Joe's been talking about building a coop and getting chickens forever. It's one of those things we've discussed, but life kept getting in the way of figuring it all out and getting it together. Well, I decided that this year was the year and that Joe's March birthday was the time to do it.
I ordered ten chickens from Ideal Poultry—two Buff Orpingtons, two Black Astraulorpes, two Silver Laced Wyandottes, two Barred Rocks, and two New Hampshire Reds. They are all winter-hardy birds known for good egg laying. They are also supposed to be very gentle, as compared to some of the more skittish varieties—assuming you're talking about the hens. That last phrase will turn out to be important, as I ordered ten females, but the company threw in six roosters for warmth. Not known for their gentle dispositions, the roosters may or may not find a permanent home with the Leones.
The series of photos below shows the sequence of events on Joe's birthday. I picked up the day-old chicks at the post office early that morning. The first photo shows the kids, huddled around our basement brooder box, ready to open the shipping box of cheeping chicks. They could hardly contain their excitement. Joe was at work, completely oblivious to the unfolding events occurring at home.
These last two photos show Joe's surprise as the chick operation is unveiled before his eyes. (The thing on his head is the blindfold we made him wear while leading him down the basement steps to see his gift. We also had him wear ear protection so he couldn't hear the chicks cheeping.) He was blown away by the gift, completely surprised, and very excited!