First Time Chicken Owner...On Impulse!!

moonsafari

In the Brooder
Jul 25, 2020
46
43
36
Vienna, VA
Long story!

Up until last August, I was entirely unaware that pet chickens existed, until I encountered an MPC(My Pet Chicken) advertisement online. This was a peculiar ad, contrary to the dozens I see on a daily basis. I clicked on the square ad and was led to the website, and on that day I learned that people kept chickens in their own backyards(wow!) and I could raise own my very own poultry. I was quite surprised. Chickens - domesticated purely for human enjoyment and companionship? However, as a young person who was and still is constantly short on money, I was skeptical about investing time and money into incubating and raising chickens, even more so wary of having year-old chicks shipped to my house.

I was completely lacking of knowledge on birds and poultry at the time. The closest I ever got to birds were when I:

1) Discovered a fertilized egg that had fallen out of a nest in the backyard. Attempted to incubate it using five minutes worth of Google knowledge but failed miserably, and accidentally cracked the egg...beyond repair.

2) Sick, wild bird perched itself on my hand. Shortly passed away afterwards.

Approximately one year later, on the morning of July 16th, 2020: I saw an MPC ad again. I clicked on the ad, and within a speedy 30 minutes, had the minimum of three day old chicks added to my cart. Enthralled about my new covert plan to purchase baby chicks and raise them without the knowledge of my parents, I texted my best friend about my intentions. She was willing to take one chick, but we doubted that as she wouldn't be moving to her new property until September.

As soon as I finished lunch, I biked to Walmart and used my $100 cash to purchase a $75 Visa gift card. Note that I am a minor, thus not qualifying for a credit card - so I usually exchange cash for electronic currency. :D I sat on the bench outside to wait for my mother to pick me up sooner, wondering why hatcheries would dare to entrust customers of any age(or so they believe are of a responsible age) to purchase baby chicks, when I myself am legally unable to buy betta fish at Petco w/ out an adult! The only reasonable explanation is chicken are generally considered livestock for slaughter or byproducts and not pets, so no need for special age verification.

Issues began to arise! I was appalled by the total cost of three chicks including shipping cost, so I immediately searched for another hatchery, and I decided upon Meyer Hatchery. I purchased the soonest-shipping and cheapest chicks: three feather legged bantams from a mystery assortment. Gosh, I didn't even know what Bantam meant. I was in a rush to get them in my house as soon as I could! Four days later on the shipping date, I get an email saying my chicks were not ready to ship yet and it would be postponed until August 10. I was frustrated and sadly, very impatient. I even double-checked with a cs representative that no shipment or order number existed.

So I quickly canceled that order and again went on a search for another hatchery, settling upon not 3, but 7 Amberlink hens from Murray McMurray hatchery, for an even lower grand total. I was minutes away from clicking the submit order - when I heard my Dad call me upstairs in a rather dissatisfied tone. I hurried upstairs from the basement office, and he told me irritatedly to go outside and take a look at what I did. I opened the garage door and realized my chicken plan had been foiled. The chicks were loudly peeping in an orange box. Clearly, there was a major error, and my chicks were indeed shipped without any correct report or notification to the hatchery order fulfillment system. Shipped right to my house too! I thought I was going to secretly drive to retrieve them from the PO, guess not...

I took the chicks inside and rehomed them inside my homemade brooder. Now, a day before these cancelled chicks had arrived without notice, I started on making my own DIY chick brooder(which has served its purpose exceptionally these past four weeks). My parents were a tad bit suspicious about the box, however I managed to convince them that it was a new play-box for our hamster. Unfortunately on this same day my grandfather passed away due to severe health complications, so no one in the household was in a good mood. July 21st was not a pleasant afternoon for me, the family, or the new presence of the chicks.

For the next few days I provided for the chicks with the most adequate care I could supply. I am currently on summer break so I am fortunate to have plenty of time to spare for my chicks. 🙂 During this time, my Dad grew fond of the chickens, and yet at the same time, extremely concerned about our county/town's regulations on chicken-keeping. We found out that a special permit costing $435 was required alongside a public hearing to keep chickens on a lot less than 2 acres. However, to my joy I recently learned that our town ordinances override the county's, so we are definitely allowed to keep our chickens, albeit proper housing is required. My Dad, unwarranted, purchased a homely chicken coop and we are all chicken-happy now in our urban-suburban home. :)

To end this, I would like to mention a few last notes. It was not after I purchased the chicks that I learned: My family, both maternal and paternal, are actually quite familiar with chicken and livestock husbandry and previously lived on their respective farms prior to emigrating to the United States 25+ years ago. My mother had several black cochins of her own when she was my age, and my Dad recalls caring for his grandfather's chickens in the country. And of course, my grandparents are eager to share their chicken tales from the past.

