickens and we decided to blog about the experience.  At the recommendation of the local chicken lady we opted to go with a mixed flock. We have 2 Buff Orpingtons, 1 Little Brahma, 1 Easter Egger, 1 Cinnamon Queen, and 1 Plymouth Barred Rock.

The first weekend was  stressful as we tried to regulate the brooder temperature. We made two mistakes. We bought a digital thermometer, which is not as accurate as a regular thermometer; and we didn’t listen to the chickens!

After hearing about how fragile chickens are compared to ducks and the high mortality rate of chicks, I was ready to lose one or two. Knock on wood, that has not happened. I set the brooder up in our living room and used an x-pen to hang blankets around the brooder and block any drafts. Per the chicken lady, chicks are susceptible to drafts.

Rule number one, if the chickens are huddled together they are cold. If they are on the outside edges of the brooder panting they are too hot. Easy-peasy, right? As a first timer it didn’t seem easy! It seemed like something to obsess over. Fortunately by the end of the first weekend we had stopped watching the digital thermometer like hawks and realized we were better off watching the chickens.

The first week they were fairly skittish, but by the second week true personalities started to shine through. Based on my extremely limited sample size, the Buff Orpingtons and Cinnamon Queen are the most people oriented. The Cinnamon Queen and the Easter Egger were initially the most adventurous – these two varieties were the first to hop up on top of the brooder while I was cleaning it. The Little Brahma is a complete drama queen. She has a “the sky is falling” sort of personality. I can’t say too much about the Plymouth Barred Rock. She was the first chick I named (Stella), but she has been rather stand offish as she has gotten older.

We named all six chicks, but I find I call them by their variety more often than their name.

Buff Orpington 1: Dolores

Buff Orpington 2: Maeve

Easter Egger: Charlotte

Cinnamon Queen: Elsie

Little Brahma: Clementine Pennyfeather

Plymouth Barred Rock: Stella

My joke is you can call the Orpingtons “Dave” since they look the same.

To date the chickens have been a lot of fun. They are extremely inquisitive. We took the last week of May off to build their coop. They’ll be outside soon and it won’t be a minute too soon. They are becoming hooligans and using their brooder as a race track!

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