We Have New Baby Chicks!

As of last Tuesday, we are proud parents to 5 new baby chicks! We are thrilled to have new life brought back to our family again. Its been 3 years since we last raised baby chicks. Hearing their little cheeps from across the room is music to my ears.

This time around we wanted to raise the breed Ameraucana, commonly known as "The Easter Egg" chicken. It has to do with a gene they carry that causes them to lay blue and sometimes green colored eggs. They also can lay eggs that are pinkish brown at times. The breed is known for egg laying abilities and should produce about 3 eggs per chicken per week. Not quite as productive as our Production Reds or Barred Rocks, but good enough enough for us.

Four Ameraucanas and One Yokohama

Do you see the little yellowish white chick about? We ended up choosing her because we could only get 4 of the Ameraucanas. She looked really cute and was our tribute to Japan this year. She is a Yokohama breed of chicken. We didn't do our homework on her and just picked her up for being so interesting.  After we got home and looked her up, well... lets just say she's going to be a good pet. One small egg per week is what she's going to give us. I hope she likes being petted and carried around because she has to be our show bird now.

Raising baby chicks has its challenges. We have to keep them really warm and under a light until their feathers come in. They are already filling in on their wings so we are a bit ahead of the game. Normally they will be filled ready to start taking trips outside for short periods when they are about 3 weeks old. When they get close to 6 weeks old we will be able to introduce them to the coop. That's a day I will be nervous about. Hens have a pecking order and the little ones have to learn where they stand. Good times ahead and lots of pecking.

Until then, we are ready for what we have to deal with now. Starting chicks on medicated starter crumbles is important. This food had medication to prevent coccidiosis in chicks. It basically is a parasite that causes the chicks to stop eating, dehydrate, have diarrhea until death occurs. Having come from a hatchery I want to make sure this is stopped before it starts. The only other thing I need to watch for is "pasting up" now.

Here is a quote from About.com Small Farm Section

"Pasting up" is a condition where feces builds up on the chicks' vents, blocking exit of more feces. This can kill young chicks. Causes include stress from shipping and getting chilled. Check your birds' rear ends every day for pasting up and use a warm wet cloth to remove the feces. If really bad, you might need to cut the downy feathers around the vent off with scissors. If you have children, be careful of overhandling. If chicks are pasting up, make the kids leave them alone until the problem is gone. Pasting up chicks are stressed chicks. Curious dogs are also a risk to baby chicks. Put a screen door or other cover over the brooder to keep the chicks safe."

---Sounds fun, huh? "Vents" are the part where eggs come out eventually. To help with the pasting up I've had to mix pulverized oatmeal in my chick starter feed in the past. Its really hard to stop once it gets started.

Raising chickens can be so much fun and really rewarding. You just have to take the good with the bad like with any animal. Once we get them raised to a certain point, they are really low maintenance thereafter. Egg production should start when they reach 24 weeks. It looks like November is our target date for the start of egg production!


  1. Our previous neighbors had chickens -- Portland allows residents to keep chickens even within city limits -- and I've wondered about what goes into their care.

    Thanks for posting this inside view of your process, and please continue to update your blog about the chicks' progress!

  2. We kept chickens years ago when we lived in rural Northwest Arkansas. We've lived in a small city in upstate NY for some 25 years now but my husband still dreams of having chickens again. I'll be following with interest. Never had Americanas but they do lay fascinating eggs, don't they. We used to be able to buy the eggs in our local farmers market but haven't seen them for a while. Good luck in the Blogathon!

  3. @Jennifer - Thanks. I am more than happy to keep everyone informed about my chicks. Also, if you are interested there are previous posts tagged about raising my other batch of chickens. I've learned a lot since then and hopefully can help others.

  4. @bookworm - Thanks! You too. - I love raising chickens. If I had to choose a farm animal, it would be my first. They provide so much help and lay eggs too. I love their personalities and how curious they are.

  5. So adorable! I would love to keep chickens at home, but sadly we don't have the space, and there are too many foxes around - such a pity - I'd be so excited to have these little guys come stay! :D


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