Wednesday, March 31, 2010

new chicks in the bathroom = spring

Some new life is pumping into this small farm: a few laying hen chicks were picked up on my lunch break at Tractor Supply. Just eight—all scrappy and healthy—are currently taking residence in my bathroom. The sign at the store just said "Pullets: Laying" but I think they're production reds and whites (meaning Rhode Island Red and Leghorn hybrids) sold to small operations like mine. They waited for me in the front seat of the truck with a hand warmer shake packet under them while I designed web sites. I was in a cubicle workspace while eight chickens waiting in my truck. My life is a constant combination of office life and farming. I enjoy the dichotomy.

I called local suppliers about poultry today. Looking to raise turkeys and chickens this year on the new farm for some side income. Cornish Rocks and Bourbon Reds should be the star players. Right now, however, it's just these young ones. 22 dozen an eggs a year each is the possibility in each of those little peepers. It never stops amazing me.



Blogger Dawn Dutton said...

cool.... I love baby chicks. Mine should be arriving any day...yeah! enjoy them..

March 31, 2010 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger kristen said...

Jenna, if you're considering a real investment, you might want to ask around and make sure no one has had problems with blackhead disease in your region, since chickens carry it and it negatively affects turkeys.

March 31, 2010 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Hey Jenna- is there any market for you in game birds, i.e., pheasants and quail? Like maybe some high-falutin' restaurants or something?

March 31, 2010 at 11:15 PM  
Blogger small farm girl said...

Are you sure that they are all pullets? They look like male and female golden comets. Just wondering. Those are good layers.

March 31, 2010 at 11:25 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I love the dichotomy of your life, too! You're doing it your way, girl.

My dad raises chickens every year for butchering. I always make sure to visit often when they're just little chicky puffballs scratching around in their sawdust. (I tend to be very busy, however, at the other end of their lives...gulp)

March 31, 2010 at 11:29 PM  
Blogger SouthernHeart said...

That looks sooo familiar! This time last year, we did the same thing except they were in our entry hall! Here's my post about it below:

Have fun with them!

April 1, 2010 at 12:21 AM  
Blogger Affi'enia said...

Puppies and chicks. Man it sure is Spring!!! we'll be getting my first ready to lay hens in about a month but once we have the hang of those we're gonna get some little featherballs like those :o)

April 1, 2010 at 4:23 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

As I was reading your blog today the words from the FFA (Future Farmers of America) organization (which I was a member of in high school) ran through my head - they apply to you:

I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds - achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.

I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.

I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.

I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so--for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.

I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.

April 1, 2010 at 4:40 AM  
Blogger sheila said...

I'm thinking the same as small farm girl. Are you sure Tractor Supply didn't sell you straight run Golden Comets. The pullets are red and the cockerels are white fluff. The beauty of sex link, they come color coded.

I hate buying chicks from Tractor Supply. The one in my area has workers that don't have a clue what they are selling. Last year they had a bunch of what looked like Cornish Cross chicks labeled as Barred Rocks. I tactfully tried to correct the error with the guy working there and he told me I was wrong.

April 1, 2010 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

I have 31, 2 week old chicks in my basement from Murray McMurray Hatchery. They arrived in great shape and are growing like weeds. I bought 4 supposed RIReds from the local feed store a couple of years ago and they were really Red Sex Link. They turned out to be very aggressive and mean to my Buff Orpington. I rehomed them. Peruse Craigs List to find someone with Turkey Poults already started in your area. I had turkeys last year and they are better than chickens for entertainment. They tasted really great too.

April 1, 2010 at 7:44 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

I have 4 Red Stars I got in trade for some unhappy guinea fowl. The Red Stars are good layers but not very smart, even for chickens. They are not mean to my others, either, though. I don't let them wander much, they get lost within sight of the hen shed.

April 1, 2010 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger 念強念強 said...


April 1, 2010 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

We have six baby black sex links in the green house right now....I love spring!!!!!!

April 1, 2010 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Silent said...

We've had our own little peepers in the basement (heated, mind you) for a month. I love the way they seem to greet us when we get home.

The other day they discovered that there are other chickens in residence here. One of ours from last year likes to announce to the world how glorious she is every time she lays an egg. While she was outside the coop crowing the babies in the basement heard her and started peeping very loudly. It was too darn cute for words.

April 1, 2010 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger Sandra Henderson said...

I always thought that the term "pullet" simply referred to ANY hen breed under laying age....
period. Then you attached the name of the breed to that term....
I think these biddies got put in a pullet cage (meaning older birds) because of the excess of chicks this time of the year. Mislabeled.

