It’s been ages and ages and ages since I’ve posted a Snapshot Saturday. Between posting more to Instagram (I was very late to the Instagram party thinking it wasn’t for me but now I’m quite enjoying it; story of my life) and more personal running updates, these poor Snapshot Saturdays have been neglected.

But, since I haven’t posted this tidbit anywhere else, let me proudly introduce you to our new family member(s). Fifteen of these cute little babies, to be exact (actually half are these adorable Buff Orpingtons and the other half are little black chicks – Australorps).


Send chick advice ASAP!

They are currently living in a homemade awesome plywood brooder box in our front entryway since the garage is too cold for them at the moment (thank you broken garage door that won’t close even an inch). To say the kids are in heaven is a complete understatement. These chickies will definitely be held and loved and snuggled. A lot.

Bring on the farm fresh eggs, baby. (Actually, at this point, we are hoping we don’t end up with 15 roosters.)

32 Responses to Snapshot Saturday

  1. Susanj says:

    how fun! I am sure that you will get some nice laying hens and maybe one rooster. I have fond memories of watching chicks grow into hens from my childhood and going and finding the eggs. Enjoy!

  2. Sheila says:

    What an adventure! No experience. We had a bunch on our farm when I was a kid. How does your dog react to this new addition to the Mel family? Love Snapshot Saturdays and have missed them.

    • Mel says:

      Good question, Sheila – so far Maggie doesn’t know the chicks exist but it will be interesting to introduce them to her and get our outside/mouse cat exposure, too. We are planning to keep them well covered/protected until they go into the coop (and actually, pretty protected out there, too).

  3. Heidi says:

    My kids LOVE our chickens! We raised them from chicks and it has been such a fun adventure. In our first batch we had 2 roosters we had to butcher (we live in a neighborhood). It has been an incredible lesson in responsibility and love for our children! Chickens are GREAT pets! I don’t know how you’re handling them in the front part of your house, though. Everytime my kids held the chicks they pooped on them. We ended up having designated ‘chick clothes’ they had to change into to hold them. And making sure all four children always washed their hands well afterwards- arghhh! Maybe I’m just too uptight.

    • Mel says:

      I’m uptight, too, Heidi. It’s only temporarily and they they are moving out to the garage. I make my kids wash their hands endlessly.

  4. Desiree says:

    We just got baby chicks too! They are hanging out in a raised planter box in our living room because it’s still too cold in ND to brave the elements. Did you order from a hatchery? We got ours at the local feed store but I’m tempted to order some more. My kiddos love them, my dogs are curious and the chicks seem happy!

  5. Julia says:

    Australorps are my very favorite breed, though we also have buffs and many other breeds as well. It has become an addiction. My only warning to you about keeping them house (because I’ve done it too) is that they are very dusty! You will find a layer of dust EVERYWHERE! In our garage they still manage to get everything dirty. Enjoy the chicks though. They are great fun, make easy pets, provide your children a wonderful learning experience, and give you awesome eggs. We love our girls! I’m excited for you and your family.

  6. Brenna says:

    How fun. Keep cuddling them a lot even as they get bigger so they will be used to being handled when they are full grown. I didn’t do that with our chickens and was sorry later.

  7. Liz says:

    I don’t have chickens, but my across the road neighbor does and I help a bit and of course, buy eggs from her and/or trade for them. It is my first experience and I had no idea that chickens eat practically anything which last year included wasps, various other bugs and worms, food scraps and during the winter when Mel (my neighbor is Mel also!) thought they needed more protein and some fun, she bought crickets at the pet food store. She also feeds a good organic food and during the day in good weather they free range – we live rurally on acreage.

    The eggs are SO good … huge orange yolks and things like homemade mayo and baking are where I really tell the difference in taste and texture.

    Mel’s two boys handle(d) the chicks a lot and the grown ups are fine at being handled and rounded up at night.

    For the record, I am thrilled that my neighbors have the chicks and have been hinting that a dairy cow would be a good addition to their little farm :)!

