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Nuggets Arrive

I got a call from the post office this morning saying they had a package of live chicks just in! I could hear them peeping over the phone. Poor babies hatch out and get put in a box and directly into the mail....same day....i kid you not. Sounds crazy but all chicks have enough yolk sac left in their bellies that they don't need food or water for 3 days. So the window of opportunity is small but it works.

I told you in the first post that I was going with Cornish Cross, but I changed my mind. Instead, I decided to go with more of a heritage breed that doesn't grow out as soon as the CC but still can be butchered in 12 weeks, and I'm planning to butcher them small.

chicks in mailer box

I bought 10 Red Rangers, which are a basic red bird that is a good forager as well. I also bought 15 of something sold as "All Heavies", which are just standard heavy chickens like Marans or Welsummers which tend to be dual-purpose birds. I chose all males as well since they grow out faster. Then if you look closely at the picture there is a teeny, tiny golden brown chick with black stripes. Well, hatcheries will often throw in an extra, specialty bird for free, like seed companies do with that free seed packet we all get. Thing is, I cant flip it over and read on the back what it is! So I guess I have to see what it grows into. I can tell you it is a bantam of some kind, so it'll grow up to be a miniature bird... not something I will want to eat. So I hope it turns out to be hen. Most breeds that have these markings at hatch will show the females tend to have darker markings and the males much lighter. In that regard it very well could be a hen. I do know one thing,....when raising chicks, it's Christmas everyday for a while because you just don't know who's who for 4-6 months. I love it!

I was planning to just brood them in the chickpen outside,

chick pen

but I didn't expect it to be so cool this week! So I have them in a big plastic box inside the henhouse under a heat lamp. They seem happy.

chicks in plastic bin

The plan as of today is to keep them here for a week or two or until I feel like they have enough feathers to regulate their body temperature. I get my feed for them at L&S Feed mill in Westville. Very nice people, friendly service and affordable. Once I turn these guys out, I will order more birds that I plan to sell this fall. More on that later.

That's all for now folks! I'll be back in a week or two with more goings on at the farm.

Jill Barlow


Future articles will include information about gardening, meat birds, egg birds, photos and lots of project ideas.

For further information, to ask a questions or to suggest a program topic, contact Jill Barlow at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..