|16 Black Australorp chicks|
My baby chicks are here! I picked them up early Friday morning at the post office. Their arrival was meant to coincide with the 21 day mark for a broody hen. Alas, she abandoned her post after about two weeks, but the chicks were on their way nonetheless.
This is the first time I've hand raised chicks since our very first batch. Since then we've both allowed our hens to hatch some of their own eggs, and also grafted baby chicks onto them. We've done that because we simply haven't settled on a breed. I would like to keep a flock of purebred heritage breed chickens, but finding the ones we like best has been a bit of a challenge.
Right now the chicks are residing under a heat lamp in the pantry. Without a mama hen to run interference it will be challenging to introduce them to our adult birds. Chickens are rather ruthless when it comes to establishing the pecking order. My hens are all older birds so it may be time to retire most or all of them. Perhaps I should stock up on eggs and do just that.