Picking up Chicks

Luke and I will be sharing the blog posting over here, this one is from him.


Last night Anna and I had a few drinks to celebrate her reaching her Kickstarter goal, then we picked up some chicks on the internet.

Inebriated online shopping used to mean that maybe a week later a few books from Amazon showed up. Having a farm definitely changes that sitch.


Last February I was away for work. I was in the middle of nowhere celebrating the end of the job, Anna was at home celebrating having almost made it through 4 weeks of solo parenting.

I got a text from her.

“I think I found someone with Tamworth/Berkshire pigs!”

Me: “Ok.”

Anna: “I think we should get them!”

Me: “It's February.”

Anna: “We'll pick them up in March!”

Me: “March is still cold.”

Anna: “They'll be fine!”

Me: “Do I have to build anything for them?”

Anna: “No! Not right away! We'll put them in the chicken pen!”

Here's the other thing - last summer we fenced in a 16' x 24' chicken run, thinking that without it our birds would just wander off and be lost forever. But we quickly realized that they just like to putz around the yard all day and return to roost at sunset. Now the only place they never go is the chicken run.

I thought for a moment.

“Ok, sure. Let's do it.”

And sure enough, a few weeks later we're dumping a trio of piglets out of a dog kennel into our chicken run.

The pigs in the 'temporary' chicken run.

The pigs in the 'temporary' chicken run.


Man, now that I think about it - that “chicken run” is the real impulse purchase enabler. It's a very convenient, safe holding pen for pretty much anything smaller than a bison. I can already tell it's going to be the on-deck circle for a parade of weird animals for years to come.

But anyway, back to the chicks.

I've been on a quest to find some Black Copper Marans. They look like black leather, bad-ass witch craft fowl, and they lay these deep burgundy snooker-ball eggs. I'm actually ashamed of how badly I want these birds. Which is funny, because a year ago I knew nothing about poultry. Now I'm this amateur chicken nerd.

Luke and his Black Maran chick!

Luke and his Black Maran chick!

Here's the run down:

We currently have two main breeds - Rhodebars and Cream Legbars. The Rhodebars have almost cat-level intelligence, but the Cream Legbars are nearly void of cognitive functions. They're painfully dumb, but they can fly. Well, in short bursts anyway. But it's also like they kind of forget that they have the power of flight. Which offends me. I mean, it would be like I had a jet pack but never used it. They mostly prefer to awkwardly speed-walk away from danger, but if they're cornered they'll burst straight up into the air then cruise off like little Apache helicopters. Whereas when you approach the Rhodebars they just crouch and sort of shrug, letting you pick them up, quietly accepting their fate.

For a while we also had Light Brahmas, which kind of look like a cross between your basic white chicken and the Wampa creature from The Empire Strikes Back. We bought them unsexed and all three of them turned out to be roosters, so, yeah, they were fun for a while but then they were in our freezer. Which was also nice.

We've recently added a half dozen Plymouth Rocks to our flock. We had seven, but one night when they were still little puffballs in our brooder they ganged up on the smallest one and mercilessly pecked it to death. It's unsettling when cute things kill. But you scoop it up and walk off into the woods and then come back and make sure the remaining adorable little peepers have enough grain bits and fresh water to make it through the day.

Anyway, last night we did finally get a line on some Black Copper Maran chicks. Problem is, the guy only had like 3. I think that left us a little jonesing. So we went ahead and ordered another 10 Brahmas from the lady we got them from last year. Then placed an order for 30 broilers in June. Then talked about that Peacock we saw at the auction last weekend. Because hey, why not? We've got that pen.