Welcome to the (Hen) House!

When I was about 10, my mom and I went on a whim to a pet store.  Already, I’m sure you can guess this was a truly terrible idea.  We walked out with Mitzi, a 4 month old dachshund who had been living in the 2’ x 2’ box for a month.  She was needy, adorable, and totally batshit crazy.  I’ll never forget my mom calling my dad on the way home, saying, “I just did a really, really, really, really, really bad thing.”

Mitzi the dachsund

(Photo curtesy of my mom, Terry Berenson, San Diego animal photographer extraordinaire!)

That line has become a joke in our family, although I never expected to use it myself – this time, for coming home with seven small chicks. 

chicks

In all fairness, we knew we were going to get chicks, and had been planning on it for years. However, we also planned to wait on adding any new animals to the “flock” until baby van der Hoorn is born in oh, 5 weeks.  But, one look at these speckled sussex chicks, and we couldn’t resist picking up 6.  Plus the one extra unknown breed, named Rando Calchickian, because, hey, she would have been left all alone without them!

chick

Unfortunately, one of our chicks failed to thrive and died after 3 days.  It was heartbreaking, especially because there was nothing we could do – we tried sugar water and all the usual treatments, but unfortunately chicks just aren’t as hearty as other young animals, particularly before they’re feathered. 

chick

However, the remaining six seem to be as hearty as can be.  They are ridiculously silly, adorable, and fairly loud. I do look forward to having our bathroom no longer smell of pine shavings (covering the paper towel you see in the photo above), but for now, it’s quite fun to go hang out with the girls on the edge of the tub.

As we learn more, I’ll post more about the process. However, if you have the chicken itch, I couldn’t recommend Harvey Ussery’s book, The Small Scale Poultry Flock, more.  I’ve read parts of it over and over, and it really tells you everything you could possibly want to do with chicks, chickens, and other fowl.

Have a great weekend!

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