April 1, 2010 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Sandra Henderson said...

wasn't clear I think....
these are biddies. Pullets are what ANY hen type is called as they begin to mature into, but before, laying hens.

April 1, 2010 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Funny Ernie said...

If you go with meat birds consider heritage breeds. We are raising cornish cross and it's so sad how quickly they grow. It seems very un-naturely. We might try heritage breeds next year.

Turkey's are a riot though. They are so different from chickens.

April 1, 2010 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Cris said...

Every spring I get bit by the poultry bug, too. So far, I have three ducklings under a heat lamp in my guest room. A box of silkies is scheduled to arrive next Wednesday, and at the end of the month a box of cornish-rocks and two turkey poults will be waiting for me at the post office. My new-to-me shed is, as I type, being remodeled for my meat birds and I have plans over this lovely long weekend to make at least one chicken/duck/turkey tractor. It's fun work to run a little backyard farm--I have to say, taking ownership of all the food I grow (including meat) is so very empowering. My neighbors reap the benefits too--everyone gets a roaster at the end of the season!

April 1, 2010 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Conny said...

In the bathroom?? How long can that last? I have (6) 3-week old chicks in a brooder cage in my kitchen. They're cute but very active - its like having teenagers run amuck in your house: rambunctious and fine feathers flying everywhere!!

Somehow I think whether they're roosters or hens it'll be okay with you. At your new property no one can tell you that you can't have roosters. Will they free range?

April 1, 2010 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger Abi said...

We stay away from Tractor Supply too for chicks. We have gotten ours in the past from Murray and McMurray and also from Peaceful Valley (here in Pownal) We were happiest with the chicks from Peaceful Valley. Emma, who runs it, is very helpful and her family is huge in the (dairy) farming community here.

April 1, 2010 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger Marilynne said...

When I saw the chicks I remembered the warm chickie smell of them. It's been a long time since I've held a chick.

April 2, 2010 at 12:55 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Much like the meat you eat, please consider the source of the chicks you purchase. I personally will no longer frequent Tractor Supply due to the treatment of their ducklings and chicks. Abuse plain and simple.

April 5, 2010 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

My Vermont TSC had clean, healthy animals in great shape?

April 5, 2010 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Where do the ducklings and chicks from your Vermont store come from? Are you aware of the sale to death ratio of their animals?

April 5, 2010 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger Sandra Henderson said...

Someone explain something to me please.... If nobody buys these animals, what will ultimately happen to them? You're saying don't buy them because they may not be good to their animals, but surely if nobody buys them buy the time the supposedly survive all this that you are assuming they go through, do you realize they will SURE die?
come on....

April 5, 2010 at 4:58 PM  
Blogger Sandra Henderson said...

This is so silly. Ya'll need to go around worrying about a whole lot more than stuff like this....
what in the world are gonna happen to these if you don't buy them!?!? huh? besides, it's nature's way at that point when you found them in that cage for sale... these sure are some survival of the fittest IF what you say is true.... Ya'll need to go be a czar for a damned seal somewhere.... get a life!

April 5, 2010 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Sandra Henderson said...

Meredith, if you aren't willing to make yourself known, you shouldn't go around making accusations like this. I've never shopped at a TSC in my life, but I can tell ya one thing. It's hard to take somebody's word who doesn't even want to make themselves knows. TSC is on RFD=TV and is well known in my cirlces as a fine establishment. I have NO affiliation with them, but HAVE owned my own business for 15 years and grew up in small business my whole life and don't know any other way. In this day and age when it's hard enough for businesses to exist one shouldn't go around spounting out facts without first putting their REAL face and name out there behind their spouting and then giving PROOF!

April 5, 2010 at 5:23 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...


If no one supports an abusive industry (much like puppy mills) they will not have a reason to continue the cycle of abuse. Supply and demand, its quite simple. Demand supply from those who take great care of living animals, not those who "care" for them as disposable stock.

As for survival of the can't be serious? Nature does not take place in a Tractor Supply. While in the care of humans we have the responsibility to keep them healthy or to end the lives of those that are sick. In nature these sick/injured/dying ducks/chicks would have been eaten. A quick end to their suffering, much unlike the prolonged suffering these sick animals can endure while in the trough of large chain stores.

Portions of this blog are about respect and humane treatment of animals. Deciding what or who to support when purchasing chicks/ducklings is NO different than deciding to eat local humane raised meat rather than those who are factory farmed.

