I will be honest – I was terrified to get chicks. We had been talking about getting chickens for a couple of years now, but I did not have the nerve to go out and get them. Some of my biggest fears were in how I would raise these little babies and how much time it might take to care for them. When I talked to others who already had chickens, they seemed to think it was a breeze to keep them and it was well worth it for the eggs.
So, finally this spring, I decided to move forward with becoming a chicken owner. I thought I would avoid store-bought chicks and would take some chicks from a teacher friend whose school was hatching chicks in first grade. At the last minute, after buying a coop and having the chicken run put up, my teacher friend told me someone else had laid claim on every single chick in that school, so I was back to square one.
Fortunately, my brother was on the lookout for some good chicks and had a coworker who was looking to get rid of four chicks his son had “won” in the school chick lottery. I happily accepted this good fortune. Since he only had four chicks for me, I decided to go to a local store and buy six more chicks so we would have a total of 10 chicks. I thought this would be a good starting number. I bought all of the supplies and three different varieties of chickens, brought them home in a tiny cardboard box, and put them into a big tub.
The next day, I picked up the four chicks from the coworker and added them to the flock. A farmer friend had told us the secret to finding out the sex of the chick is to hold it upside down by one leg. If it tried to get itself back upright, it was a female, and if it just hung upside down, it was a male. I was skeptical at first, but I tried it with the four chicks from the coworker, because they didn’t know the sex. Two of the chicks tried to get back up and two didn’t. It turns out, we have two roosters.
Now we have been raising the chicks for about two weeks. They need plenty of food, water, heat, and I love to give them treats of different vegetables and insects. They are interesting to watch, and I am getting to know their personalities better each day. Our chickens will be for eggs only. I don’t think we are ready to take the leap into using them for meat. I am excited to see how they grow and cannot wait for some farm fresh eggs!