No, this picture is not vintage. I passed these beauties on my way to pick up our new chicks on Monday. (See, I've done more than stalk my little robin friend this week, who, by the way, seems to be holding pat at four eggs. See here, here, here, and here.)
For all its faults, my little iphone camera is amazing. Do people remember the cameras we grew up with? I took this shot through the windshield of my car--while moving. I share it now, almost effortlessly, on the internet. I appreciate the simple pleasures in life. Truly. I also like my modern, user-friendly, fits-in-my-pocket, goes anywhere, digital technology, that allows me to photograph and share those simple pleasures with ease. Also, to blur the unsuspecting man's face to protect his privacy. (The rest of the blurs are from dirt on my windshield. ;) )
So, somewhat obviously, our new chicks are from a hatchery in Amish country. The nice lady out front spoke with an accent and double-checked our chick count in German. Four Buff Orpingtons, two Light Brahmas, and two Cuckoo Marans. Plus, they bonused us with an extra Orpington. That more than doubles our current flock!
Sadly, one of the Cuckoo Marans didn't survive the night. I was disappointed to lose one of the fancy dark egg layers. So, as though eight new birds aren't enough, I went back for a replacement.
As luck would have it, they had some extra just-hatched Blue Copper Marans available immediately. These are one of the rarer varieties and usually have to be ordered well in advance. Like, January-in-advance. I guess they had a better hatch rate than expected. We got two, one female and one male. I also picked up a black Jersey Giant, just because I've heard good things about them and sort of regretted not including one in my original order.
All the chicks are now nearing the end of their first week and are doing well. They're living in a dogcrate brooder in the barn. Our first batch of chicks, last spring, lived in a bathroom in the house. Yuck. Lesson learned. I swore I would never do that again.
The other change this year is the fancy brooder heater. I nearly barbequed the chickens alive last year when our traditional 250 watt heat lamp fell into the bedding of the coop one cold fall night. I couldn't figure out why the windows of the coop were so foggy when I went out to feed them in the morning... ;) After that particular lesson, I decided we would just have to see exactly how cold-hearty grown chickens are. Turns out, a lot hardier than me.
This chick heater is only 20 watts. It seems to work well. The chicks disappear under it, like they would a mama hen I guess, and come out to eat and drink. They are super quiet when they're all nestled together under the heater, so I am guessing they are content and comfortable. There is no extra heat to start a fire.
A few glamour shots.
Impossibly yellow Buff Orpingtons eating implausibly green gro-gel from the hatchery.
And, still in their carrying box, the Jersey Giant on the left and the two Blue Copper Marans.