We've wanted our own flock of chickens for quite some time and it was only after moving to Washington state, out into the sticks of the Pacific Northwest that we managed to fulfill a quintessential part of our dream of living in the country. We thought about having three or four of them but deep inside I knew that for me, personally, that would not suffice! I talked my long time companion, my partner Claire into getting chicks rather than started pullets and also to compromise at six to eight chicks. I decided seven was a good jumping off point and a spiritual number for many of us.
We next had to quickly figure out some kind of brooder that would be safe from our adopted dog who is named after the artist Frida Kahlo, but I used an e in place of the I to go with the neighbor's dog "Fread". For a week or two we all shared our humble abode until we managed to put together a wooden brooder that wouldn't break the bank, and would use some of the wood we had at hand. We looked at chicks online but worried about having to pay for dead on arrival chicks and the hassles of getting money returned. Fortunately Del's and the Feed store a few towns over had all kinds of chicks and fowl. I was tempted to get a turkey but that was not part of the plan, Claire's plan. Dels had some chicks that were discounted for being one or two weeks old, and I knew that Claire wanted a RIR or Rhode Island Red, an old standard for layers. After that I could get any kind I wanted with the exception of a Cockerel. I had also contacted Spiritwood Farms and got a Silver Cuckoo Maran from them and chose one that was a good size and looked a bit older than the others based on size.
The names we chose were: Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Ruby, Roxie, Red a.k.a. Rhonda, Bikini, and Goldie, named after Golda Meir. We are hoping none of them are Cockerels but... I think that Marlene is a lavender E.E. or Ameraucana , Greta and Bikini are also EE's but Bikini is a Bantam with moxie. Ruby's our Silver Cuckoo Maran, and Roxie is a Plymouth Barred Rock. Goldie is a Buff Orpington. Red and Ruby seem both to be leaders of the flock based on their take charge attitudes and curiosity.
For snacks I've cut up into teeny tiny pieces dried fruit and their favorite snack fresh earth-worms which I divide into two or three parts depending on their girth and length.
This chicken mom position is very entertaining and time consuming. I love it! I'm applying my frustrated maternal instincts on them and Freda, who I am trying to train not to pounce at the brooder run. I don't know if she is wanting to play or catch but she'll have to be satisfied with watching from the other side of the fencing. We'll post photos when able. Right now we're trying to stay ahead of the learning curve and enjoy the ride.
Getting the temp just right took some adjustments, and then some more.
Give us your huddled chicks...
This is Marlene Dietrich who now looks like she has lavender coloration.
They very quickly outgrew the tub. That's Bikini at the right of the feeder.
It took awhile before they used the roosting pole or stick. Poor Ruby's too big!
Freda's checking out the girls, who are about to run into the dirt bath.
The run is about 4'x4'. I clean it with a snow shovel and a broom.