Archive | 10:43 pm

The chickens arrive!

9 Oct

Yesterday was chicken day. I declared it on Friday night, but then on Saturday morning P wouldn’t let us go until I’d spoken to the neighbours. So I did – in my pyjamas.

The problem was that I’d never actually met our diagonally rear neighbours, and it turned out that they didn’t actually speak any english apart from “I am Chinese – *grin*”. So I tried to convey my point by flapping, making chicken sounds and signalling four fingers on my hand. I think he may have understood the word chicken by the end, but he seemed to be worried that I meant there was one in his garden. When he worked out that wasn’t the case, he just smiled at me and nodded.  I took that to mean it was fine with him.

The family behind were worried about the possibility of vermin, so I’m going to have to be vigilant about that, and the side neighbour was totally fine with it. So off we went to the chicken farm (after a shower).

We had planned to get 4 chickens, we even told the neighbours so. It was totally our intention. But after we had bought our four ‘day-old’ chicks, the chicken lady saw how my children were manhandling the petting chicks, and threw in another “just in case”. I take it she rated our chickens’ chances as pretty low. So in the end we took home 2 Rhode Island Reds, 1 Australorp, and 2 ‘Barter Browns’, which are a cross-breed.

We also bought two different types of feed – ‘starter’ and ‘grower’ mix, along with a bag of sawdust, a feeder and a waterer. All of this just for their first 2 months. After that they’ll be outside in the coop.

We drove the chickens home, housed quite appropriately in a “Fluffy” fabric softener box. They were ‘cheeping’ away like mad in the box, and we were very keen to get them home for some water. Thankfully they survived the trip OK, seeing as it was about a hour’s drive home.

At home we set them up in one of the kids’ toy crates, positioned next to the dining table under an old 150watt spotlight. I’ve been monitoring the temperature pretty closely, and the warmest part of the box is sitting at between 95 and 100 degrees farenheight. That’s apparently good for day old chicks. I’ve read that the best indicator of their comfort is to watch where they sit in the box. If they huddle under the light then they’re too cold, and if they sit far away from the light then the opposite is true. Our little ones are roaming freely around, so I figure they’re OK.

Unfortunately we had to leave them alone last night for several hours while we went out, and I was so worried the whole time that were were going to come home to roast chicken. But they were fine, and probably just appreciated the peace and quiet.

I had to clean out the box this afternoon because when we arrived home from church this morning the house smelled revolting. I’m sure I’m going to get used to the smell, so any friends who visit- it’s your job to give it to me straight when my house stinks and I don’t know it.

So now onto the job of naming the chicks. P has a theme going – he’s thinking Nugget, Cacciatore, Fricassee, Chuck (short for Charcoal), and Kiev.

Any better ideas?