Hoover's Hatchery is truly the wholesome operation you think of when you hear "family-owned and operated." Tony has been super friendly and really flexible, answering my questions at all times of the day and taking time out to coordinate logistics. They can also be found online--they have a GREAT website for learning and for ordering and Hoover's Hatchery is also on Facebook!
We are going to start our little "laying operation" with 25 day-old chicks + the 6 that we couldn't resist when we went in to look at the chicks. They are about two weeks old, while the chicks we got from Hoover's (pick up at local distributor) are only a week old. Hoover's Hatchery has a great selection of layers, meat birds, and other fowl like guineas and turkeys!
Now this is our first foray into the adventure of raising CHICKS so we started out how many folks start out, and that was by picking up our little fluffy feathered friends at the local L&M Supply store. You see, Hoover's is out of Iowa, but they supply many distribution locations around the Midwest.
It's a time-honored tradition to take little ones to the local fleet farm or L&M Supply store (such is the case for us) and let the kiddos look at the baby birds. The entire room is full of peeping feathery blobs that are shipped at one day old! The chicks are various breeds, sizes and colors and they are so fun to watch. Quite irresistible actually! (That's how we ended up with the first SIX chicks that came to our little homestead!)
To pick up the 25 babies we were receiving from Hoover's, we had Charli and Trudy assist us in making sure we knew which chicks were of which breed. They actually had dyed spots for certain types--this made identifying similar chicks really easy and it was actually kind of fun to have such a colorful feathered flock! They did start to grow out of the colors at about two weeks old though. It was really helpful to us to go to a distributor site to pick up our birds, since we were able to ask the staff questions that we may not have otherwise immediately known.
So, let me give you a rundown of the chicks that will be growing up with my son this season (we are still working on names!! So, if you have any ideas, we'd love to hear 'em!) I feel like it's taboo to NOT name chicks, but there are 31!!! How am I going to remember them? Are there any chick-size name tags?!?!
Chicks we have:
Silkies [straight run], Frizzle Cochins [straight run], Featherfeet [straight run], California Whites, Gold Stars, Rhode Island Reds, Rainbows [straight run], Americanas, Silver Lace Wyandottes, Buff Orpingtons, Black Sex Links and Black Austarlorps.
The really hard part about this whole trip into the store was the sheer number of peeking, curious little fluff balls that are there. Every stock tank has another variety that you know will be adorable and several that are known to be docile, or good for being "companion birds."
Here are the "babies"
At ONE week
At ONE week
Above: in transitional box used for checking chick bums
Below: Temp. brooder box
So, there ya have it. We have some cheeping, cuddly fluff balls that are now part of our humble little farm! We will be updating you about their growth, raising certain breeds with our toddler, general temperament and all the other adventures of raising backyard chickens!
***A special thank you to Hoover's Hatchery for providing us with 25 pullet chicks to be able to complete this adventure! We were not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.***