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happy birthday chicks

a bag of chick starter feed on our porch

a sign of the times

That's the sight on our side porch yesterday, and you know what it means: more chickens on the way! According to the schedule, four of the many chicks that'll be born today at the hatchery are destined to arrive at our house tomorrow. This will be our third time raising chicks; the first time is well covered in these pages, the second not as much. It may be that this time we're a little more ready for the excitement—what with not having an infant in the house and all—and we'll be able to make a little more of it than we did two years ago. We'll see!

Right now we have five hens: two barred rocks from the original four, and a Blue Orpington, Partridge Rock, and Gold-laced Wyandotte from the 2014 class. Coming this week—if all goes well—will be an Australorp, a Buff Orpington, a Welsummer, and a Silver-laced Wyandotte. I'm looking forward to meeting them!

Of course, while we're excited we're also totally pros at this by now and, beyond buying the feed pictured above, haven't done anything in the way of preparation. We assume the brooder setup is still down there in the basement ready to use; I know we have lots of shavings in the shed; the heat lamp bulb may or may not work but we can always track down another one if needed.

That last is especially true because chicken-raising has officially gone mainstream here in Bedford: on our most recent trip to the hardware store a couple weeks ago the boys and I noticed that they're now stocking chicken feed (in bags half the size and twice the price as we get at the feed store out in the country, as befits the artisinal suburban hens it's destined for). We didn't see any chick feed, but I'm sure they have heat lamps. And if not we can always hit up the feed store, and while we're there pick up some more scratch for the big hens. The little guys will be cute, but we won't forget our old friends: they're the ones giving us eggs right now!

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