Have you ever had those friends who post photographs of their babies constantly? They document their baby’s first bath, first food, first smile, and first runny nose. Every moment is precious and worth sharing with the world because, well, because every moment is precious, and there is something about new life that scrubs away some of this earth's dirt and darkness and makes us see the world as a brighter, shinier and happier place.
I like to see my friends' babies clogging up my Facebook or Instagram feed. Their pictures make me smile and remind me that there is such good and beauty in this world. I know that some people might get annoyed with the photo overload, but I don’t, really. And it’s a good thing, too, because I am now “that mom.”
No, we didn’t just welcome a new baby into our home. Last week we welcomed 18 new babies into our home (or, more specifically, into a plastic bin in our bathtub).
I had carefully studied the list of chicks that were going to be available. We are quite lucky because our local farm supply, Harrisonville Farm and Home Store in Harrisonville, Missouri, had a slew of chicks that arrived last week, and they have another round arriving this week. I can’t find the well-worn paper that I studied so prodigiously, but on Thursday, when we went to pick up our chicks, there were at least a dozen different types of chicks available, and that batch of chick varieties was completely different than the ones arriving the other days of the week. We chose to pick up our chicks on Thursday because they had the three varieties we wanted: Easter Eggers, Gold-Laced Wyandottes, and Polish Chickens. We already have some Easter Eggers and Gold-Laced Wyandottes. We got two Gold-Laced Wyandottes in the fall, and they are just so beautiful, but one of them died a few weeks ago, and I wanted to replace her (although one of her replacements is suspiciously already sporting a bit of a comb …).
We fell in love with Easter Eggers last year when we ended up with three: Audrey, Sybil and Fluffy. (We called them Ameraucanas all year, but I think they might be Easter Eggers – if anyone out there can tell from these pictures please let me know!)
Fluffy, who was a family favorite and the special favorite of my son, met with an untimely death when our Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd puppy, whom we had bought to protect our chickens after the horror of opening my front door one day to find a bobcat with a chicken in his mouth, had not yet learned that chickens were his to protect … not to play with.
We chose Polish chicks for pure amusement purposes.
It wasn’t until after I had eight of these little gals hopping around their brooder that I thought to look up their usefulness as backyard chickens.
Not so much, really.
First of all, they are easy prey to predators, because that cotton ball fluff on their heads will turn into a mop of feathers that flop around in their faces in such a way that they just won’t be able to see that well. Polish hens also lay small white eggs, just whenever they feel like it, and they are apparently prone to forgetting to go to bed in the coop at night or deciding to roost in trees instead.
So we basically have eight fairly useless baby chicks who have joined their more useful chicken sisters. But we’re OK with that. They will be awfully cute wandering around our yard. (And perhaps now might be a good time to introduce our children to 4-H.)
While my friends with new babies are posting their infant photographs, I am clogging my Facebook and Instagram feed with chick photos. Because, really, what is there not to love about these adorable little fluffy creatures?
We squeeze into the bathroom during reading time and introduce our chicks to great books:
We introduce them to the wonders of technology.
We snap photo after photo of them hopping around in their bin.
So far, no one has complained, no one has unfriended me, no one has unfollowed me.
At least, I don't think so anyway.
What about you: Do you have chicks kicking up dust in your bathroom/living room/garage/basement this spring? What are your favorite types of chickens? I’d love to know!