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?

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9 Responses to “The chickens arrive!”

  1. Barbara Good October 9, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    First you tease me with that gorgeous new kitchen and now chickens, L how could you do this too me. I might just have to move in with you – well maybe after the chickens are in their coop and your house is back to smelly sweet.

    • L October 10, 2011 at 9:17 am #

      Hehe Barbara, very wise 🙂 I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with the little ones inside for 2 whole months! Stupid idea if you ask me – I wanted to get older ones, but that’s because I’m Boring Mummy. Super Fun Daddy has all the fun ideas 🙂

  2. everydayinthegarden October 10, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    Oh they are SO cute! Congratulations!

    Now it is a personal thing of course but, I’m just not keen on food based names for pets. Just give them a bit of time. As they grow their personalities will give you the best ideas for appropriate names.

    Enjoy!

    • P October 10, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

      With a bit of thyme I think their names will suit them well. 🙂

  3. Mrs Bok October 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    Cute little ones! Hoping you have hens 🙂
    If you can get hold of rice hulls I find they absorb smells better?

  4. Liz October 17, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    When I was a kid I loved it when we had chickens in the lounge room – this happened quite often, they would be brought home as chicks and then either turned into laying hens or fattened up for the pot. I have quite vivid memories of it. Hopefully your kids will remember it as fondly. As for names I’d go something 5ish. How about Julian, Dick, Anne, George, & Timmy – or if you prefer something slightly more female & modern (if still a bit outdated…..) – Sporty, Ginger, Scary, Posh & Baby.

  5. thegreenbackyard October 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    Love your blog:), I somehow discovered it last week. We are in Sydney too, and just getting going with our plans to grow some of our own food.
    We are gearing up to get some backyard chooks in the coming weeks, but I think I am going to be boring mummy and get them ready to go into the coop

    • L November 2, 2011 at 9:04 am #

      Great to see some other garden bloggers in Sydney! Thanks for visiting – I’ll be reading yours too.

  6. Lilian October 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    We hatched ours… built an incubator (we’re in Sydney too!). We named ours initially after drinks… Pepsi, Coca, Cola, Cappucino, Latte, Mocha etc. We did change their names later on when we found out which ones were hens… so we moved to more feminine names – Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Butterball, Chloe.

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