Finally, like many other impulsive decisions I have unwisely made in the past, chickens should not have been impulsively bought and are a commitment(or should I say, a good investment for eggs) which should have taken more than a measly 30 minutes to plan. If my family were not so experienced with livestock - and if we did not own our many other house pets, we may not have been able to accommodate the chicks at all. In fact, if it were not for my convincing and good care of the chicks, we would have been this close to giving them away to a local farm. I told my Dad I'd try to keep them for at least one more month, but I guess we're keeping 'em for life. Ha.

The healthy trio, a white and black silkie and a black cochin roo, are doing extraordinarily and just celebrated their four week birthday this Saturday morning. They are a brilliant bundle of chicks and we are delighted even with three. Crossing my fingers for two hens. :)
 
Last edited:

Ryguy3684

Here comes the Rooster
Premium Feather Member
May 29, 2020
773
1,367
236
Fauquier County, Virginia, United States.
Most of Vienna, VA has houses very close by. You should cross your fingers for 3 hens. The town of Vienna is an overly active town and they pry into anything different than they're used to. I would be surprised if you can keep a rooster. While I'm glad you're happy with your purchase, you should never impulse buy living creatures. It's irresponsible at best.
This should be said because a lot if people have gone chicken crazy since Covid, and they don't have the patience, or ability, to keep these animals properly cared for. Sorry to sound harsh, but the animals deserve the best possible care. Good luck, and I hope they have a good home. Please prove me wrong.
 

moonsafari

In the Brooder
Jul 25, 2020
46
43
36
Vienna, VA
Most of Vienna, VA has houses very close by. You should cross your fingers for 3 hens. The town of Vienna is an overly active town and they pry into anything different than they're used to. I would be surprised if you can keep a rooster. While I'm glad you're happy with your purchase, you should never impulse buy living creatures. It's irresponsible at best.
This should be said because a lot if people have gone chicken crazy since Covid, and they don't have the patience, or ability, to keep these animals properly cared for. Sorry to sound harsh, but the animals deserve the best possible care. Good luck, and I hope they have a good home. Please prove me wrong.
Would be glad to :) Our neighbors are all aware of the chickens after having spotted out the coop. The roo is either going or if he's tame enough, in the house.

I did stumble upon articles about people going chicken crazy with Covid after purchasing my chickens, funny how I didn't buy chickens for that reason though...I am stuck on my reasons from last summer lol. I am aware that chickens should be provided with the best care, and I am glad to be able to right now. However, also upset that informed and unprepared people continue to buy baby rabbits or chicks just for Easter and that's it :mad: I own a rabbit myself and I would angry if someone bought a rabbit like that knowing for sure they can't provide for it.
 

jonalisa

Codswallop!
May 28, 2013
1,240
1,384
301
NH
My Coop
My Coop
Long story!

Up until last August, I was entirely unaware that pet chickens existed, until I encountered an MPC(My Pet Chicken) advertisement online. This was a peculiar ad, contrary to the dozens I see on a daily basis. I clicked on the square ad and was led to the website, and on that day I learned that people kept chickens in their own backyards(wow!) and I could raise own my very own poultry. I was quite surprised. Chickens - domesticated purely for human enjoyment and companionship? However, as a young person who was and still is constantly short on money, I was skeptical about investing time and money into incubating and raising chickens, even more so wary of having year-old chicks shipped to my house.

I was completely lacking of knowledge on birds and poultry at the time. The closest I ever got to birds were when I:

1) Discovered a fertilized egg that had fallen out of a nest in the backyard. Attempted to incubate it using five minutes worth of Google knowledge but failed miserably, and accidentally cracked the egg...beyond repair.

2) Sick, wild bird perched itself on my hand. Shortly passed away afterwards.

Approximately one year later, on the morning of July 16th, 2020: I saw an MPC ad again. I clicked on the ad, and within a speedy 30 minutes, had the minimum of three day old chicks added to my cart. Enthralled about my new covert plan to purchase baby chicks and raise them without the knowledge of my parents, I texted my best friend about my intentions. She was willing to take one chick, but we doubted that as she wouldn't be moving to her new property until September.

