Confessions of a Chicken Hoarder: Part 2
By Susan Berry
Here we are back in our beloved North Carolina, and, as you remember when we made our return move from Massachusetts, I had to find a new home for my flock of 12 girls. They were adopted as a flock and added to a wonderful family flock of nine feathered sisters. They are settled in nicely, and their family sends me photos and notes of their adventures in their new home.
It was a sad and lonely time for me between December and March. No girls to care for and enjoy. Well, I couldn’t stand the silence any longer, so off I went, on a search for chicks. Having been so happy with the breeds I chose before, I decided to get the same breeds and also try a couple new ones.
In the tradition of Chicken Math, I started with six chicks in my first flock, 12 in my second and, this time around, decided on 24 but ended up with 28.
We have my favorite Buff Orphingtons along with Speckled Sussex, Black Australorps, Gold Wyandottes and Silver Wyandottes, and, for our new breeds, we got Welsummers, Ameraucanas, Dominiques, and a color I have wanted for a long time, Blue Wyandottes.
After building a brooder in a spare bedroom, we once again heard the delightful sound of “cheep-cheep-cheep.”
After five weeks at home, I experienced my first potential epidemic, coccidiosis. The morning I discovered blood in the brooder, it was too late for one of my Blue girls, she was very sick but with no signs at all the day before. I had no idea what was wrong or where all the blood came from. A friend quickly enlightened me and off I rushed to get antibiotics and medicated feed. Before I returned home, the Blue girl had passed away. Panic had set in, and I did all I could to get the others well. Two days later, I lost one of the Buff Orphingtons. After a day or two more, the others were improving slowly. Now the flock seems to be on the mend and hopefully I am able to protect them from this terrible illness.
The weeks passed quickly, and the chicks grew just as fast. The brooder in the bedroom was not going to hold the girls for long. We suddenly were offered a gently used shed for the cost of dismantling and moving. So my husband, Don, and a friend took the shed apart in sections and brought it home, reassembled, modified a bit and added coop options. With a new coop on the farm and the roosts and hardware cloth installed, the girls were ready to leave the nest.
They have taken to their new home slowly but are obviously enjoying the extra wing room and their temporary run, as I am not allowing them outside much due to inclement spring weather here in North Carolina.
I have many affectionate little ones and, for you who have followed my journey of being a chicken Mom, you will recall my sorrow after losing Baby, my special Buff Orphington. Well, it would appear I am being blessed with not only one affectionate girl but three … so far. And one of them happens to be a Buff Orphington. I have named her Snuggle Bug, because she loves to snuggle her head under my chin and then stay there cuddling with me.
Chickens are a delight and add so much joy and benefits to a farm and family. I can’t imagine a time in my future when I will not have a flock of my own, whether six or 66, I must have a chicken to hug.
Yes, I am addicted and a chicken hoarder. They have me wrapped around their little wings. Who couldn’t fall for a face like this?
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