I am happy to announce that I have just put in my order for baby chicks! I am expecting delivery on June 3. Ha! "Delivery" sounds like I'm expecting a baby. Well, I guess I am! Sixteen of them! NOW the pressure is on for me to get the coop & run built.
People have been asking me how I know if I'm getting girls or boys. You can buy "straight run" chicks, which mean they could be either hens or roosters, or you can spend more and makes sure that they've been "sexed." A sexed chick has been examined by experts using a process called "vent sexing" and the sex has been determined. You are probably wondering how they do that. In fact it is a very arcane and esoteric scientific procedure that is performed by the few individuals who are experts in that field. Basically, they pick them up and look at their butts. Yeah, I know. Tiny and fluffy. How do you tell the difference? These guys are just really, really good. They guarantee an accuracy rate of 90%.
I am getting my chicks from a company called My Pet Chicken, who has more breeds of chickens than you can even imagine exist. They cater to small flock owners, and they ship through the mail. Shipping baby chicks through the mail works because they are baby chicks. When baby mammals are born they immediately need their mother's milk for nutrition. That is not an option for baby birds, nor is it necessary. While a baby bird is developing in an egg, the egg yolk provides nutrition. The baby bird absorbs the last bit of yolk just before it hatches, and that yolk can sustain the baby for several days without any additional nutrition. That is important in wild birds since the babies can hatch out over a period of days. The mother bird can't leave the nest and find food for her babies until the last bird hatches, so in the mean time the first birds to hatch are sustained by the nutrition provided by the yolk. So baby chicks can survive on residual yolk nutrients for several days while going through the mail. This is a very cool trick Mother Nature has developed, and very fortunate for those of us who would like to have somewhat unusual breeds of chickens that may not be available locally.
Barred Plymouth Rocks
Rhode Island Reds
Easter Eggers (not a true breed, but a crossbreed that includes Americauna's - a breed that produces blue eggs!)
Assuming they all make it to hen-hood & they average 4-5 eggs a week, doing the math that would be...carry the one....one heck of a lot of eggs! At the very least I can be assured a very hefty omelet every day!