A few years ago we acquired 15 fully grown chickens from a dear friend. Excited by how quickly they began laying and the ease with which they settled in, we hatched almost 40 eggs from those chickens. A determined dog discovered them, and only three pullets made it to maturity. Since we lost three of the original hens during our horrible heat, we still have 15 chickens.
The offending dog is now confined during the day, school is out for the summer, and we are going to try again. But this time we are not limiting our attempts to chickens. 25 chicks and 20 ducklings of unknown breeds are due to arrive this week from Ideal Poultry.
We have grand plans for the new arrivals. Keeping the babies away from predators will be a challenge, so I plan to convert the bed of a pickup into a “security brooder” for them. Rosie has done such a superb job tending her chickens for the past year that she will immediately take charge of the new chicks. Zorro has expressed a desire to care for them as well, so he will be responsible for the ducklings.
Since school should never end completely, we will keep a poultry diary of what goes right, what goes wrong and how adorable our new critters are. Hopefully the children will learn some new words to randomly insert into their vocabularies and have new material with which to create the ink sketches that litter our home. Each week they will create a small booklet about the changes that have occurred in their poultry charges, which will be assembled into a full-fledged lapbook by the time the hatchlings are fully feathered. Stay tuned for weekly misadventures and struggles.