But that's not the peeping that I'm actually going to write about today. I'm talking about the peeping of baby chicks. I'd promised myself, adamantly, that I would not hatch any eggs this year because I have enough chickens and I really don't need any more. I love incubating eggs and watching the hatching process, but at 16 hens, I have plenty of eggs to spare. So, when I went to the feed store this week, I was amused, but firm with myself about the pens of peeping chicks. The feed store here is nothing like the ones I used to frequent in Iowa. There, I could choose from a wide variety of interesting breeds in a rainbow of colours. Here, by contrast, there are 3 kinds of chicks available. There are broilers (meat birds), white egg layers, and brown egg layers. They don't even know the breed of the layers - they're just "commercial" I was told. Ho hum. So, this didn't really tempt me. I said to the feed store guy that I would only be tempted by special breeds, like silkies. "Oh," he said, "I have some silkie chicks over there." Dang-gummit!
In Iowa, I was able to order hatching eggs online from all kinds of small and large flock owners, giving me access to a veritable encyclopedia of breeds. In addition, there are a wide range of hatcheries specializing in unusual breeds of chickens, including the rare breeds in need of conservation, which were of great interest to me. Here in Canada, it's practically a chicken wasteland. There are very few hatcheries and the existing ones don't have many breeds. Even crazier - the one special breed actually developed in Canada, the Chantecler, is easier to find in the USA than in Canada. There are a lot of miserable government regulations associated with chickens here in Canada that make it difficult for small farms to prosper, which may be part of the problem, but it sure doesn't help with breed conservancy and it's difficult for those of us who want to do our part but can't even find a source of birds in the area.
So, I am now the happy owner of 2 little buff silkie chicks and one black silkie chick. Of course, this will mean that names must be chosen soon. Here's the little black one.
I hope I've got at least one hen - these chicks were "straight run" (meaning unsexed) so I don't know what I've got, but I did a top secret test and I tried to pick ones that supposedly show female tendencies.
Just look at those fabulously feathered feet!
I added one solitary "breedless" brown layer chick, just to see what it turned out to look like and whether I could figure out the mystery of the breed.
She's really quite cute.
There are so many commercial brown layers - ISA browns, golden comets, cinnamon queens, and many others. It's disappointing that there just isn't the interest here in breed specifics.
So, I succumbed to the silkie temptation, but I'm still not hatching any chicks this year!