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Chicks!

I love chickens.  They were the first "farm animals" we added to our homestead six years ago.  Chickens are great -- they're low maintenance creatures, they pay their way in delicious eggs and they're the absolute cutest babies around.

Here are our new babies, all three tiny enough to fit in my hand!  
 

These little cuties are Ameraucanas, a breed that lays blue or green eggs.  They were just two days old when we brought them home from the feed store.


We have several Ameraucana hens (in addition to a few Rhode Island Reds and two Barred Rocks).  We even have an Ameraucana rooster named Meaty.  The kids and I went back and forth for weeks -- do we buy hatchlings or raise Meaty progeny?

Since our hens are much too busy to actually sit on eggs, the warming of the eggs would have to be fulfilled by an electric incubator.  Not a big deal, and actually pretty fun and educational, I thought.

But what held me back was the thought of incubating a batch of roosters rather then hens.  Although I'd love the roos regardless, I'm sure my neighbors have their own opinion.  As of now they're all extremely tolerant of my menagerie.  But good-will can only be pushed so far.


(I may try to incubate an egg or two just to see what happens.  There is one hen in particular, Jane, who I love to have a baby from.)


But these store-bought babies are just as nice as homegrown ones.  Every year we have a theme for naming our chickens.  One year it was vintage names, (like Gladys and Minerva Louise).  The year we had our exchange student we chose international names.  And one year, for whatever reason, we decided on bread -- that gave us Sara Lee, Wonder Bread, and Hostess.

This year, though, the theme was cities.

 
This chocolaty brown peep is London.  She loves posing for her portrait.  Right now London and her sisters are residing in a heated terrarium (it's much to cold outside for motherless babies.)  In fact, it has been so cold their home had to be set up in front of the wood stove. 


Barcelona didn't much care for having her picture taken.  It took about 20 tries to get this shot.  She still has her egg tooth in this picture (the little tooth-like appendage on the beak the chicks use to break out of the shell.)  


Look closely at the tip of Barcelona's beak.  Can you see the egg tooth?  Chicks lose their egg tooth at about 3-4 days old. 


Isn't Sedona cute?  I must admit, after I brought her home I was a bit disappointed in my choice.  The kids both chose chicks with beautiful, loud colorations.  This little peep is just plain brown.  I decided I can't pick chicks.

But she's grown on me.  I'm learning to see the beauty in brown.  Plus, a chick's color changes so much as she grows.  You never really know what you're going to get when it's all said and done. 

Let's just hope it's not a rooster!

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