Well, I am a new mother - mother hen - that is. We brought home 8 (yes, you read that right) cute little chicks last Friday. And in about 5 months we will be rewarded with beautiful golden globes.
The chicks will go outside at about 6 weeks old, when they are fully feathered. They are two weeks old and for now they are in our storage barn. If you are familiar with chicken breeds, you may be interested to know which ones we got. There are: two Black Stars (or Black Sex Links - they are called this because after they hatch, they can be sexed by their color. The males are a different color than the females); two Rhode Island Reds; two Golden Laced Wyandottes; one Black Australorp; and one Barred Rock. Their coloring will look completely different when they are full grown.
We decided to get chickens to keep in the backyard partly because our vegetable garden area has become completely overgrown with field bindweed. It is impossible to get rid of without toxic herbicides. Since we went organic about five years ago, we didn't want to spray the area. And since we have talked about getting backyard chickens for several years (and indeed did have some years ago and loved it), the weeds were all the excuse we needed. The chickens will clean up the weeds for us and give us eggs to boot. Can't beat a deal like that!
Meantime, we re-designated our lawn to be a vegetable garden. We never use the lawn area for anything anyway. So we're on our way. Our veggies are in the ground, we have a chicken coop built (our son, Jeff, and son-in-law, Curtis, built it for us), we have our chickens and soon enough we will be eating delicious pastured eggs (from weed-fed chickens). If that isn't enough, we will have wonderful rich fertilizer from the chickens and the chicken run (our former vegetable garden) will be weed and pest free!
Here are a couple of pics of the babies: