I’ve wanted to get chickens for a few years, but we kept getting caught up in the logistics of it all. Figuring out where we’d get them, what we’d use as a coop, how we’d care for them, etc. So I finally decided that we were DOING it this year and getting chickens and, like magic, within a week a post popped up in my Facebook feed that the Alpaca Farm 2 miles from our house had chicks for sale in just the breed I’ve been wanting to get. They’re all Ameraucanas, or so we think. I keep reading that it’s really hard to have actually Ameraucanas, but that most that are labeled as such are some sort of mutt breed that are lumped into a category because they lay blue or green eggs. I’m ok with that. We wanted them because they are notoriously gentle and good with kids and they also do well with cold weather and pretty eggs and a lovely bonus for sure:) So…meet the girls!
Penelope: a.k.a. Bossy or Sassy. She’s Mia’s little girl. She’s the BOSS. She flocks the other girls and yells at them and tells them what to do all.the.time. She’s a total stinker, but also the most friendly and because she looks so typically like what we all think of when we think of chicks, she’s also the first that everyone wants to hold.
Clementine: My little girlie:) She’s the runt of the pack and we’re still not sure if she’s just smaller and going to be more like a bantam size or if she’s just a day or two younger than the rest of the girls. She’s sweet as pie and by far the most calm. She’s the easiest to hold because she doesn’t try to escape as much as everyone else, she just loves the warmth and snuggles and loves to fall asleep in our hands or on a chest.
Beatrice: John’s little lady. She’s the wild card. While Penelope is The Boss, Beatrice is not far behind. She gives her a run for her money and she is totally crazy and LOUD. She loves to bother her sisters and is incessantly pushing them around to get the spot she wants for food or in the nap pile.
Nicholas The Girl: Nick’s girl. She’s calm and steady, but has no problem holding her own against the bossy ladies. She’s also a bit protective of Clementine and I could totally see her being the nurturing mama of the group if she had chicks. I feel like she’s still a little reserved, so we’re excited to get to know her as she relaxes with us a bit more.
They’re all growing like CRAZY and I’m totally in love with their little tail feathers that are popping out. In these photos they’re about 1.5 weeks and it’s wild to see how they’ve grown just since I took these photos last Friday. They’re taller, their legs are darker, they’re all losing tons of down and have beautiful wing feathers and tail feathers – it’s so fun to guess what they’ll look like when they’re full grown! They keep trying to fly (and being successful sometimes!) so we need to get them into a new space quickly. We started them in a big old Rubbermaid bin, but they’re quickly outgrowing that. They had to be in there last night for the warmth and the high sides,but we’ll need a better solution soon. I put them in a baby pool yesterday during the day and they loved having more space, but two flew out, so it wasn’t safe for nighttime. I know we’ve only had them for a week and they’re not full grown, but taking care of them as chick was my biggest hurdle in wanting to have them. If it’s been yours, too, believe me: it’s no big deal at all! They hang out in their little spot and we give them clean water and food and bedding every day. I got the waterer and feeder that fit a mason jar on top and those were only a few bucks each. Chick starter feed was about $6. A bag of pine shavings was $4. We put newspaper under the shavings. They were $5 each, so that brings the total startup costs to just under $40 – not too shabby. We still need to build a coop and we could go nuts with just buying one, but we’re either going to use our old shed or build something mobile to move around the yard and, either way, with using scraps and supplies we already have and wood from pallets it’s not going to cost more than $100. And they really are low maintenance. The kids love to hang out with them (my favorite quote from Mia is when we were driving home with them and she said, “Mommy, we’re not going to need our tv anymore! Now we can just watch the chicks when we want something to do!” I keep reminding her of this:) So I know it’s kind of premature, but this is the part I was most hesitant about before we got them and it’s been no big deal at all. If you’ve been wanting to get some chicks, I vote that you should absolutely go for it if you can do it in your community:) These little girls are making us all so, so happy!
A few resources if you’re considering chickens:
Backyard Chickens – forums and more info than you could ever want about chickens!