Friday, May 13, 2011

Dixie Chicken(s)

We've got bitties!!! Jack and I went on a little excursion yesterday to a neighboring town and bought our first batch of baby chickens. That was an adventure in itself, especially for Jack, as he has spent the majority of his life living in big cities.
We only got 16 chicks for now. The farmer didn't have as many of the meat chickens as we wanted and I didn't want to load up on too many layers, so we just got a few to get started. In the end we got 5 or 6 White Leghorns (meat birds), 4 or 5 Golden Comets, 4 Rhode Island Reds and a couple of "Blue" something or others. I'm not sure what they are but we said, what the hell! They are cute little buggers and very active.

Chigger has been mesmerized by them but has behaved herself very well. She likes to come in the coop every time we go to feed or water them but I watch her closely. I don't trust a dog around baby anything. However, she has acted well, like I said. She did slip in one time when Jack was just outside the door and he caught her sitting in there looking at them.

They have gotten active enough they were "flying" from one end of their tub to the other. Then they realized they could go up, so they enjoy sitting on the edge of the tub.

I've already had some people question the cedar chips I have in the tub so I have checked into that. When I was a kid we just put hay in the chicken houses, so I wasn't sure about anything else and the books I have don't say anything about not using cedar. I did some online reading and found quite a lot of conflicting info. Some said no pine or cedar shavings because of the strong odors each can put off. The phenols in the oils of such wood can cause respiratory stress in some animals. Some said use whatever kind of wood shavings you want. In fact, a lot of people said they use cedar and have for years with no problems. They like the cedar because it keeps the mites off the bitties. I think I may switch to something else on the next batch though. Or maybe only use a small handful and cover it with another bedding. Have any of you used cedar or prefer something else? The chicks seem fine with it.

They don't pay much attention to Chigger now. Jack has already decided there is one little runt chick that he wants to be a pet. I told him not to get too attached to them 'cause he is going to have to do the deed when the time comes. He assures me that since he is a former Marine that saw active fighting in a major war he can do in a few chickens. Hhm, we'll see.
So, since we couldn't get as many Leghorns as I wanted locally we will probably order a batch and then save the best of the layers out of these to keep.
I would like to get 2 or 3 mature hens also, so that we could have eggs now and not have to wait on these girlies to get started. But, we'll see.

Oh, I know I had more comments on that last post but since Blogger had it's maintenance issues (as many of you know) it must have deleted some of them. I think some might have even lost a post. At any rate, I did not delete them and was going to answer them but then couldn't. I appreciate the comments and since I had some new people comment I didn't want ya'll to think I was ignoring you.


antvee said...

I've been raising chicks and chickens for over 20 years and I've always used cedar. It really does keep the bugs away. I use it inside the coop on the wood floor and I fill the nest boxes with it along with diatomaceous earth. I also scatter diatomaceous earth in their dustbath area. I can honestly say I've never lost a chick and I've never had mites or lice. It also makes the coop smell really nice.
Good luck with the chicks, I hope they grow well for y'all!

edifice rex said...

Hey V.! thanks so much for your input. I am still reading some that say not to use it but plenty from people that say they do with no problems.

Island Rider said...

We'll see if Jack can do the deed. We have chickens at one of the sites where I work as part of a farm exhibit. Something got into them and killed almost half of them and our big burly maintenance man was in tears.

Deb said...

Yea! You're gonna LOVE having chickens. But I don't think leghorns are meat birds.

edifice rex said...

Hey IR! Oh, that's terrible! yeah, I'm waiting to see too. He's already getting attached to all of them and wanting to give them names. lol!! I may end up doing it myself.

Hey Deb! Yeah, it's been years since I had them and I always enjoyed it. We had them growing up and then I had a bunch about 10 years ago also. I like taking care of them.
Well, the Leghorns are classified by many sites as 'duel purpose' and it's true the Cornish Rock crosses are the standards in commercial houses. The Leghorns are a little slimmer. However, MC Murray Hatchery includes them in their BBQ and Frying Pan Special, so they are considered by some as meat birds. Mainly I was thinking of the fact they are white skinned, which is what most of us are used to eating. But hey, this is all an experiment and as far as I'm concerned, any rooster is a meat bird! lol!!

Anonymous said...

Don't you need a rooster? Not knowing about chickens, I'll remain anonymous as it is awful to be thought dumb; but I am about chickens. Darling little diddies. Chigger is a fine, very fine, dog.

edifice rex said...

Hey Anon! no, you're not dumb! some people have just never been around chickens much.
Hens will lay eggs regardless of whether a roo is there or not, so I only need a rooster if I want to make more chickens, which I do, so I will keep probably one roo.
The rest of them, well, adios amigos!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Congrats on becoming foster parents, if only temporarily. I'm with jack and would want to be naming them too, but could not "do the deed" so would be eating lots of eggs.

edifice rex said...

Hey Beatrice! yeah, I'm just waiting to see how Jack does when the time comes! lol! He may surprise me.