Friday, June 12, 2009

Peep Show

We've got babies! And the cuteness factor is truly too much to bear. I have to exert every last ounce of willpower to refrain from constantly groping these little puffs of love. Poor Ute is beside herself with desperation to hold the chicks, but like all fresh newborns, they need their rest and as little stress as possible. We have a strict limit of only 2 holdings per chick per day.

The peepers seem to be happy in their makeshift cardboard box brooder, which I whipped together in exactly 5 minutes - 4 minutes were spent on finding the appropriate box. And according to the Chicken Lady, I've got the temperature spot on, illustrated by the little girls completely sprawling themselves out on the brooder floor.

Yes, I got the chicks from the Chicken Queen again. After much research, I discovered that chicks die... like often. Several breeders in the area won't sell chicks until they are at least 15 weeks old, no matter how much you beg and plead. Reason being is that they are kind of fragile until this stage and any little cootie that passes through could wipe out your flock before you even know anything is amiss. If you only sell older pullets, you are less likely to have customers screaming obscenities that you sold them sick birds. The illness that struck Miss Lorraine and Pearl (and possibly Broccoli), Cocci, is super super common in chicks. It's even in the soil in some places. The Chicken Lady has a lot of birds, maybe too many for the size of her barn. She is also new to selling chickens on a large scale, only having done it for the past 2 years. If you chat her up for awhile, she'll disclose the illnesses that have passed through her flock and what she has or has not done about it. I heard that Animal Care and Control visited her last year after a complaint was made and found that the birds were well fed and watered, and the coop was clean (I was actually shocked that her coop was so clean considering the number of birds flapping about). From my observations and from chit chatting with her, she seems to really love her chickens (and horses). I don't believe she is some horrible individual being cruel to animals and intentionally selling sick birds. But the main reason I became a return customer is the fact that she has the best selection of rare heritage breeds around. Until someone else decides to sell this extensive of a menagerie, I'll be shopping at the Poultry Palace.

Alright, alright! Enough about the purchase, now I'll show you the goods. My new baby is named Violet, at the insistence of Ute. She is a Spitzhauben, which I think I mentioned in an earlier post is the national chicken of Switzerland. I finally have my Swiss bird!

This is Ute's peep, Petunia. I'm not sure which breed she is, maybe a Buff Ameraucana?

Esteban gets two birds this time around, since he lost his dear Broccoli. He's got Gertrude the Brabanter

and Sweet Pea, who is possibly a Brahma. Whatever she is, she's got the cutest little feathered legs, which you can't see because they are tucked up under her.

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