[FONT=comic sans ms,sand]Delaware's Move to MA[/FONT]
[FONT=comic sans ms,sand]This is the story of my beloved Dels.
In 2008 my husband said we should get chickens for fresh eggs. After much reluctance, I agreed. We did not want to get day old chicks because we were new to the whole chicken owner thing and thought brooding would be alot of hard work. So, my husband got some 6 week old chicks from some one close to his work with a sign in the yard "chickens for sale." At that time we knew nothing about chickens. My husband was told that they were Rhode Island Reds and should be pullets. Well, 5 of them were roosters and the only pullet we got is some kind of mixed breed hybrid. Both of us were disapointed and wanted more hens for eggs. That winter I did tons of research. I looked into a number of hatcheries and looked up various breeds. I tried to find a place that I did not have to order 25 birds since all we wanted was 6 hens for eggs. So I ordered catalogs and spent hours on the computer until I found Ideal hatchery. I had to order 12 birds to meet the minimum requirements, and I went with Rhode Island Reds. I wanted breeds that originate from my area so that I know they will be hardy in this climate. I told my husband I would do all of the work involved in brooding. I would set up the box, monitor the temps, set up heat lamps, change the bedding, etc. Since the hatchery sexed the chicks and we had a 90 plus % chance of getting exactly what we wanted, he agreed to get day old chicks. 2 weeks after we got them, my husband fell in Love with how cute they were and saw that it was not as hard as he had thought to brood them. So, he said, "let's get more." I said "ok how about Plymouth Rocks. I like the white ones and they should do well here in MA since they originated in Plymouth." He wanted Barred Rocks because they were cooler looking. So I agreed since I had already got my Reds. Then I said "how about Delaware's? They are a cross from NH Reds and Barred Rocks." He wanted Leghorns for high egg production and low feed costs. So I said ok. A few weeks after we got those Leghorns we all knew we made a mistake. They are the craziest, flightiest, troublemaking birds in our flock! So I said "told you so, we should have gotten Delawares." (I know, it was very gracious of me to rub it in his face.) It was this point that my Delaware search started. [/FONT]
It was summer of 2009, late in the hatching season and all of the hatcheries were sold out untill fall or spring 2010. I asked alot of questions on BYC about hatchery Delaware's and where to get some good looking birds. I asked a few people about hatching eggs, but since it was in the hottest part of summer, egg production was down and most folks were not shipping because of the heat. I thought spring 2010 would be the soonest that I could get eggs and that seemed like forever to me because I was on a quest.
I started to look on Ebay for eggs. Some listings sounded questionable and some sounded good. I found one listing that I liked and sent pictures of the Ebay listing to people I trusted to get their opinions on the eggs I was thinking of buying. Once I got the thumbs up, I bought the eggs from Ebay. This was my first time buying eggs that were to be shipped and I wanted to make sure I got the most number off hatchlings posible to have a good selection of breedable stock.
Shortly after I ordered my Ebay eggs, I noticed that Cynthia (Speckledhen) listed some Delaware eggs for sale. She had collected them and listed them for pick up only. If no one wanted to buy them she was going to put them in the fridge. I wanted them. I talked to my husband and he agreed to drive from MA to GA to get the eggs for me. This way Cynthia did not have to ship them and I did not have to worry about damaged eggs from the post office.
Those 3 weeks of incubation were the longest 3 weeks in my life! The Ebay eggs and the egss from GA were set at the same time. We hatched 9 out of 24 eggs from Ebay and 20 out of 27 eggs from GA. Boy was I happy to finally have my Dels. Here are the babies at just a few days old
[FONT=comic sans ms,sand]My babies are all most all grown up. They are 16 weeks old now (as of 1/11/10) and the roosters are starting to crow. It seems like I am still waiting to get Delawares because they are not adults yet and are still changing as they get bigger. But knowing I have these guys and they will be adults soon enough keeps me happy. [/FONT]
Here are my babies at 12 weeks of age.
[FONT=comic sans ms,sand]Not all of my Dels wanted their picture taken that day, so several are missing from the photo. Now, If I could just get them to stay still long enough so that I can take some new photos, hmmm................................................[/FONT]
[FONT=comic sans ms,sand]updated on 1/31/10
The gang cooperated and I was able to get some shots of them. Now, I have to narrow down my babies and get to the best of the bunch![/FONT]