Raising Babies on the Farm

There are some new babies on the FroBuzz ranch… baby chickens! Now raise your hand if you thought I was preggo. Shame on you if your hand is in the air; tsk tsk. This uterus is uninhabited by any croissants, buns or mini-ninjas.

Holding a baby Barred Rock chick
I’m calling this one Stella; but since they all look the same I’ll probably call them all Stella. I might name one or two Rupert just because I like that name.
Anyhow, The Ninja and I are jumping into food production on a smaller scale. We’d love to have cattle but right now it’s just not feasible since we have very little land and what we do rent is under the reign of the roping ponies.
So earlier this week, we welcomed 10 baby Barred Rock hen chicks to the ranchero. We are excited to raise them and I have every intention of giving weekly updates on their growth and also provide info about what they eat, how we care for them and basic information about raising your own chickens.
Barred rock chicks - a few days old huddled together under heat lamp
Aren’t my baby Barred Rocks cute?
There were several reasons why we chose Barred Rock chickens:
– They are good layers and tend to live long lives.
– Once they reach egg laying maturity at approximately 5-6 months of age, they will lay year-round (although decreased production in the winter).
– Cold hardy breed; which is great because it’s been cold and rainy this week!
– A multi-purpose breed, they are also good for meat. Fried chicken here we come!
Our chicks are less than a week old and even though I didn’t watch them hatch, I know this because they still have their egg tooth. What’s that you ask?
Barred Rock chicks with an intact egg tooth.
See that little protrusion on the top of their beaks?
The egg tooth helps the chick break the air sac while they’re in the egg and also assists in hatching. It falls off when the chicks are a few days old because it’s no longer needed. A few of our babies don’t have their egg tooth anymore, they’re the big sisters.
 As you can see in the pictures we put down pine shavings in an enclosed shelter with a light and heat source. Chicks need to be 90+ degrees F for the first few weeks of their life so we hung the heat lamp low and made sure there were plenty of shavings for warmth.
Barred Rock chicks huddle under a heat lamp and bed down in shavings
The heat lamp and shavings will keep our baby
Barred Rocks warm in the unpredictable Kansas weather.
You can also see a feed pan filled with starter diet and a waterer. Anyone know why the base of the waterer is red? That’s because chickens are attracted to red. Some producers will cover up injuries or bleeding cuts on chickens with Blu-Kote to keep their contemporaries from pecking at the cut.
What chicken questions do you have? I’m so excited about our new venture!
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~


3 responses to “Raising Babies on the Farm”

  1. I love this. Even though chickens scare me, I love baby chicks and I love how cute you and Hyatt are with your little chicken and pony and soon-to-be-puppy family.

  2. I am jealous of your chickens. Like really really jealous. I wanted to get some this spring, but alas, we still live in a townhome. Enjoy them! We used to raise 50 or so chickens every summer for meat & I love fresh eggs!

  3. I'm looking forward to them being ready to eat/lay! But it takes 5 months – arrrgh!

    You can bet my neighbors and I will be enjoying fresh eggs (although I am not really sure that I can taste the difference).