I crept into our kitchen this morning to greet our five little Easter gifts: baby chicks!

I know, I know. I already have my three urban chickens clucking away outside in my coop. The plan with these new additions is to raise them until they are old enough to move outside, and then adopt them out to a good urban chicken home.

I get “chick fever” every Spring. It’s really hard to resist these cute little fuzzy guys at the feed store. They look adorable, their little baby “peeps” are adorable, the way they fall asleep immediately and crash into their food is adorable… it just pains me not to bring any home. In my opinion, the little ducklings actually win the blue ribbon on cuteness. They haven’t grown into their little rubber feet and beaks. They are still easier to resist because I am not setup to raise ducks at home.

A week ago a friend of a friend interested in raising urban chickens came over to check out our coop setup and ask some questions. I was trying to encourage her to raise her flock from chicks, since you can train then to be a little more use to people that way. But planned vacations and such won’t allow for them to do that. I can understand that, but after she left I realized that conversation had just convinced ME to raise baby chicks…

My chickens came to me from Craig’s List. And it took me about 20 attempts to finally reply fast enough. I had replied to someone earlier five minutes after their posting, and still someone was already in line for the chickens before me! So I figured these loving guys won’t be hard to adopt out to a good home. I think there are quite a few people that want “egg layers” right away, and do not want to have to wait 4-5 months.

We drove all the way out to Gresham to visit Coastal, which is a huge feed store. They always have the best selection of chickens. Unfortunately, this year they had a mix up with the hatchery and they are getting several breeds as “straight run” only. That means the chickens have not been sexed. When they are sexed, they are called “pullets”, but even then we still have about a 25% chance of a pullet turning into a rooster. So normally, with “pullets” you are encouraged to get four if you want three hens. Chances are one will be a boy and need to find a new home.

With this development, it made choosing breeds more challenging. I ended up with a Rhode Island Red (pullet), Barred Plymouth Rock (pullet), Light Brahma (pullet), and two Araucanas (straight run). I bought two of those last ones because I have a 50/50 chance on their gender. I really wanted to include them though because of the fun egg color. I am trying to think of the most “adoptable” combination, so color of eggs, color of chickens, tameness, consistency of laying, etc. all factor in. So I thinking one Araucana will need a new home, and chances are one of the four remaining will need a new home.

I had a rough time last year with a chick that didn’t make it. It was very traumatic. The chicks are all about five days old and this morning everyone looked very alert and active. Jay said Mabel never looked that healthy from the minute we got her – I probably missed that since I was just so excited to have her. But these girls all seem to be eating, drinking and grooming which is a good sign. This should be a fun topic to update you all on this Spring as they grow and learn!

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