I can not disagree with you more, this is not silly. This is serious. The treatment of living creatures needs to be held at a higher standard. I do not agree with supporting an industry that abuses their chicks/ducklings as tractor supply sometimes does. If you don't purchase them...they will have adult ducks and chickens on their hands rather than cute babies to appeal to the easter crowd, those who generally don't have the knowledge or equipment to actually deal with these animals as they reach adulthood. Much like cute easter bunny a kid gets, these animals are released into the wild to suffer some more. The breed of ducks can't fly or fend for themselves.

I take action. Other prefer to call a topic silly, over look the wrong doings, and continue on. Not this girl!

April 6, 2010 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Sandra Henderson said...

Merideth, Show me proof and put your true identity out there and I MIGHT take you seriously. Until then you're just blathering to me ....not unlike so many who choose to try to shut down businesses. I suppose you want us all to rely on government to get our animals from too?!?!

April 6, 2010 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

My true identity? I'm not going to put my full name and address on a public blog if that's what you're asking.

There's currently an ongoing investigation with a local tractor supply about the treatment of the animals in their store. I'd be happy to provide you with more information as I hear more.

I'm not sure what proof you need? Want to support a good industry, research and be proud to stand behind the name of the store/farm etc. If you can't answer simple questions about where the animals came from and care of them and their parents, you can't claim to care about humane treatment of animals.

The care of animals is more important to me than keeping a business open. What does the government have to do with this? The USDA is no better at regulating the care of animals than most of the farms/ranches/feed lots themselves.

The consumer has control, we determine what we support, what we purchase, and who to purchase from. If you care about sustainability, humane treatment of animals, and about where your food comes from and what goes on behind the scenes, read up and back up your decisions with your purchases and your support.

I'm not telling you to care about the well being of chicks and ducklings, i'm simply letting jenna know that she's supporting the chain as a whole by purchasing her chicks from her local store. I was curious had she done research about these animals, where they came from, the treatment of their parents and how they are kept and fed? All VERY important questions to ask and have answered if you want to contribute to a humane syle of farming...and my impression is she does.

April 6, 2010 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Sandra Henderson said...

You want to have a geneology record of each chick and photos of how their parents were treated? How can a business give all this? this is crazy.
Why don't you go on down to wally world or William Sonoma and buy yourself a nice new pot from CHina to cook your tofu in...Then get in your import hybrid car and go gas it up to go pick up your orangic vegetables...
Keep on dreaming of buying little chicks with papers and proof of whence they came.
In the mean time, I've got to go put som diazaon on my garden.
Like I say, I don't listen to blithering idiots who won't back up their statements with PROOF or put their OWN SELVES behind what they are spouting.
That's my point.

April 6, 2010 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Stop fighting, darlings.

The birds at the Bennington Vermont TSC come from Mt healthy Hatchery from PA. Whatever it is they were accused of, I'm going to chop off their heads in a few weeks, which is probably worse...

I do appreciate your concern about animals, and their well being. It is exactly why I raise my own meat animals now: to make sure I'm not part of the factory farm system. I am less concerned about their first 2 days at TSC than I am about the next two months on pasture with me.

Keep in mind, you're both animals too. Be nice to each other as well as the chicks...

P.S. my real name is all over this public blog!

April 6, 2010 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

I'm really confused about your stance on animal welfare Jenna. Why would chopping off their heads be worse than suffering sick and ill in a trough while the other chicks/ducklings nip at them?

I thought the reason you opt to do it yourself is because the entire process is more humane. If you care about how meat gets on your plate, why be less concerned about the process that brings these live animals to your farm?

If you aren't concerned about the care of these animals before you purchase them i have totally misunderstood the meaning behind many if not all of your posts.

Sandra, it saddens me we/you are not able to have a respectful dialogue when you have a different opinion than another person. Adult conversations do not need to include assumptions and name calling. I sure hope this isn't par for how you conduct business.

April 6, 2010 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger Sandra Henderson said...

Well Meredith since you are in the business of putting businesses out of business, why don't you just launch an investigation once you get yourself and identity.
Yes, I stand up for what I believe in.... and state the facts. Call it what you may.

April 6, 2010 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger Sandra Henderson said...

Over and OUT! (on this subject)

April 6, 2010 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger polly's path said...

we have Leghorns and RI Reds and yes, they are amazing layers-right now an egg per day and have been that way since last fall. I am sure they will eventually slow down, but right now it's great to have extra eggs to cook with, trade with others for stuff I don't grow, or give away to non-farming friends.

April 7, 2010 at 9:30 AM  

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