Future Egg Layers

We got the call from Canada Post around 0715, in the middle of feeding pigs and letting out hens, so headed out right away. We got the chicks home by about 0745.  By 0815, they were all in the brooder, checking out their new surroundings and figuring out food and water.  We always dip their beaks in water when we’re transferring them from the shipping box to the brooder, and it’s also the last time I count them for quite a while.  You’re not supposed to count your chickens before they hatch, but let me tell you, they’re pretty hard to count once they’re running around.

We received a total of 78 chicks;  our eldest daughter wanted to start her own laying flock, so she ordered 25 random assortment (the hatchery chooses pullets from five different breeds – it’s probably a way to make use of odd numbers left over after large orders), and I ordered 50 Rhode Island Reds.  This hatchery usually includes a few extra in case of mortalities, and so that makes our 78.  Guessing from the colour of the chicks, my daughter thinks she got about 12 Red Rock Cross (the black chicks) and about 15 Columbian Rock (the big white chicks).  There are at least 2 we’re not sure about – one is a milk chocolate colour and one is kind of multi coloured.  I guess the chance of at least one rooster should be considered as well.

Looking at these little balls of fluff scooting around, it’s hard to believe they’ll be egg laying pullets in 5 months.  Christmas.  That’ll be interesting, seeing how they come into lay during the short daylight hours of winter, when hens usually lay very few eggs.  That’s something I didn’t really consider when I was ordering them, so we’ll just be back on the learning curve again.  Like we’re every really NOT on it.

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10 thoughts on “Future Egg Layers

  1. So exciting…and adorable! We just started a little flock of our own: four Welsh Harlequin ducks!

    • That’s fabulous! Duck eggs are supposed to be amazing for baking, though I realize that’s thinking ahead just a bit. I’m sure they are adorable also…and you’re finally in a place where it’s legal to have them 🙂

  2. Bill says:

    Yay! There’s nothing quite like young chicks. They’re a joy. May they give you mountains of wonderful eggs!

  3. They ARE a joy…it’s no problem asking someone to check the chicks, all of us enjoy just standing there watching them. Mountains of eggs would be fantastic!

  4. One of my broodies hatched out a couple of chicks last summer and the pullets didn’t go into lay until late January/early February and we had lights in the coop.
    78 balls of feathers – how fun is that?!!!

  5. df says:

    Oh my goodness that’s a lot of baby chicks! I hope you and your daughter are enjoying these early days; they must be growing fast. We’ve been static with our flock of nine Ameraucaunas for two years, although we finally have two hens who seem to be sitting quite diligently on some eggs. I don’t even want to talk about it, as we’d all but given up hope of our hens being broody. We’ll see!

    • I’ll cross my fingers over your broodies…one of the reasons I’ve gone back to Rhode Island Reds is because I’d like to hatch our own eggs in future. I need a rooster for that, but I’ve got some time. It’s funny about broody hens, they can sit for days and days and then give up just a few days before a potential hatch. It’s those teeny tiny brains of their…

  6. PetKid says:

    Those chicks sound so sweet! I can’t believe that we both have baby chicks right now. Yours, you ordered, and ours hatched from our own hens! Good luck with the chicks! PS We have six hens and three roosters, so expect with every two hens you could have one rooster like us 🙂

  7. Thanks! I think all baby chicks are pretty cute. These ones are now a couple of weeks old, and growing some interesting wing feathers, so less cute and fluffy. The thing about ordering chicks from the hatchery is that I can order them sexed or unsexed. Sexed means I can choose all roosters or all pullets (why would someone choose all roosters?). If you order unsexed, you get them cheaper, because you’re taking your chances on how many will be egg layers, which as you point out is about a 50% chance. I chose sexed – and went with pullets. Looking at my chicks today, my daughter and I think we have maybe 2 roosters in the making.

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