I picked up a box of 15 straight run chicks at the feedstore yesterday.
Originally, I had been planning to get sexed chicks, hens only, but after putting some thought into it, I decided to go ahead and get straight run. I haven’t gotten any new chickens in a few years, so I need to pump up my hen numbers with some younger hens. My older hens are still laying and are going gangbusters right now, in fact, but still. As time goes by, chickens don’t lay as many eggs as they do when they’re young, so it’s time to bring in some perky new girls.
As for the roosters that are likely 50% of this batch…. I’m planning to butcher them. I don’t know what the breed is on these chicks. They didn’t know at the store. I didn’t really care–they all lay eggs. They are probably some kind of common laying breed, not a meat breed, so the roosters won’t be huge, and will likely be best for stewing chickens. Will see if I can figure out the breed when they grow and feather out.
Meanwhile, if you did want to try to sex chickens from a straight run batch at a feedstore, here is one idea that I can’t validate. Several years ago, this is how they were doing it at the little store in town, with Eddie the clerk demonstrating his chick sexing skills.
Pick ‘em up, turn ‘em over in your hand, and if they draw their legs up to their body, they’re female. If they stretch their legs out, they’re male. If one leg draws up and the other leg stretches out, you put it back and try another. (When that happens, Eddie says, “Hmm, that one’s no good.”)
Good luck if you try that! Whenever I think about eating a chicken I’ve raised, the story about the little neighbor girls at Stringtown Rising comes to mind. They came over one day while I was fixing dinner. One of them asked me what I was cooking. I told her fried chicken. She said, “Which one and what did it do?” I told her it was chicken from the store. She said, oh, and explained that when they had chicken at their house, it was when one of the chickens had made her mom mad.
I had a speaking engagement this past Monday in Charleston and a lady there told me another good one. She said when she was growing up, they always had chicken on Sundays. During the week, she said every time their chickens would go in the road, she’d be wishing a car would come by and hit one of them because that was the only way they’d get to have chicken on a Wednesday! I told her I was always hoping I’d hit a squirrel, and she looked a little aghast. I have to remember to be careful who I say something like that to because a lot of times if I mention squirrel hunting, people tell me they feed the squirrels and love them.
I love squirrels, too! In my own way….!
I’ve got these chicks set up in a big tub on top of a tarp inside the house for now. I set up the pen around it to keep Precious the puppy from diving in to meet all her new friends. (She’s very excited about them.) I’ll let them grow some before I move them to a stall in the barn….and eventually, the chicken house.
It is spring.
Let there be chicks!