I don’t know if it’s because the Columbia Wyandottes were free, or because I had talked about it long enough but I left the Heirloom Livestock show at Garfield Farm with 8 chicks, the six Wyandottes and two Auburn Java’s.I understand that this may seem impulsive, but I have really been thinking this over for years, and there are witnesses to that effect.

New babies

These chicks are some of those hatched by kindergartners statewide and shipped to the Museum of Science and Industry for their chicken exhibit. The guy from the museum had literally hundreds of chicks stacked in boxes looking for new homes.

They’re too young to tell if they’re roosters or hens yet, but the Museum guy noticed that some of the Wyandottes had a bump on the beak and some did not, so he speculated that the bump-beaks were roosters. We picked out no-bumpers hoping for more hens than roosters, but we’ll see. The Auburn’s were among the most beautiful chickens we saw at the show, and I can hardly wait for them to feather out. Internet search reveals that the roosters of this breed are non-aggressive, and they are truly gorgeous. The hens are equally stunning. The Columbia Wyandottes of both sexes look alike, and are striking black and white birds.

As luck would have it, at the end of Garfield Road is Johnson’s Feed and Country Store, which is now my new favorite store. Very atmospheric place. For $15 I got two waterers and a feeder and 10 pounds of chick starter feed. I forgot to ask how old these chicks are, but they’re supposed to be on this chick feed for three months. The Museum guy told me that within 4 months I will know if chicken raising is for me, or if these birds are now oven-ready. My town allows chicken raising for 4 months out of the year as long as it’s for an educational purpose, which it is for me, so I think that counts.

So tomorrow, I go to Home Depot for hardware cloth to enclose the wooden “big toys” out back for their habitat. Right now, they’re in Rosie’s old kennel in the front porch, which really gets too hot in the afternoon for safety.

My sister had joked on Facebook that I could probably hide a cow in my yard, and I actually saw a miniature Hereford cow at the farm who could be quite comfortable in my yard. There were adorable Red Wattle piglets there, too, but pigs didn’t seem the right fit – for now. A book on heirloom pigs revealed that there are Hereford pigs, too, and it got me to thinking about color coordinating a little farmette, like Frank Lloyd Wright did at his farm in Wisconsin with his red cattle to match his house. How ridiculous, right? But it’s amusing to think about.

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One Response to Cheap,cheap,cheap!

  1. Bill Martin says:

    Paula… I had to laugh at your “oven ready” comment.. Best wishes on your free range(?) chicken project.

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