I did it! Today I ordered 20 day-old Barred Plymouth Rock chicks from Frey’s through the local feed store. I’ve been wanting to get chickens since moving here, and began thinking seriously about it last year.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading, including information in The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers. It’s a very interesting read, and I’m finding it a good midway point between large scale production type books and those for people keeping a few pet hens in the backyard. I’ve ordered 12 girls and 8 boys, which I’m hoping means I’ll get at least 10 laying hens. The hatchery only guarantees 80% accuracy Barred Plymouth Rocks and only if you’re ordering at least 30 birds. Based on what I read in the Small Scale Poultry Flock book, I feel better about the boy birds living here for a while and then having “one bad day” than what might happen to the excess at the hatchery.
I have lots to do to get ready for them in the coming weeks – I need to make space to brood them in the garage (the basement won’t do, as the kitten I took in last summer is a hunter and I think they’d die of fright), pick up a lamp, litter, and feed, and rehab a shed off of the old garage to house them. They arrive on March 21st!