We have some new arrivals on the homestead.
We got 9 chicks from Flat Branch Farm. A friend, in addition to making goat’s milk skin care products, gets chicks every year and has extras to sell. I also picked up a few bars of soap: Sugar & Spice and Milk & Mud. I tried the Milk & Mud (loved it!) and am excited to try the clean and fresh smelling Sugar & Spice next.
The 9 chicks we bought are Red Stars, a cross between a Rhode Island Red and a Rhode Island White. They are selectively bred to be good layers. They lay brown eggs just like our girls, and are very similar in appearance.
In temperament they are gentle, calm, friendly and good around people–as long as you don’t try to cuddle them too much.
When all grown up, they will look much the same as our current flock, but will have white speckles throughout the dark red feathers.
They are explorers and are easily bored, so we’ll have to have provide ping pong balls, mirrors and other distractions to keep them from pecking at each other.
We will also have to be careful when introducing them to Mabel and the other Rhode Island Red gals. The new kids, suspicious of outsiders, are prone to bullying unfamiliar birds.
They eat a hefty amount of feed, so our food bill will go up slightly. However, in the summer we will be able to cut costs by moving their pen every few days, so they’ll have fresh bugs and grass to forage.
When they are in the “adolescent” stage we’ll have them prepping our garden beds. Mabel and her hens have the kitchen garden ready for planting, so we’ll use these high-energy youngsters in the back gardens.
We have them in a giant tote right now and we’ve covered it with chicken wire to keep the boys out. If we don’t, Jake might smother them with love. He’s fascinated with them and cried when we took the tote downstairs. Now, he asks about them constantly.
Even with chicken wire, we don’t want to put them in the garage until they get a little bit bigger. It’s too cold right now and, to Boots and Echo, they are fluffy yellow mice to be hunted.
We had a few more new arrivals sprout over the weekend. It was exciting to come home and find the cabbage peeking up through the soil. I’ll be starting another round of peppers and the first round of tomatoes this week.
Cabbage has sprouted
Peeking up through the damp soil
Peppers to follow