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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Week 1: Four in the Brooder & One in the Oven

More (unbelievably cute) Photos Here!

Well, you know it had to be something pretty exciting to follow in the path of Aventura One but we think we found it:  Backyard Chickens!

Having settled in the delightful town of Evergreen, Colorado, with the purchase pending on a small cabin in a verdant valley (complete with creek and so reminiscent of the French Alps that we immediately were reminded of Le Monal), we mail ordered four chicks to start our hen-house.

But I am getting ahead of myself.  Knowing nothing about raising chickens we read numerous books (ok, Alan read numerous books and just filled me in on the highlights—I am, after all, back at work selling SAP software!) and decided upon a variety of birds; all brown egg layers that can handle the cold winters of Colorado. 

It was important for me to see them hatch, and so we began to purchase fertilized eggs on when Alan realized a very important fact:  That by getting eggs, you do not know what sex your chicks will be.  (Yes, it is frightening how little we know about this going in!)  Having a few roosters would be fine by me, but probably not with our neighbors.  So we hopped over to and selected four live chicks, all 90% guaranteed to be female.

They were due to arrive any time between three and five weeks and since we would be in the cabin by week three, we thought we were safe.  However, a mere five days later we had a call from the customer service department saying the chicks had been hatched and they would be flying out on Monday, June 10, with an ETA into Evergreen, Colorado of June 12.  

Well didn’t that just make us jump into action?! Alan quickly assembled the brooder box (complete with a view window) and we drove 30 miles to get organic all natural chick feed.  Yes, it is important to us to know that our eggs (and ultimately chickens) will be 100% organic.

Luckily we had two good friends staying with us upon the chick arrival, so I have Kim to thank for his wonderful photography of our Chick Rescue Mission. 

Day one basics included dipping their beaks in water to teach them to drink (Bettina excelled at this!) and then putting in some feed.  It took all of about three seconds for them to find the feed and begin chowing down.  After that, we tried to leave them alone to rest after their rough welcome to the world; how would you feel after pecking your way through a hard shell only to immediately get put into a box and mailed across state lines?  

To celebrate the arrival of the chicks, I roasted a chicken (never too early to get myself used to the idea of eating the ladies someday) which inspired Kim to say, over cocktails, “That was quite chicken-full day; four in the brooder and one in the oven!” 

As for Rosco & River, well, they are adapting very well.  Today is Day 2 and they lay next to the brooder box  looking in the window as the chicks take turns pecking the plastic trying to get to River’s nose.  (River, of course, doesn’t let Rosco near the window.)  So far so good, but there is no way we’ll ever leave them alone unprotected.  There is one rule of terriers:  Never stop trying.

Stay tuned, this promises to be a wild ride!


PS:  In case you are wondering, the chicks stay in the brooder box (changing it out often, of course) until they are five to seven weeks old; we will need to get the chicken coop up over the Fourth of July weekend!