Sunday, April 3, 2011


It's finally starting to feel like Spring around here and we have so much going on. After months of planning & anticipation, our baby chicks have arrived! We decided to enter into the adventure of chicken-keeping with an awesome couple who are also starting their backyard flock this year. This gives us two more brains for sharing ideas & concerns, four additional hands to help build the coop, and also provides a sense of community for the whole endeavor.

The chicks have arrived!
The brooder box was amazingly simple to build out of things we already had around the house. We just used a plastic file box and lined the bottom with paper towels. We had some modular wire cubes from another project, so we drilled holes around the top of the bin and secured a panel to one side with cable ties. On the other side, we attached a second panel to the first, creating a hinged lid to open & close as needed. We just use a clamp to hold it in place when closed (mostly to keep the curious cat out). Add a red 100 watt infrared light and a thermometer, and we're ready for the chicks!

Plastic tote brooder box
All set up on a table in our home office

We split an order for day-old baby chicks from a reputable online hatchery and received 8 total - a flock of 4 for each of us. In retrospect, I don't think we would mail order chicks again - especially now that we've found some local sources. For me, the issue is more with the shipping process than the hatchery. Certainly, chicks are shipped all the time and can handle it, but I'd rather not see them put through the stress if there is a local option available. 

Additionally, of the 8 we ordered, one of them unfortunately didn't make it. Sadly, it was our Buff Orpington. For me, this was a very early lesson to not get too attached to them since losing chickens, whether as babies or adults, seems all too common. There have been several existential conversations between the four of us with regard to pet vs. livestock, "egg layer" vs. "egg-laying family member", and the foreboding question of what happens when they stop laying. I'm aiming for something between pet and provider because, let's face it, I'm never going to see them as livestock. As a child, I screamed with delight every time we passed cows on the highway and even once tried to hug one (the cow was not amused). I also kissed a llama at the zoo when I was 5, or rather it kissed me, and I've adored them ever since. And don't even get me started on the goats at Grant's Farm...
Call me Snow White.
Our hope is that we can provide a happy, well-balanced chicken life for them in which they have joy, freedom, and respect - and in return we have entertaining companions, awesome garden pest control, and beautiful, delicious eggs without having to worry about what food recall is currently going on.

We had been kicking ourselves a bit for not starting with a flock of 6, so we took the opportunity while our chicks were still young to add 3 more from a local hatchery. They have all settled in together really nicely and are pure joy to watch. :)

Here is our current flock!

Sesame, Barred Plymouth Rock (6 days)
Saffron, Rhode Island Red (6 days)
Masala, Easter Egger (6 days)
Anise, Black Star (3 days)
Curry, Buff Orpington (3 days)
Tamarind, New Hampshire Red (3 days)


  1. Love the chickies and you and the man are making fine fluffy butt parents! Can't wait to see the coop in action!

  2. thanks holly! they are growing so fast! can't wait to meet your girls as well. let us know if you ever need chicken-sitting services. :)

  3. Hi Angela!
    Found your blog so now I'll be keeping tabs on your progress! Can't wait to get our chicks too! We are getting Barred Rocks and EE too!

  4. great to connect with you, crystal! when do your chicks arrive? we are hoping to start the coop the weekend of the 23rd (weather & other projects permitting). i can't wait!