Sometimes, being kind can backfire on you. Not that that will ever stop me from being kind, but…
A friend of mine recently asked me if I could incubate some eggs for her. Since I was finished with the incubator, I was happy to help. So she brought over around 30 eggs, and I marked my calendar. Twenty one days later, the first chick arrived. Over the course of three days, five hatched out. And then nothing. I finally called her, and she said that she wasn’t surprised, as the eggs came from someone else, and they were no telling how old. So, I popped those five babies in a brooder, and waited – just in case – for another week. When nothing happened, we talked again, and agreed that the rest probably weren’t viable. So I cleaned out the incubator, and told her she could come pick up the five.
The actual owner of the eggs decided that I could just keep them, as he was running short of extra time and couldn’t handle the extra work. Let’s face it – around a farm, any number of things could happen, so it was fine with me. After a couple of weeks, though, I was ready for them to be turned out to the coop, as my own world has been crazy as of late.
And then I just had to go to Tractor Supply in Natchitoches to get dog food…
I could hear them as soon as I stepped through the door. Initially, I wondered if I was hearing things, as this was August, for Pete’s sake. NO ONE has chicks this late in the year. It is expected in the Spring when it is still cool, but not during the hottest part of the year. But lo and behold, I was really and truly hearing the peeps of baby chicks. And of course, I had to just go look.
I was even more surprised to see that they had Cornish Rocks, which are the meat birds. I thought about it for a minute, but decided we just had too much catch up work to do to deal with raising meat birds for six or seven weeks, then finding a full day to process them. Plus, our freezer is still full from the last round. Instead, I called my friend Ayn to see if she needed any. She’s like me – a plate and cup that is spilling over, so she said no. Great, I thought. I took one more look, smiled and started to turn away. Then a soft voice stopped me in my tracks.
“Why can’t we just buy two?”
I wasn’t eavesdropping. I promise. I really was leaving. But the conversation just struck me as odd…
Apparently, this round of chicks came with conditions. You had to buy six per transaction. No more, no less. A young couple – barely 20, if that old – wanted to try their hands at raising chickens, but only had room for two. I just couldn’t stand it. I am an advocate of learning any and every aspect of farming, and when someone wants to learn, I am willing to do what I can to teach. And here were two young kids who wanted to learn and was basically either being told ‘no’ or being forced to put their lessons on hold. Oh. No. Not on my watch.
I asked them a few questions, and the young girl said she had raised chicks before, when she was younger. The young man said he worked in a chicken factory. But they were young and eager, so I came up with a solution. I asked them which chicks they wanted, then instructed the sales clerk to put those two in one box, and four more in a separate box. The young couple got their wish, and I ended up with four. Just when I thought my chick raising days were finished for the year.
The first five are happily chickening away out in the coop. The new four are in a makeshift brooder in the craft room, and eating and drinking away, waiting for their turn at the Big Coop on the Farm. And I am contentedly willing to send the Country Boy to Tractor Supply for dog food in the foreseeable future. I am about chicked out, and not afraid to admit it. Now, if I can only train the chickens to clean out their own coop, I will have it made. At least until next spring, when I just have to have more meat birds. And definitely that cute group of Austrolorps. and a few Rhode Island Reds and Leghorns to add some color. Oh! And Salmon Favorelles? Definitely toss in a dozen of those!!!!