Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baby Chicks!

Several years ago, Mike and I started talking about what we wanted our lives to look like once we were married and generally "adults". Turns out we had similar interests. We both wanted to live off of the land as much as possible, producing our own food and maybe even selling it. That included raising chickens for eggs, having a goat for milk production, and bees for honey. Fast forward a few years working random jobs, living in Korea, getting married and finally landing in a river town in Iowa. We purchased a home in the river town on a budget. Part of our dreams is to live on an acreage with plenty of room for our gardens, orchards and farm animals, but those dreams can't come true until we can pay off loans from college and our cars. Our fairly spacious home is on .17 acres. Truly tiny, but enough room for us - for now.

Coming back to the title of this post, our little plot of land has just enough room for a chicken coop in the garden. There will be a post coming about the building of our coop later, but now I wanted to show you our little beauties!

Meet the girls!
So, we are not positive all of them are female. They were sexed the day they hatched and there is typically a 90% rate of positively identifying sex. We can't keep roosters in the city, so we are hoping we don't have to relocate any of our babies. We are already quite attached.

Our cat, Gizmo has also fallen in love with the chicks. She spends several hours a day "supervising" them. We were worried she would try to eat them, but she seems to just enjoy watching them and never tries to lunge at them or nip them when the chicks are in our hands.

Our girls are Rhode Island Reds. I chose them for two reasons: First, their egg laying abilities. With a bit of luck, they will each lay 6-7 times a week and they tend to be large eggs. Some hens, while more attractive than Reds, will lay less often and produce small eggs. We are not keeping chickens just for their eggs (while it is a huge plus of having them), they are our pets too. So far they have been a ton of fun. Second, I chose Reds because they are known to be a hardy breed. This being our first time raising chickens, I worried about chicks that would die before reaching maturity and hens that would not last through brutal Iowa winters. Hopefully our Rhode Island Reds will prove to be good pets!