Chickens truly are the gateway animal on a homestead, and ours is no exception. Last week we drove out to a small hatchery, operated in a local family’s backyard, kitchen, and garage. Day old chicks peeped and chirped in boxes, and pens of turkeys, hens and game fowl stood in the yard. We got a small box of chicks – three Ameracaunas, two Rhode Island Reds, three Buff Orphingtons, and two Black Australorps. At the last minute, I decided to exchange out a Buff Orphington pullet for a rooster, knowing that they tend to be docile and good around children. So there it is, the start of our laying flock – 9 hens and one rooster.
For now they are in a box in the kitchen, where they can remain warm under a heat lamp, and where we can all watch “Chick TV.” The kids are enamored with the chicks, of course, and all sorts of chick shenanigans have ensued, from truck and train rides around the house, to outdoor field trips.
As we drove home, Brian remarked, “I feel like a real homesteader again,” and it is so true. Not having animals or a garden to tend has just felt incomplete. I’m so happy to jump back into the daily routine of caring for the animals and plants that provide us with food and joy.