  8. Karen says:

    Mel – there is another blogger – Mavis Butterfield – One Hundred Dollars a Day.
    She has chickens and I’ve given you the link to the section of her webpage/blog.
    It is at the lower portion of the webpage.
    She has a lot of good information about them.
    Our son uses her as a resource as well.

    Have fun with the chicks!

  9. Sheila H. says:

    We have had chickens for 3 years and love them. They are so sweet and we did hold them a lot when they were young; one still likes to jump on my lap, or head, or back…. Wash after you touch them!! I learned a lot by visiting mypetchicken and The chicken chick blogs.. I use newspaper in the box when they are young and change it daily. Just give them fresh water, fresh food, and a light to keep it 80 degrees and they will grow quickly. I also trained them to come to me by buying dried mealy worms and shaking the bag while I approached them. They will eat them out of my hand but it hurts as they get bigger beaks. My favorite name is “Hennifer.”

  10. Jennifer says:

    I have had chickens for the last 5 years, you will LOVE their eggs! I choose my chickens based on the egg color, so I have lots of variety, so fun to see all the colors in my fridge. With that many chickens, you will be able to sell some, I let my kids collect the money in exchange for taking care of them.
    I found the sites mentioned above and a few others were great, but I also have found you do not need a lot of stuff recommended to keep them happy.
    A few things… they like to use the same nesting box, so having more than 2 is usually a waste. Sand in the bottom of their coop/run has been the BEST! I use gallon milk jugs that have been cut-out for waterer’s…I have tried every type of waterer for sale at the feed store, and it always gets super poopy…yuck. But the milk jugs remain clean, and when they get gross, I just recycle and replace with a new one. I compost their poop for my garden too. Chickens are very entertaining, you will have lots of fun. (I use KSL classifieds when I have a rooster…gone in a day – I have never killed any of my chickens, just give them away when they get old).

  11. Jackie says:

    So cute! My boys were at a friend’s house the other day and came home so excited because they got to hold baby chicks. Now they are convinced we need some too.

  12. Joy says:

    Haha! My seven year old saw this post on your recipe site and said, “oh no! That’s not good! Those poor chickens!”

    I had explain that you were going to eat their eggs, not them.

  13. Holly W says:

    So glad you posted! I have been checking every Saturday hoping for a fun update on your family. Now that I know you’re on Instagram, I’ll follow you there too. Good luck with the chicks! Lots of people in our neighborhood (in Cache Valley) have chickens and really enjoy them – and their eggs!

  14. Rebecca says:

    Yay! Chicks are so cute & chickens are so fun. We really love having them & home raised eggs are beyond delicious. Here is my penny of advice:
    -Start feeding the chicks greens now- dandelion leaves, clover etc.
    -Watch their butts like a hawk for pasting- if you see any, get after it and make sure you keep an extra eye on those chicks.
    – Build a safer coop than you think- you want to be able to sleep at night! We call ours the Super-Max. We found a easy to build design using cattle panels & hardware cloth. It was cheapish and has worked really really well.
    -Check out BRITETAP Chicken Waterers. We started using them once we moved the chickens into their coop and oh, man! I love them! They fit on a standard cooler & hooray! No more poopy water.
    -Use deep litter. I really like the book by Harvey Ussery The Small Scale Poultry Flock- nicely commonsensical. Maybe your library has a copy?
    Ok, I’m done for now. Hooray for chickens!

  15. Rachael says:

    Oh, my kids have LOVED our chickens! And I love that the chickens create “real” responsibilities for them (you don’t make your bed and it’s not the end of the world, but if you forget to feed your pet chicken…that’s bad). We found that our Buff Orpingtons are the friendliest in our flock but also not the brightest. 🙂 Our lone Australorp turned out to be a rooster, so he went to live elsewhere, but he was the prettiest of our birds! Definitely handle them a lot as chicks–that’s such good advice and has made ours very sociable birds (my kids will often swing with a chicken on their lap).

