Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mama mia that's a lotta chickens!

A few months ago, I decided that I was going to need more laying hens since some of my 'old girls' are getting...well...old, and like many of us, they aren't quite what they used to be.  I am also planning on parting with my Mille Fleur Leghorn hens (they are INSANE) so that is going to leave me a few chickens short of a full coop-which, coincidentally, is how many people would describe me. I placed an order for chicks with Sand Hill Preservation (my very favorite hatchery) very early this year because they often sell out of some of the rarer breeds early in the season.  I ordered 20 chicks all together, comprised of four different breeds: Blue-Laced-Red Wyandottes, Golden  Laced Wyandottes, Welsummers, and Blue Orpingtons, 5 chicks of each breed. I only need about 10 replacements, but Sand Hill doesn't sex any of their chicks, so going by the assumption that approximately half will be male and will not stay here, 20 seemed like a reasonable number.

Glen and Linda at Sand Hill are nice enough to accommodate small orders for those of us that are able to pick the little peepers up at their hatchery-it is only about 10 miles from my house. Small orders require some patience though. The hatchery does their best to fill small orders in between their regular shipping orders, and all breeds are not necessarily available at the same time, so you need to be flexible. This morning Linda called me to let me know that some of my chicks were ready. My Blue-Laced-Red and Golden Laced Wyandottes were there waiting for me!

I filled up the 'baby pool' -no water, just bedding...I'm not THAT crazy! I filled the feeder with chick starter and mixed up some sugar water to get the babies off to a good start once they got home. Then off I went to retrieve my new charges.

When I got to the hatchery, Linda greeted my with my peeping box of friends. She handed me my invoice and let me know that my 5 Blue-Laced-Reds were in the box and that Glen hatched some extra Golden-Laced so he gave me 7 instead of the 5 that I ordered........really, I only ordered 5 of each, I promise, but OK great, I can use 7. It's called Chicken Math. I have gotten accustomed to Glen adding a couple of extra chicks to the order; Sand Hill doesn't kill any of their extra chicks like most hatcheries do, they would rather send them home with someone.... someone that has s.u.c.k.e.r. tattooed on her forehead. As I was walking away with the box-o-chicks, Linda said, "Oh, he added a few 'filler' chicks too to help them stay warm on your way home." OK,  I am pretty sure that Glen is aware of the aforementioned fact that I live 10 miles away since I get chicks from them a couple times a year, and that I do have heat in the truck...I believe I've been Chicken Mathed.
I asked Linda what breeds the 'extras' were. Linda replied, "Could be anything, maybe some egg-layers... maybe something for the stew-pot." Stew-pot? Have you MET me? Clearly nothing raised on my farm is destined for the stew-pot! I thanked her and happily drove away with my little box-o-chicks.
As I drove down the road, the box was peeping quite loudly. I opened the lid and put my hand inside so that the chicks could gather under the warmth of my hand. Boy, I thought to myself, that looks like a lot of chicks....hmmm. I glanced at the chicks and then down at the invoice-5 Blue-Laced-Red, 7 Golden -Laced....I flipped the invoice over-12 filler chicks........12 filler chicks...12...wait, what? OMG. That can't be right. Well, long story short...I looked at the invoice when I got home, I counted each chick as I dipped their beaks in the sugar water, and it was right, there were a total of 24 chicks. 24. Twenty-four. Chicken Math.
That's alotta chicks!
After the shock wore off it occurred to me that only half of my order has been filled. Stay with me here, it's going to be a bumpy ride. Let's review. I ordered twenty chicks and I received half of that order-which turned out to be the first ten that I ordered, plus 2 extras, plus 12 filler chicks, so half of my original order of 20 is 24...makes perfect sense. I still have, in theory, 5 Blue Orpingtons and 5 Welsummers coming....5 of each.....5(ish). Chicken Math is so confusing. Maybe I better build a bigger coop.
I hope some of my chicken addicted friends will be interested in some roosters in a few weeks!
"This Chicken Math made me really tired. Good night!"


Judy T said...

Oh, they're so adorable. I really want chickens but my hubby is set against it. I'm still working on him- maybe next year.
Have fun.

Tammy said...

Wow..that is allot of sweet little peepers! You take the best pictures too. Have fun with your triple sized bunch!

Ebonwald Cardigans said...

i want some egg layers this year but dont' want 5 of each kind either! If you have 'extra' chicks that are let me know!

Lisa said...

If Jack sees your pool full of chicks we'll NEVER get him out of your garage.

Michelle said...

Me thinks you could end up with a LOT of new chickens! I'd love some more colors, but would need a much larger run -- or a husband that allowed free-range girls....

Miss Effie said...

That's what neighbors are for!!!!

tbsomeday said...

i got some of that same generosity from ralph winter at the guinea hen farm last year
gotta love our local bird raisers!
i haven't yet ordered chicks from sand hill, but get my seeds from there and they are great people doing great work--i love supporting them!
i'm so jealous--i held myself back from ordering more chicks this year..i may have some peacocks yet to come from last year from some local people??? lol

so, again...i'm living through you
keep the updates coming!

Redbud Lane Farm said...

Oh! you are so lucky!!! And you take the most amazing pics! Enjoy your new babies. :)

Dawn said...

They are so pretty the little peepers. What fun getting to see what the mysteries grow up to be.

Shmoopywood said...

I wish I lived near to you (last I checked NH was no where near you) because we NEED a new Rooster.
How often do you hear someone say that? Hey can i have a rooster?

like never! I have 3 roo's from my hatch but I can't use them, they are related to my hens and ... well eewwwww :)

Mom L said...

What a beautiful batch of fuzzies! I wonder how many will be in your next "order of 10"??!

Nancy in Iowa

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Lovely fuzzy bums! We are scared of the chicken farms because of the "extras" hee hee. My lady likes to hatch her eggs - lots of fun. We were very lucky this time! 8 hens and only 1 roo out of the hatch! We can't eat ours either

WeekendFarmer said...

Thats cute! I think you got some Barred Rocks as a filler. They are good as well. I wish I lived closer!

You could put some on craiglslist too if you dont want that many.

My chics come in 2 days...all 50 of the meat birds. Your post reminds me...I better be ready : )

Claire MW said...

wow, they look wonderful! You are so lucky to live so close to Sand Hill. I wanted to put an order in but I think it's too late now. :-(
(no, that doesn't mean that I want all your roosters)

Angie Litterst said...

Bahh haaaa haaaa!

I need orange said...

And you know the other half of your order will probably have "a few filler chicks," too.....

I think you DEFINITELY need more space for chickens........


They sure are cute!

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