The day before yesterday we brought home five Buff Orpington chicks and three Rhode Island Reds. Originally I wanted pullets (adolescent chickens) so that I wouldn’t have to wait so long for the chicks to start laying eggs, but to have them shipped from a hatchery as pullets is prohibitively expensive.
So we decided to buy chicks locally.
I was surprised that all of the local feed stores had already sold out of chicks, and by the end of May they tell me that demand drops off so they don’t reorder.
If You’re Going To Buy Buff Orpington Chicks,
Get Them Way Before The End Of May
We found a local feed store that was still placing special orders. Apparently, the chicks get sent up from Mexico. So, I’ve got Mexican chickens.
It was difficult to find the Buff Orpingtons; Much easier to find the Rhode Island Reds. We chose the Buff Orpington breed because they are supposed to be the “Golden Retrievers” of the chicken world: Easy going, good natured and passive. We ordered eight, but of course the feed store screwed up our order (or the hatchery did, I’m not completely sure!) and when we went to pick them up, there were only five Orpingtons so they gave us three Rhode Island Reds.
Eight chicks in total. Probably seven by tomorrow morning as one of them seems to be constipated and have a prolapse so I doubt she’ll make it another couple of days.
- The plus side of having two day old chicks is that you get to watch them grow and as a first time chicken owner get comfortable handling the birds.
- The negative side to raising two day old chicks is that it will be approximately five months before they start laying eggs… so, October. That’s a long time to wait.
Where To Keep Buff Orpington and Rhode Island Red Chicks
I’ve got the chicks in a 2 1/2 foot by 3 foot rubber stock tank with a 2×4 board across it that I clamped a heat lamp to. For bedding, I’m using pine shavings. (Apparently the fumes from cedar shavings will kill them… so stay away from cedar!)
A great resource for raising chickens is the Backyard Chickens web site, where you can find pretty much anything you need to know about chickens. I also bought about half a dozen e-book on raising chickens because I’m an info-whore. MyPetChicken.com also seems to have quite a bit of useful information, even though I’m not raising these as pets… I’m raising them as a hedge against a SHTF scenario.