As soon as I finished lunch, I biked to Walmart and used my $100 cash to purchase a $75 Visa gift card. Note that I am a minor, thus not qualifying for a credit card - so I usually exchange cash for electronic currency. :D I sat on the bench outside to wait for my mother to pick me up sooner, wondering why hatcheries would dare to entrust customers of any age(or so they believe are of a responsible age) to purchase baby chicks, when I myself am legally unable to buy betta fish at Petco w/ out an adult! The only reasonable explanation is chicken are generally considered livestock for slaughter or byproducts and not pets, so no need for special age verification.

Issues began to arise! I was appalled by the total cost of three chicks including shipping cost, so I immediately searched for another hatchery, and I decided upon Meyer Hatchery. I purchased the soonest-shipping and cheapest chicks: three feather legged bantams from a mystery assortment. Gosh, I didn't even know what Bantam meant. I was in a rush to get them in my house as soon as I could! Four days later on the shipping date, I get an email saying my chicks were not ready to ship yet and it would be postponed until August 10. I was frustrated and sadly, very impatient. I even double-checked with a cs representative that no shipment or order number existed.

So I quickly canceled that order and again went on a search for another hatchery, settling upon not 3, but 7 Amberlink hens from Murray McMurray hatchery, for an even lower grand total. I was minutes away from clicking the submit order - when I heard my Dad call me upstairs in a rather dissatisfied tone. I hurried upstairs from the basement office, and he told me irritatedly to go outside and take a look at what I did. I opened the garage door and realized my chicken plan had been foiled. The chicks were loudly peeping in an orange box. Clearly, there was a major error, and my chicks were indeed shipped without any correct report or notification to the hatchery order fulfillment system. Shipped right to my house too! I thought I was going to secretly drive to retrieve them from the PO, guess not...

I took the chicks inside and rehomed them inside my homemade brooder. Now, a day before these cancelled chicks had arrived without notice, I started on making my own DIY chick brooder(which has served its purpose exceptionally these past four weeks). My parents were a tad bit suspicious about the box, however I managed to convince them that it was a new play-box for our hamster. Unfortunately on this same day my grandfather passed away due to severe health complications, so no one in the household was in a good mood. July 21st was not a pleasant afternoon for me, the family, or the new presence of the chicks.

For the next few days I provided for the chicks with the most adequate care I could supply. I am currently on summer break so I am fortunate to have plenty of time to spare for my chicks. 🙂 During this time, my Dad grew fond of the chickens, and yet at the same time, extremely concerned about our county/town's regulations on chicken-keeping. We found out that a special permit costing $435 was required alongside a public hearing to keep chickens on a lot less than 2 acres. However, to my joy I recently learned that our town ordinances override the county's, so we are definitely allowed to keep our chickens, albeit proper housing is required. My Dad, unwarranted, purchased a homely chicken coop and we are all chicken-happy now in our urban-suburban home. :)

To end this, I would like to mention a few last notes. It was not after I purchased the chicks that I learned: My family, both maternal and paternal, are actually quite familiar with chicken and livestock husbandry and previously lived on their respective farms prior to emigrating to the United States 25+ years ago. My mother had several black cochins of her own when she was my age, and my Dad recalls caring for his grandfather's chickens in the country. And of course, my grandparents are eager to share their chicken tales from the past.

Finally, like many other impulsive decisions I have unwisely made in the past, chickens should not have been impulsively bought and are a commitment(or should I say, a good investment for eggs) which should have taken more than a measly 30 minutes to plan. If my family were not so experienced with livestock - and if we did not own our many other house pets, we may not have been able to accommodate the chicks at all. In fact, if it were not for my convincing and good care of the chicks, we would have been this close to giving them away to a local farm. I told my Dad I'd try to keep them for at least one more month, but I guess we're keeping 'em for life. Ha.

The healthy trio, a white and black silkie and a black cochin roo, are doing extraordinarily and just celebrated their four week birthday this Saturday morning. They are a brilliant bundle of chicks and we are delighted even with three. Crossing my fingers for two hens. :)

Thanks for sharing your story. I was riveted. :)
I give you props for determination and overcoming adversity - along with stepping up, having ingenuity and taking responsibility. Good for you - all great character assets!
I found my way to chickens after deciding to embark on becoming a beekeeper. I went to bee school at our local grange, for 6 weeks. In that time, I realized I was the only person there without chickens. Well, you know how it goes from there.
 

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