    If the chicks start to drive you nuts in the entryway, we keep our babies in a cardboard box in the bathtub. They’re a little more removed there but still easy to access for the older kids (i.e. the 2-year-old can’t go after them without supervision!).

    Not sure how large your outdoor area is, but when we originally got our chickens I was sooo excited to just let them free-range everywhere. It was so fun when they were younger, but as they got bigger it was just a ton of chicken poop everywhere–and they didn’t hang out in the farther corners of our yard; they would all line up outside our kitchen door and watch us–they often pecked on the glass until one of the kids came over and talked to them! Which would have been fine except that our porch was constantly covered in chicken poop (I read that one hen can produce six cubic feet of droppings per year) and my kids didn’t want to play outside because they were always stepping in it. So our formerly free-range hens are now in a generous fenced enclosure until we move next year to somewhere that they can run around without occupying the people territory. 🙂

  16. Mel says:

    Love, love, love all the chick/chicken advice, you guys!

  17. Congrats!
    I seem to post a lot about our chickens. We bought them as babies last August and four are Australorps. They are quite fun to watch and very easy. Make sure they have closed off protection at night. I would put them in the garden during the day and then take them back to their coop when evening came. Now we made a simple fenced in area around the coop so they can eat bugs and grass and come and go in their coop.
    I ferment their feed since it allows their bodies to utilize more of it (less waste) and they get more nutrients from them. The yolks are orange and are so yummy. Yes, we have a rooster and he is a JERK. The only way he doesn’t attack me when I go into the coop is if I am squatting down. My hubby wants to keep him to protect the ladies since we have a lot of birds of prey that fly over our property daily. Here is a good website.

  18. Laura M says:

    There us a website called The Art of Doing Stuff. Karen the blogger has chickens and has posted a huge amount on raising them

  19. Melanie says:

    Yay on the chicks! Our buffs are pretty friendly, as long as they get used to the kids (which they will 🙂 They have never, ever pecked at the kids. Ours were about 6 months old when they started laying, but that can vary. Something my kids love to do: When they are older, they will enjoy your “scaps” from food prep. Ours especially love carrot peelings, so my kids will sit with them and feed them those.

  20. Jen T says:

    We are on our 3rd set of chickens in the last 8 years. Living in the country they don’t last very long sometimes. We love them, though. Those chicks will grow really fast and hopefully by August you will start getting your first eggs! We have had Rhode Island Reds and Buff Orpingtons. Now we have Production Reds and Americanas. Living in the country we let them out during the day if we are out, but always close them up at night because of critters. You can’t keep them inside too long because they just get too big and messy too quick. One chicken will average about 300 eggs per year. They won’t lay when they molt and usually slow down laying a lot in the winter. We try to get all pullets but have ended up with a rooster once. We gave it away as soon as we could. You don’t need them and they are just mean. My kids hated the rooster, so my advice is get rid of the rooster ASAP if you have any. Good luck! It is fun at Easter to dye your own eggs instead of the store white ones. They look really pretty. Picture of our dyed eggs here

  21. Courtney says:

    We are on our second batch or chickens. We have 4 different breeds. One breed the Americuna lays a greenish blue egg. When they were chicks we had them in a box with a heat lamp In the basement, and the less they needed the lamp the further away they would move from it. also a friend suggested to put a roost in the box after a couple of weeks it will get them used to sleeping on it when they move to coop.. But we didn’t get a rooster with our second batch and we missed having one so we got one but we had to be careful introducing them because they didn’t grow up together even at just a few months old.

  22. Well my dear, I’m not sure what more I can add after all our back and forth conversations about the last 3 years’ experience with our 3 Buff Orpington girls. All I can say is, “EEEEEEEE!!!!!” I’m beyond excited for you and praying for 15 pullets because I am not sure I could think about “getting rid” of any roosters :\.
    Enjoy the ride and start stocking up on egg-centered recipes, lol. xoxo

  23. KIm says:

    What fun! My kids would love to have little chicks and farm fresh eggs…yum!

