Friday, April 15, 2011

a new chicken

Since Lucy, my Black Copper Marans, has only laid two eggs since Sept 1 (and the last one was in early November), I've been contemplating replacing her. The problem is, you can't get just one chick. Chickens are flock animals and typically don't do well if raised alone. However, I didn't want more than one chicken.

I'd been mulling over this problem for a few weeks, when in mid March, my neighbor called me excitedly. My chicken fever had spread, and she's bought eight Rhode Island Red chicks. I was thrilled for her, but a plot immediately hatched (ha ha ha).

I asked her if she would be willing to "foster" a chick for me, so that I could get another chicken, and only ONE more chicken. I offered to buy a 50 lb bag of starter feed, as well as a small bag of medicated feed, since one of her chicks seemed to need the medication.

I found a local breeder who was selling Black Copper Marans chicks that were about the same age as my neighbor's chicks. I picked out an adorable chick that looked to be a couple days older than the neighbor's chicks. I suspect she/he was hatched on 3/12 or 3/13. The breeder isn't able to sex for gender, but she was trying an experiment this year. I picked out a chick that we both suspected were pullets.
Here's the chick at 5 days old, give or take.

Initially, I was going to name her Suzie, after the breeder. However, my neighbor has called the chick "Foster". Since I worry (ok, obsess) that this chick is actually a cockerel, Foster seems to be sticking.

Foster is now almost 5 weeks old. I'm still really hoping that it's a pullet, but I'm just not sure. If it's a rooster, I've kind of decided it's not the end of the world. Roosters really are gorgeous, much prettier than hens. It would also give me the opportunity to hatch eggs- a Copper Marans Rooster with an Easter Egger hen could make some cool offspring, particularly their egg color.

Unfortunately, chickens get really, really ugly once they lose their fuzz, but before they're grown up. I've said that Foster looks like a velociraptor that has been drizzled in honey, then dipped in feathers.

No comments: