New Chicky Mom

LadyKjo

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
39
5
52
Eau Claire, Michigan
Well, I've been reading a lot on the forums for advice and ideas, and finally decided I might as well register and join the community. To begin, my husband and I have thought of raising chickens (maybe even a milk cow or goat at some point in time), but we were planning on waiting a few years until we could afford a house with some acreage. Fates have it, we took our ten year old daughter to the Easter-egg hunt the day before Easter (April 19), and the hunt just happened to be conveniently located directly across from the feed store in town during their "chick days". Long story short, we have two adorable little chickies now. The nice lady at the feed store said they were Araucanas Ameraucana strain, and from what I have been reading and researching on these forums, I have deduced that they are Easter Eggers. She also assured us they were pullets as she does the ordering. The lady helped us get the supplies together at the feed store to make a brooder, gave us a pamphlet and explained what we needed to do, and now we are on our adventure raising chickens. So, here we are, with two little chicks that seem to have grown tremendously over the past two weeks, and now worrying over building a coop and worrying about our little flock. We at least know what I want the coop to look like, but putting what we want into wood and shingles is another story.

We live in a small town in southwest Michigan, on an inland lake where we are pretty much the only year-round residents. The house sits on about .28 acre on the lake and we have a fence on our property. I'm kind of worried the weekender neighbors will complain- but we checked the ordinances and it is slightly vague as it seems we can have 3 pets (well, no one but us knows about our indoor cat), and our area is called the Water District which doesn't have a restriction on fowl from what I have read. Only zones designated as R1 or R2 have prohibited poultry, our zone is called WD and only has a 3 pet rule- although there is a bit of wording that we may need at least a 1/2 acre. At the time we brought the babies home, I didn't even think about pet zoning- I used to live in Chicago and people had chickens there on tiny city lots- maybe about 8 foot square. After I started researching chicken care and I came across a few forum posts on poultry bans in certain towns I started to worry. I didn't even think about it when we got them- we have fields of corn and fruit orchards down the street, horses not far from us, and the feed store a few miles away, so I didn't even think about zoning restrictions. So, I guess we'll wait and see what our weekender neighbors say or if they say anything.

The babies are doing well from what I can tell- I have a feeling they might have been a few days old when we got them, as they have shot up in size since Easter and it's barely been ten days. They have very noticeable wing and tail feathers, and like to flap all their bedding into their water and food dishes now. They are very cute, although extremely skittish. We try not to startle them too much, but when anyone tries to clean out the brooder, fill/clean the water & food bowls, they are still skittering away. I am afraid we have scared them for life just by cleaning out their home. I have tried to just kind of sit my hand in there with them so they could get used to seeing it, and the bold one has finally taken to pecking my finger, so I am hoping they will get used to us. I also gently pick them up once a day, gently pet them to get them used to handling as well as to check their vent for pasty butt (I read that it can happen, so I was paranoid the first few days), but I am not sure if it's working or I am freaking them out more- it's about 50/50 right now- sometimes they freak out, other times they seem to like being petted. Funny thing is, we got the chicks for our daughter, but my hubby and I are the ones freaking out over them- is it too hot in there? Too cold? Are they going to sleep okay with the heat lamp on all night? Are they eating okay? We haven't gotten much sleep since we got them- it's like having a baby all over again.

Sorry I wrote this long post, but we're really new to chickens and pretty excited. We also have a cat and a dog. The cat is not really interested in the chicks (she's an indoor cat) and the dog just wants to play with them, although I haven't let him get that close yet- he just watches them in the big Sterlite box brooder in the garage. I have had all sorts of animals growing up, but mainly of the housepet variety- hamsters, gerbils, cats, dogs, parakeets, fish, turtles, but these little chicks fascinate me so much. I hope to learn a lot more on the forums and get to know some of you better.

Thanks for reading my long introduction and I hope to get to know some of you as well!
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium member
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,683
4,863
556
Ohio
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Congratulations on your new chicks, glad they are doing well so far. Ya, you do tend to obsess over them when they are new, they are so tiny and cute. It's called Chicken Television, can't stop watching them.

You might like to check out the BYC Learning Center, lots of good articles on all aspects of chicken keeping. https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center there are a couple of nice articles on taming and socializing your chicks in this section https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-and-raising-chicks picking them up for short periods of time each day and handling them a lot when they are young really helps, they soon get used to being handled.

Be sure to check out the Coops section https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/2/Coops for ideas, and if you want imput on your plans you can post on the Coop/Run design forum for input https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/9/coop-run-design-construction-maintenance
Hope you don't wind up having neighbor/zoning problems with the chicks, but do check out your state thread for chicken keeping neighbors https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/697050/michigan-thread-all-are-welcome/0_20
 

sumi

Égalité
Staff member
Premium member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
39,157
25,176
1,302
Tipperary, Ireland
Welcome to BYC
Glad you joined us! Kelsie gave you some good resources to get you started. Enjoy the site!
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
40,985
62,083
1,492
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop


Welcome to BYC!

You do sound EGG-cited! It is normal to be a nervous mommy. I still get up at midnight to check on my brood or if I hear any strange noises in the night. LOL And yes, it is hard to look away! You can't help but stare into the brooder.

Don't be afraid to handle them. Be gentle and don't drop them, but pick them up, carry them around the house, get them on the living room floor. The more you handle them, the tamer they will be come. By the time they are adults, you have have them stalking you for goodies or a nice soft lap. All that attention you gave them as babies will pay off in the love they show toward you.

Good luck with your new babies! Kelsie has left you with some great links to follow. Enjoy this new adventure you are on and welcome to our flock!
 

LadyKjo

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
39
5
52
Eau Claire, Michigan
Thank you all for the warm welcome! I'm busy reading all the links and information and just put up a "wanted" ad on craigslist for scrap materials to start building our coop with- we're on a shoestring budget like many others right now. Hopefully between the scrap wood and other junk laying around our place, and maybe someone's leftovers from spring cleaning, I can start making a coop for our two young ones before they get too big. I think I have about 4 or 5 more weeks at least before they outgrow the brooder bin- but they seem to be growing soo fast. Thanks again and I'm sure I'll be asking many questions as time goes on.
 
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