Cute Chicks in Your Neighborhood

First Week of Fluffy!

They are growing so fast! I had meant to start posting once a week again, but the chicks grew way faster than I realized so the first week and a half had a lot of scrambling to keep ahead of their growth and there was no time for anything, much less writing.

Day 1

Day 7

I realize we’re jumping into the middle of a story here so let us back up a bit.

As I wrote in this post back in January 2023 I have been increasingly unhappy with my current full-time job and after much thought have decided to pursue regenerative agriculture as my next career. Work towards that goal has been ongoing as I discussed a bit here, here, and here, but the efforts towards making that dream a reality have increased a lot in the last few months and is one of the many reasons why I haven’t been posting; too many things happening all at once! I will be writing more about all of that in the coming weeks/months but for now lets talk chicks.

It was clear from early research that some form of pastured poultry would be part of our regenerative farm efforts and I have been exploring what that might look like for us. Then one day, after once again not being able to buy my preferred eggs from Lakewinds Food Co-Op because they were out of stock, I decided to contact the farm in question, Acres of Eden, to see if they would be interested in some form of partnership. I was hopeful since they (A) had an amazing product, (B) are a regenerative and organic farm doing the kind of farming I want to be doing, (C) are Minnesota based, and (D) clearly have a strong market since Lakewinds was often sold-out of their eggs.  Joel and I have had a few conversations, and he has come out to our farm to look around and discuss possible partnership options. We are still working out the details of said partnership, the biggest hurdle at the moment has been navigating the organic certification process in some sort of partnership (that will be a whole series of posts on its own). But we both agreed it would be good for me to start with a “tester” batch of chicks to make sure that I did in fact want to work with poultry as my primary, or at least initial primary, focus and to get some of the kinks of raising large a (relatively) large number of birds worked out. It is one thing to read about doing something new and quite another to actually do it. Joel was going to be getting his next batch of chicks on May 9 and he was able to work with his hatchery to send 50 of his chicks my way.

At 7:00 AM on Thursday May 9, fifty ISA Brown chicks arrived for me at the Champlin Post Office.

Mind you my meeting with Joel had been only two weeks before their arrival and for someone like me two weeks isn’t a lot of time to prep and it has been abundantly clear that I was not as ready as I had hoped to be. Not that things are going badly, just that I have been in scramble mode since the end of April and that gets to be exhausting. Part of being behind from the beginning is that I did what I often do and got sucked down various rabbit holes exploring different options and plans for building brooders and I expended way too much time and energy on plans that ultimately didn’t work for me. We did get our brooder mostly built the night before they arrived. I have lots of ideas for how to improve it for the next batch of chicks so I won’t bore you with details on our first draft.

first draft brooder

It isn’t great, but it has done its job and I have learned so very much, which of course was the point of a tester batch of chicks. We got 49 of the 50 chicks through their first week of life, and a 2% mortality rate is pretty good for our first batch of chicks. Lots of sources said to expect a 5-10% mortality rate and that most of the losses would come that first week, so I’m proud of what we’ve done so far.

Here is a video showing their growth over the first week. They were starting to get wing feathers on day 2!

And here are photos from our first week together:

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 4:

Day 5:

Day 6:

Day 7:

You’ll notice there are no videos or photos for day 3. This happened to be May 11 and because the universe can be a bit of a **** (swear word of your choice) it had to also be the day the chick died, so it wasn’t a day for photos or videos of cute things. But man, oh, man! are they cute! Or were cute… they have quickly become gangly teenagers and aren’t nearly as adorable, but that first week the amount of cute in our house was almost unbearable. For the next batch of chicks I’m going to try to clear my calendar a bit because I found myself just watching them for waaaaay more time than I had available.

So flipping cute!

As always (though I don’t remember to add this each time) this post was written by a human with no assistance of any kind from AI. All the mess ups are mine, thank you very much!