At The Coop

At The Coop

Monday, May 25, 2015

Flock This!

     I decided to retire the homemade incubator yesterday morning. It was a fun project, but the return is just not worth the energy I've been investing in it. The first batch of eggs was great...eight eggs in and six chicks out. Other attempts have not been so fruitful...twelve eggs in and two chicks out, and on the last time around, eight eggs in and only two chicks out. (One of those was born seemingly healthy, but started having seizures and died about 22 hours after hatching. It's parents were siblings, which I was told is okay, but there was obviously something wrong with it.) The remaining chick is a beautiful little platinum blonde. Chickens are flock animals, and we didn't want her (we're hoping it's a "her") to be lonesome.
     The last time we hatched and only got two, I went to the Davidson County Farmers' Co-op and bought three baby chicks. They usually have a limited selection...Buff Orpingtons and either Barred Rocks or Rhode Island Reds. We already had two adult RIRs and one adult Buff, so I picked up one Red and two Buffs. They have formed a nice little flock of their own.

     Chicks are a seasonal thing at the co-op, and they don't always have them on hand for a lonesome baby chick emergency such as ours, so I took to Craigslist in search of companionship (for the chicken. I already have all the companionship I could desire.) Saturday morning on a holiday weekend is apparently not the ideal time to attempt communications with chicken breeders, but I located some fellows outside of Murfreesboro (about an hour away) who said they had fresh hatchlings and would be happy to assist in my endeavors. I took a ride, which led me to this house...

   ...which looks quite a bit different with every kind of chicken you could imagine (and some you never dreamed of) running all over the yard. It turns out that the house used to belong to Grand Ol' Opry star Uncle Dave Macon "The Dixie Dewdrop", and is still the destination of many a wayfaring banjo player on a pilgrimage to the roots of country music.

           The guys at the house had several varieties of chicks that had been born within the week, and they said that I could have whatever I wanted for $5 apiece. I had stopped at the ATM, and had a $20 bill on me, so I figured I'd pick up four chicks and head home. Tom (I think that was his name) went in the house and came out with a box full of assorted chicks...Ameraucanas, Speckled Sussex, Cochin, Polish, and Orpingtons. We have some Ameraucana blood in our flock (our new hatchling is one quarter), but no purebreds, so I was thinking about maybe getting four of those, but Tom and Cody were excited about the different breeds and their enthusiasm must have been contagious. I told them that I would take one of each except for the Orpingtons (which are already well-represented in our flock). That's when they told me the Sussex chicks were $10. I told them I had $20, and would just take four of whatever. They decided that I needed the Sussex chick so bad that they gave it to me for half-price.
     Before I got in the car, I started telling them about my music (I'm bad about that) and gave them a copy of my "One More Night In Nashville" which point they said "Here. Have another chicken." It was another Ameraucana, which when spoken out loud sounds almost exactly like the genre into which my music so often gets categorized.
     Coincidence? I don't think so.
     The baby we hatched (on the far right in the picture at the bottom of the page) is no longer lonesome, and the new flock is melding well. That's a good thing, because lonesome works way better in a country song than it does in a chicken coop.