Yesterday we picked up our 2 day old baby chicks from the post office we ordered from Ideal Poultry in Texas. They had a great assortment of different chicks this late in the season and the ordering and shipping process was cake. The harder part was finding an appropriate chicken coop for our brood and settled on one from Green Chicken Coops. The great thing about this company is they are in line with our values: wood is certified ecologically sustainable, there are no harmful toxic glues or chemicals and a low VOC paints and colors are used. We haven't gotten that yet but the chicks won't be outside for a good 4-5 weeks from now anyway.
In choosing the varieties of chicks we went with breeds that were more docile and quiet. Egg color was also a factor and seeing blue/green eggs is still a novelty for us I don't think we'll outgrow. These are the varieties we have:
Red Sex Link, Barred Rock, Black Australorp, Buff Orpington, Ameraucana, and Salmon Faverolle. So far the most docile seem to be the Buff and the Salmons.
The set up was simple: An old large container we found in the garage (you can use a cardboard box as well), a heat lamp with an infrared bulb, a $3 chick feeder that you can conveniently attach a quart jar to and a water bowl (we plan on making a DIY waterer with an old plastic bottle). There are many great resources on the web for specific instructions and we also relied on the book Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens: 3rd Edition (Storey's Guide to Raising Series).
The other important consideration is the starter feed and we choose Hiland Natural Feed which doesn't contain GMO products and soy and is of course, organic. We are many weeks, 20 to be exact to harvesting any eggs and by the time we reach Christmas the light won't be enough to support the production of eggs. So looking forward to spring time egg abundance. In the meantime, we'll continue to indulge in the best local eggs we've ever had from our friends at Bluefield Farm in Blauvelt.
We haven't been able to identify which chick is what breed but I can only assume that we'll be able to better do that once they've grown a little. Then comes the naming process - fun! Stay tuned for more chicken updates...