Baby Chicks Are Thriving

I ordered two batches of day-old chicks:

8 broilers, 4 red and 4 black, arrived May 3rd, from our local look-alike Tractor Supply/Agway but homegrown independent farm and pet store.  These birds are destined for the dinner table, and are collectively named, “The Tasty Morsels”, so I don’t get any other ideas.  On May 3rd, they were a day old.  They don’t need to eat for 24-48 hours so they are shipped then.  Although the 48 hour may be pushing it.


On May 7th, they started to develop feathers on their wings, little teensy things!

baby chick, red broiler, raising chickens, homesteading

Red broiler chick. The chick’s feathers have down!

baby chick, homesteading, black broiler

Black broiler, also feathering. They have white chests.

10 laying hens (currently at pullet stage) and one cockerel, arrived May 8th, from My Pet Chicken.  Pullets become hens, cockerels become roosters.   The rooster of course will never lay, but the feller will help protect the hens, because he sees them as his harem.  I’ve already named him, The Sultan of Swing (bow to the band, Dire Straights…)  Sultan for short.  No, I don’t know which one he is.

As for these birds:   this is the day after they arrived here — I figured not to pester them the first day with photography.  They needed to settle in:

Laying chicks, homesteading, poultry

3 buff Orpingtons, 3 silver-laced Wyandottes, 1 golden-laced Wyandotte, 2 black Australorps, and 2 Buckeyes.

The first mistake:  getting birds, the red broilers, that will have to be slaughtered in 12-14 weeks.  That’s the heat of August.  I could possibly push this date until September — they’re better than Cornish Crosses or even Red Rangers as far as being able to live with health.  This was admittedly the only date the local store would bring in these birds, so I had no choice of dates being that I went through them to buy the chicks.

The broilers are also hybrids, which means if I want to breed my own birds down the road, these will not breed true.  I have no such goal this first year, anyway.  But I understand these guys (I didn’t know it when I ordered them) are, like the Cornish Cross, birds that have a lessened lifespan due to how they are bred.  It’s simply not nearly as bad as the Cornish Cross — your supermarket stuffer is there at around 6 weeks of age.  By that 3 month age, Cornish Cross will start developing broken leg bones trying to support those unnatural breasts.

Regards the coop below:  it will be a mirror image.  I want the windows facing east-southeast, with the coop end up towards my house, so I can run the electric more easily.   This will be for the layers, the broilers will be in a chicken tractor.  The layers will have a long and happy life, if I can keep the predators at bay (there will be electronet fencing to help.)

chicken coop

This will be, more or less, what the laying hen house will look like. The run will be two more feet long, and there will be an electronet fence around the perimeter. Yes to a metal and insulated roof. The laying boxes will have a roof painted to not make droppings stand out so much. As that’s a steep entry into the coop, I will be building stairs and attaching grab bars so I can easily enter. The coop interior is taller than I am, making cleanout easier. There will be an epoxy floor.  

If I make any other mistakes, I’ll keep y’all posted.  I’m sure there will be a learning curve, although I’ve been doing research all along.

At any rate, follow up pics of the layers, May 15th:

Silver-laced Wyandotte, chick, poultry, homesteading

They grow up to be quite attractive, and are that way right now, too.

A silver-tipped Wyandotte.  One of the three is male, won’t know which for awhile, which is fine, as neither will he.  One of these three is also very tiny, but seems to be thriving as well as the others.

Golden-laced Wyandotte, poultry, homesteading, chick

The red glow below is from a red heat lamp. The chicks require warmth.

The lone golden-tipped Wyandotte.  I think her name is Goldilocks.  

Black Australorpe, chick, poultry, homesteading

The black Australorpe has more white than I expected. This may change?

A black Australorpe.

Buff Orpington, chick, poultry, homesteading

A docile, good layer.

A buff Orpington.

Buckeye chick, poultry, homesteading

Buckeyes aren’t the best egg layers, according to the literature, but if everyone survives, I’m fine with a couple slower layers.

And, a buckeye.

And, for completion, we return to the broilers, just to demonstrate how they’ve grown!  They really know how to eat!

Red broiler, chick, poultry, homesteading

The wings are getting impressively feathered out. This feller’s feet are getting huge now, too, even if you can’t see them.

This post is now linked at Fiesta Friday, with this week’s co-host, Antonia @




About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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4 Responses to Baby Chicks Are Thriving

  1. TPWard says:

    One wonders if there are adult chicks, or only baby chicks.

  2. Antonia says:

    How interesting! I think you have your work cut out for you. Very rewarding though! Thank you for sharing at Fiesta Friday!

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