New baby chicks are a sure sign of spring, and I could not resist buying a short dozen of these little beauties. None of our animal menagerie “produce” anything, but the plan for these chicks is to have some farm fresh eggs a few months from now. Our experiment raising guinea fowl has been riotous fun and an educational experience, however we do not attempt to eat them or their eggs, when we can find them. Any serious country person needs to raise a few animals for eh, er . . . Consumption. My grandmother would get 100 baby chicks each spring and kept our chicken hotel full of laying hens which produced such a volume of eggs that she sold them by the crate full. I’m not sure I am going to follow in her footsteps, but I couldn’t see any harm in putting my toe in the water for the sake of a few fresh eggs. Besides, 20 guinea fowl hardly make a dent in the newly refurbished chicken hotel.
I did not do any research, but simply picked the chicks by their color and characteristics. I ended up with a real mixed bag: Black Australorp (English); Barred Rock; Blue Laced Red Wyandotte (American); Silver Laced Wyandotte (American); Red Star Sex Link; and White Crested Black Polish (Continental). The clerk at the local ranch supply where I bought the chicks steered me to the cage of “pullets” which are supposed to be female and steered me away from “straight run” which means both sexes??? Much as I would love having a rooster around, my idea of fresh eggs for the kitchen does not include fertilized eggs. If I end up with a rooster in my little clutch of chickies, that will pose a problem. Once bonded with a pet, it is impossible to eat it. (Just ask Feed Lot, our yearling steer!)
We prepared a couple dozen pickled beet eggs for Easter dinner tomorrow, and next year with any luck we will be pickling eggs from our little chickens. Can’t wait.