Peep, peep, peep! The distinct peep of 25 brand new chicks were the first thing every person in the CO-OP that day noticed. I had to do much begging and pleading. Finally, I left the store with my first chicks. There were three RIRs, and two WLHs. I brought them home, and my mother and I settled them in a small dog crate. We put shavings on the bottom, installed a heat lamp, and added a feeder and a waterer. Voila! A large brooder, ready to go. The chicks went in, and we were all set.
It was just a few weeks later, on a trip to pick up feed for our growing babies, that the second batch stole our hearts. We brought home two more Rhode Island Reds, bringing the total to seven. The next day, we added a BSL, which brought us up to eight. They grew quickly, and a young RIR named Kasie quickly established herself as the head of the pecking order.
During our next adventure to the feed store, we saw the cutest little things: bantams. We brought home two- an OEGB chick named Kelly, and a Millie Fleur D' uccle. They were put in a cat carrier with shavings, a light, and their food and water. We were afraid to keep them with the older chicks, now several weeks old, not to mention standards. They could lip out of their cage, though, and occasionally could be found in the cage with the big chicks, in there all of their own accord. The next time, we added a little yellow bantam named Peepers. He did not make it more than a few days. We had tried to heal him, knowing there was something wrong with him when we bought him. We lost the little guy, though. I got two replacements for him: Peepers (II) and Fuzzy butt, affectionately known as Fuzzy, they were OEGB and Millie Fleur D'uccle, just like the first two. The final addition was a Barred Rock. She had hatched a few weeks late, so it took a long time to get her, but finally, I brought her home. She was too little be put with the now very large standards, so she went with the bantam chicks instead.
Over time, the two groups of chicks grew apart. The bantams and the standards became two separate groups. They free ranged separately, and had a different pecking order. Alexis became the head bantam. Eventually, she grew into a mother-like role, and you could see her with four bantams in tow at any given time. Two of her bantam turned out to be roosters, but she was still very much in charge.
On the other hand, the standards in the other group grew very large. Only one was lost. It was killed in the middle of the day, and there were no signs as to what might have gotten it. That left five, and the group stayed at that number. There are still five today.
One day, my mom and I sat down and decided that we needed a rooster for every breed we had. We purchased three from a local man: a RIR, a BR, and a BSL. Then, we realised that we needed more hens, so we got 4 RIRs, two silkies, and 2 bantams.
The hens introduced Coryza to our flock. We had kept them separate from out flock, but somehow our flock got the disease, anyway. We lost all of the RIRs, the new bantams, and our favorite Silver Duck wing OEGB rooster. The silkies never did seem to have it.
To replace the ones we had lost, we purchased 8 chicks from MPC: 2 BRs, 3 RIRs, and 3 BSLs. We got an extra BR, so we have nine 6-day old chicks today. Our flock number stands at 22, not counting the seven ducks: 1 Swedish, and 6 Pekins.