When I was young, my mother raised Rhode Island Reds and some white leghorns (which are AWFUL, by the way! ;P). Now that I am grown and have developed my innate interest in animal husbandry, I have begun my own chicken flock in the pursuit of self-sustained living.
I live in Southeast Alaska, so I took the time to get a little bit picky about which breeds I chose.
I decided on McMurray to fulfill my livestock needs.
My first order was for 6 of each of Red Star, Black Star, Ancona, and Australorp. Per the 25 minimum, I had to choose another chick and I randomly selected a golden polish. With the "freebie" Partridge Cochin and a Red Star pullet extra thrown in, we ended up with 27 pullets.
Within the first week we had lost nearly half.
3 Red star, 2 Black Star, 4 australorps, and both the special chicks were out.
Due to terrible communication and even worse record keeping between my husband and I, we ended up reporting 4 Red, 2 Black, 2 Ancona, 4 Australorp, and the Golden Polish. When they arrived exactly a week after my first, I was disconcerted about the breeds and numbers we received (hubby will not be in charge of making phone calls from now on).
On that note, we did technically get our comeuppance for short-changing the hatchery a few chicks.
As soon as I opened the box I saw the little buggers - little yellow puff balls with a blue mark on their heads. It was the dreaded "packing peanuts."
I identified them as red stars, and of course, they were cockerels. Not one, not two; five little monsters, pecking and cheeping and hopping around in the box. That will be fun to deal with later, since I live in town.
Once again, we lost the Golden Polish right away. I didn't even want a replacement for that one, but oh well. I will not ask for anymore of them shipped at one day old because they are too fragile to get all the way to Alaska in a healthy state. We also lost one black star that was much much smaller than the others, and one Ancona.
I'm still trying to find answers as to why we lost so many of the first shipment over the course of a week, but I'll probably never know.
My chicks are doing well now.
We have a homemade brooder from upcycled pallets. My father-in-law made a giant feeder from leftover wood, I give them egg shells, cockle shells, earth worms, and homemade food. They get one serving of yogurt every day. They have a dust bath of wood ashes, and they get to frolick in sand bedding. I have some pretty happy chicks!