Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Chickies from Altoona!

It is with much regret that I must announce some rather recent carnage on the Britton farm. Saturday evening, after a day of celebrating Kyla's 2nd birthday with the fam, we returned home to four frightened little chickies. The other two, sadly, were obviously Bear's entertainment for the evening. I feel terrible even having to say this as it somehow seems to reflect a measure if irresponsibility in both my husband and myself. Strangely enough though, Bear's assault was not the result of a couple stray chickens wandering the yard, nor was it the result of the hen house door being left open. No, Bear's brutal attack was the result of his physically tearing through the chicken wire. . . with his bare teeth and paws. . . Needless to say, Bear's temporary lapse of sanity has left him totally lacking for any attention from me. . . After a day in his crate, and another of my ignoring him altogether, we've made peace (sort of . . .aside from when he goes anywhere near the chicken coop. . .). The chicken coop is now surrounded by an electric wire that will send a little *reminder* current through Bear anytime he should attempt to play with my chickens again.

Despite our sorrow over the brutal dealths of Henrietta and Sissy, we realized the time to get any more chickens for our flock was now. Part of the reason for our haste in acquiring more chickens was the fact that they don't mix well with other chickens of different ages. Once they're about three months old, they're pretty set in their ways and in their friendships (think: *us four and no more!*). Left with only four, and having previously discussed getting a couple more, we decided to get four more for a grand total of eight chickies.

Thus began my journey towards finding four more six week old hens. I called various listings on the Ocala 4 Sale website, but was unable to find any chickens meeting our specifications. Finally I noticed a more prominent add stating: many young breeds of young pullets for sale (somehow, I've trained my eyes to overlook the obvious ads in favor of straining to find the more miniscule ones; thus my actually noticing the big ad was pretty commendable for me.). I called the number listed, and sure enough, they had six week old girl chickens for sale - all different varieties.

Immediately after speaking with Jay on the phone at Cunard's Corner Poultry Farm , I loaded Kyla and a large plastic bin (to bring the new chickies home in) into the van for a trip to Altoona to see what we could find at this place. Let me just tell you, these folks had it all! When we arrived, we were greeted by a humungo Turkey who followed us around sharing his company with us as we checked out different chickens of varying sizes, ages, and breeds. There were also a couple of peacocks, scads of ducks, bunches of cute and fancy chickens, and a couple of very talkative and proud roosters. Jay and his wife Danielle (hey!) were very knowledgeable about their chickens, and you could tell they took great delight in raising them, learning about them, and loving them. We ended up selecting a couple of gorgeous little white cochins, one brown cochin, and one little leghorn.

With a couple of tips on integrating them into the flock we already had, the transition went beautifully. There is of course a pecking order (literally) wherein the chickens determine who is the *alpah chicken* and so on, but there've been no big spars or disturbances. Our original girls are doing quite well with their new friends, and the new little girls seem to be quite happy in their new home.

A HUGE thanks to Cunard's Corner Poultry Farm in Altoona for making it possible to add a few more chickens to our flock, and for so kindly sharing with us newbies the knowledge you've gained over the years in the poultry business.


Anonymous said...

So sad that the doggie go to the chicks! How did you explain that to the kids?

Danielle said...

Emm. Well, Jim very gently broke the news to little Jimmy after we'd gotten some new chicks. Oddly though, little Jimmy wasn't too grief stricken. His response: "Oh great! So now we've got 8 instead of just 6?!". And Kyla, well she's still too young to notice we're missing two of our old hens. ;) What's that song? - 'It's a gift to be simple'. ;)