It is official! According to my daughter’s definition of “farm,” I can claim that status. We have 3 chicks: Rosie (named
after Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins–yes, she loves to stroll), Lucinda (originally named “Lucy” bec/ I thought she’d be the boss, but now she’s just a good ol’ country girl like you’d find in a Lucinda Williams song), and Oreo (originally named “Piper” bec/ she stands wistfully like a sandpiper at the edge of the ocean but ends up squeezing herself between the other two to create a reverse oreo).
We’ve only had them 2 weeks, and I am already feeling like a new mother again. I know I have a lot to learn about chicks, but I thought that I’d share our journey in case there are those of you out there who are suburban/urban farmers like we are and are considering raising egg-laying hens.
What I have learned so far:
- Yes, chickens do have personalities. Rosie is clearly the leader. Lucinda seems to be a typical country hen. Oreo is the tag-along little sis who chirps loudly if she loses sight of her big sisters.
- Chicks stick together–where the leader goes, the others follow. Rarely do they ever split up and go out on their own.
- Chicks like the heat–everything you read about the right temperature is true. The heat lamp a friend loaned me burned out so during the night, and while we’re gone during the day, they hang out in the guest bathroom with the heater on.
- They are great entertainment–there is nothing funnier than when a chick finds something to carry around in her mouth and the others chase her as if she has found the golden ticket.
- They still look for a mother figure even if you are not a hen–imprinting is important if you are raising your hens to be like pets. Every night as ours free range in the den, we also put a pillow ramp up to the couch, and inevitably, they end up settling in on my shoulder and taking a nap.
- Chicks can and will communicate with you through their chirps. Oreo frequently uses the “Where is everybody” cry. Rosie frequently coos when she is enjoying her stroll around the house. Lucinda only cheeps when there is an issue she needs addressed
- If all else fails, fall back on any parenting instinct you have. In the beginning, they want all their basic ne
eds met–food, water, love, and safety.
We are only two weeks into this journey, but I am loving having these new family members in our household. Tonight was their first foray out into the gardens of the farm. It was a delight to sit in the mulch and watch them check out their new digs. For the first time, I can say that I truly felt like a farmer working the land. Golly gracious! Just wait until we get the coop built!