Spring is in the air over here at Whispering Horse Farm, and that means one thing: Baby Chicks. (Actually, Spring on the farm means many things, but for the sake of this post, we’ll roll with chicks being ‘the thing.’)
So furry and tiny with their cute little “cheep cheep cheep” sounds, you’d never guess these fluffy little cluckers have a dark side: They’re gross.
The first year we got chicks on the farm, I put them in a plastic tub under a heat lamp in my laundry room. Chicks who are without a mother hen to care for them need to be kept very warm for the first several weeks of their lives, so we decided to keep them nice and warm and protected within our house. In a very short period of time, my laundry room was covered with a fine, white dust. It only took a moment of wondering, “what in the world is this?” to realize that it was, in fact, from the chicks scratching at their poop. It was poop powder. My whole laundry room was finely coated in chick poop powder. Lovely.
This had not been mentioned in any of the books or articles I read about caring for baby chicks and backyard hens. Oh, well. Live and learn. And we did. The next year, we had a much better, much cleaner approach for raising our babies that didn’t include having to do a deep clean and sanitization of the laundry room.
This year, we had planned to hatch and raise our chicks right here on the farm, but unfortunately, both of our roosters were taken out by hawks over the last several months, so we picked up (one less than) a dozen and a half chicks from our local farm Co-Op. We currently have 17 hens left on the farm – one of whom, Bertha, is the last remaining of the original six that we first brought to the farm. In this new set of 17 chicks, we are adding 2 additional Welsummers, 4 Brown Leghorns, 5 Black-Laced Red Wyandottes, 3 Gold-Laced Wyandottes, and 3 Black Australorps. Hopefully there will be a rooster in that bunch and we can give a try at hatching and raising our own chicks here on the farm next year.
Are you raising any chicks this year? We’d love to know what you’ve got – let us know in the comments!