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Heaven's Blessings Tiny Zoo

MAY 14, 2005 Update at the bottom of this page!


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My Baby Chicks!!!

The full compliment of 25 baby chicks arrived alive and well, cheeping VERY loudly!, by postal delivery to my door (I think the postman is curious about the strange things I order through the mail!) about 10:30 am on May 23, 2001.  My boys were VERY excited about getting baby chicks.  Almost as excited as me!  After they all got their beak dipped in water and found food they immediately started calming down.  Now they hardly make any noise at all.  Their little peeps are soothing and pleasant.

I ordered them through Privett Hatchery, and was very pleased.

These are all taken on the day of arrival, the chicks are about 2 1/2 days old.  They were hatched on Monday and shipped the same day, arriving at my home on Wednesday.

chicks 2 days old

All other pictures deleted due to web space constraints.  Sorry for the inconvenience.




May 14, 2005

It's been 4 years since I got my baby chicks, they have have since grown up, layed many dozens of eggs, and ultimately went to live at a new home.  I no longer have any birds other than the wild bluebirds that live in our trees.  The reason being that even though we had the yard well fenced, and their coop was double fenced with a fence protector over the top of it also, sometimes the chickens would still get out of the yard while they were foraging for weeds and bugs.  And for some reason they always went to our neighbor's yard to the south of us.  Well, after a few months, our neighbors put up a fence of their own and got a dog.  Once they got the dog we could no longer retrieve our stray hens when they escaped our yard.  So I had to keep them cooped up all the time, I couldn't let them out to forage anymore.  For those of you who know about chickens, I'm sure you can imagine the result if this action.  Those of you who aren't as familiar with chicken behavior, let me explain...

When too many birds are locked into too small a space for too long a time, they begin to pick on each other.  They pull each other's feathers out, and pick bloody patches on each other's skin, and if you don't get antibiotic on those sores right away they get infected and the chicken can die.  I had to give my girds to an older couple in our church who had a small family farm and a great big hen yard (bigger than our whole back yard) so that the birds could be happy and run free again.  And I have accepted (although a bit resentfully at time) my lot in life that I can not have any more farm animals until I have a farm to put them on.  And at this point in time, there seems precious litle hope that will ever happen.  Not to mention... I'm allergic to hay.  Miserably allergic to hay.

 This is the only picture I can find of the birds once they grew up (again I'm sure I had more pictures, but can no longer find them.)

Chickens in their pen.

This picture was taken August 14, 2002.

You can see just the head of a Buff Orpington sticking out the hen door there to the left, the white Japanese bantam in the back, Also a red colored Araucana, and one of my black hens (either the black representation of the Blue andalusian -I did order 2 blue andalusians but only one turned out blue and the other turned out black; or that one in the picture could be a Black Australorp - they look very similar until they are side by side) the two light Brahma and the one white crested black polish in the front and the blue andalusian on the right.  I had more hens than this, but these were the ones that came to pose for the camera.


To all of you just starting out in this poultry adventure, I wish you luck and hope you enjoy your birds.  It is definitely a learning experience, and an exercise in perseverance, and persistence.  They are benefical foragers (although some of them really enjoyed one species of our grape vines - and nearly killed that one plant) and good for insect control as well. Sometimes I really wish I had my chickens again, for the insect control!  If you are raising them from baby chicks know that when they say there is a 10% chance that some of your hens will turn out to be roosters... they don't mean that there is a 1 in 10 chance you MIGHT get a rooster, they mean 1 out of every 9 to 10 birds you get WILL be a rooster.  I wager to say that goes so far as 1 in 5 will be roosters.  Just plan on having some roosters, or have a fool-proof plan in action about what to do with your unwanted roosters.  

WARNING: No one wants roosters. You can't give them away.  4H-ers don't want them, even if they are purebred and beautiful.  And once they start crowing, particularly if you have them living in a dog crate in your livingroom to try and keep the neighbors happy, you will begin to understand the true meaning of *waking up when the rooster crows* as the rooster croweth morning, noon and night, and often in the middle of the night as well.  Roosters do not have clocks and they can not tell time.  If you hadn't raised them from cute fluffy little babies, you would want to kill them youself for all the noisy crowing.