  24. Maureen says:

    Hi Mel!

    Congratulations on your chicks! Buffs are my favorite — the eggs are great and the hens are quite friendly. I’ve been caring for chickens for most of my life and I’ll try to give you my best advice… :o) 1. Forget roosters — they aren’t necessary for eggs and they will be physically hard on the hens and any bare legs that get close. 2. To make it convenient to gather eggs, have an access door to the nesting boxes on the outside of the coop and chicken yard — no stepping in the mess to get the goodies. 3. Chicken is on everyone’s menu, so when you make your chicken pen, forget using chicken wire — it keeps the chickens inside, but won’t keep a coyote or fox out. We picked up some used dog kennel panels from craigslist for a great price. We chose those for convenience and figured if they keep dogs in, it’ll keep them out too. Before you put your pen up, lay garden fencing (we use the 3 ft wide 2×3 green vinyl coated steel fence for yards and gardens) on the ground so that about 2 ft of fence is on the outside of the pen perimeter and anchor it with landscape staples pounded into the ground – no need to bury it – but that will prevent anything from digging under your pen. You might consider adding a Sun Screen Fabric shade over part of the pen — we’ve found this gives protection from the overhead predators as well as giving the hens a break from the heat. Shut them inside the coop at night and you won’t have to worry about any critters that can climb over the pen. Building a coop like Fort Knox may seem extreme, but 6 months feeding 15 hens before you get an egg is an investment worth protecting. :o) Enjoy them.

  25. Sarah Baker says:

    Love the chickens! Chicks can sometimes carry pink eye-When we had chicks my kids got pink eye twice! The doc said that it is common when handling chicks-once i knew i kept a watchful eye and used tea tree oil on anyone with symptoms. Have fun!!

  26. Julia L. says: is the best! Wonderful community of folks who are so willing to impart their chicken knowledge. There is even an emergency forum to post in if you run into any trouble. Search for anything you want to know (I love looking at all the creative and beautiful coops!) So jealous lol. We had to auction our flock when we moved from Washington to Arizona, but I’m scheming on how to get a new flock. 🙂 Enjoy those wonderful eggs!

  27. Sarah says:

    From over 20 years as a chicken enthusiast, here are some random tips:

    -“Straight-run” means approximately 50% cockerels(males) & 50% pullets(females)
    -Medicated chick starter works best for the first 5-6 months…then switch to laying ration for added calcium for egg production (pellets are better-they waste less)
    -Do not supplement baby chicks with anything other than feed and water until they are at least a few months old
    -After spending tons of money on chicken-specific waterers…I always resort back to my trusty rubber livestock pail. Its so easy to clean and never cracks in winter!
    -Roosters are not necessary for hens to lay eggs…unless you want hatching eggs
    -Chickens always do best with lots of outdoor sunshine, bugs, and grass…their feathers look great and their eggs are immensely better in yolk color and flavor!

    I wish you the best with your chickens!

  28. kandi v says:

    We love our Buff Orpingtons! We purchased six, but lost one chick when they were little. She chirped constantly and it turned out that we should have given her electrolytes (Gatorade), but we had no clue. The ladies, as we like to call them, are so fun but it is definitely a messy adventure. After church on Sunday we’ll go outside and enjoy the sunshine while letting them run around the yard. We definitely had many less ticks last year than previous years! Shaking a red solo cup of chicken scratch brings them running back to us every time. One tip, you can save the eggs for your food storage buy washing them and then covering them in a light coat of food grade mineral oil, and then placing the eggs in a styrofoam egg carton. Once the container is full, be sure to flip it once a month. Eggs can last upwards of 9 months this way. Nothing more depressing than going to the store and buying eggs and feed because the girls are molting or just simply tired of winter (as often happens here in CT). Have fun! (PS: our dogs both are more afraid of the chickens and tend to run from them! Ha Ha!)

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