The #1 Question that people ask me is: So what breeds did you find to be the most quiet?  

Or a variation of that is: What breeds would you recommend as pets for a family with children?


To both these questions I would say unanimously the fluffy breeds.  From the breeds I ordered it would be the Buff Orpingtons, the Black Australorps, and the Light Brahmas.  The Japanese Bantam and the little Cochins were very tame and fairly quiet was well.  The children loved the bantams the most, because they could catch them and carry them around.  The Aracaunas (which lay the blue and green eggs) were fun for the eggs, but they were also very flighty, and I seriously believe they require more space than other chickens.  They are the first to start pecking on the others around them, and they get edgy if they don't have a lot of foraging time and space to run around and scartch in.  The Blue andalusians were noisier, flightier, and not nearly as friendly.  They really disliked being caught, and resisted being rounded up into the coop if I wanted them put away before it was actually bed time (same with the Aracaunas).  I wished many many times for a Havanese dog to help me herd the chikens!  Those little dogs are way too expensive though, even though I think they are adorable and would have been perfect for the job (in Havana that's what they were bred for was a family poutlry herder - in America they are bred to be lap dogs).  The Polish chickens were just plain stupid, or blind, or both.  And they freak out way too easily, flapping about getting all the other hens worked up in a fuss over nothing.  They are cute, but I can't imagine having a whole flock of them.  I don't think they lay very often either, although it was hard for me to tell which hens were laying which eggs all the time.  Only the banatams did we ever know for sure, their eggs are a lot smaller.  The Black Australorp seemed to develop quite a bit slower than some of the others, but a very beautiful bird once she is grown, if you aren't in too big of a hurry and want a beautiful bird, that's fairly calm and quiet with an excellent laying reputation, that would be the choice. They are heavy though, so if you want birds that yoru children can pick up and carry around probably should go with the bantams (Japanese, Cochins, or Silkies mainly - not the fighting breeds) if you don't mind small eggs, or the standard cochins or Light brahmas for the larger eggs.  Buff Orpingtons are a good choice also.  I did not own any, but the Japanese people have bred the Phoenix Chicken to be a pet bird with extra long tails (on the roosters) and they might do well also.


From my research, and some limited observation, these are breeds to AVOID if noisy birds is a concern for you: Dominiques, Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Leghorns, and most breeds bred for commercial egg production (they're bred for laying, not friendliness or quietness). I really wouldn't recommend the Aracaunas either.  Yes I know their colored eggs are fun, but they are a bit of a hassle, and sometimes were on the noisy side.  I suspect that the Black Sumatra would be noise and flighty also, but I never owned any so I can't say for sure.  If you live out in the country and have a big farm, and do not care about the noise, and just want a colorful flock to wander around your property foraging and eating bugs as they please, then by all means, try any of these breeds.  There is nothing wrong with the birds, but some do have tendencies toward "talking" more than others.  This information is for all those people who have asked me for advice on how to choose quiet chickens, and is not intended to belittle or slander against any other breed of chicken.  And I must reitterate here, I had 2 years of experience with chickens... I'm a small time back yard hobbyist.  I'm not an expert nor do I claim to be.  Just sharing what information I learned, and passing it along for you to use, or not, as you wish.


  I had fun with my birds.  I had some frustrations with them too.  And a few dissapointments.  The baby chicks were the most fun.  They grow way too fast though!  The eggs were a mixed blessing - I wouldn't say they were free, because we had to buy all that feed for the chickens. But it was gratifying knowing how the chickens were raised and exactly how fresh the eggs really were.  Sometimes we had more eggs than we could even give away, much less use, and somehow I was never able to find a steady audience interested in buying them.  So there was no egg money really to compensate the cost of the feed.  But if I had a farm, I would do it again.  I won't do it in town.  Not any time soon anyway... although, I was reading that Muscovy ducks don't quack....  could be fun?



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