Chicken Drama

I’ve wanted chickens for years and my dream came true this week! I took the kids down to IFA this week to go chick shopping. Even if you aren’t interested in buying chicks, you should take your kids to IFA to visit the chicks. The chicks make a lot of cute noises and stick their heads out of the crates to eat and drink. We went last year a few times just to visit the animals. In a few weeks they will have bunnies for sale in the store, too. The people have always been extremely kind and will let the kids get a bunny out to pet.
Speaking of kind, while we were there buying chicks the IFA workers gave the kids a box of Peeps to snack on. A chick snack for some chick shoppers. (And check out the cart. The carts are awesome! They’re made to carry big bags of assorted animal food but my kids just like to ride on them.)

The chicks are in these stacked crates. There can be hundreds of chicks in the store at a time; their busy noises are adorable. All the kids in the store came to look and I noticed that none of the adults could resist stopping to take a peek either. Seriously, take your kids to see them; it’s so much fun!

Chicks sticking their heads out to get a drink.

I told the lady helping me I wanted one of each kind of chick they had. I am most excited about the Ameraucana breed which have blue or green eggs. They had a big poster of the chicken breeds so I took a picture of the types I bought so that I could remember.

chicken breed poster

This chicken coop was priced at $489. We’ll see what I can whip up. No way in Hades are the birds getting a nicer house than me :).

chicken coop at the store

Here are three of the gals we brought home!

raising backyard hens

Here’s a story for you. I had the woman at IFA just get me one of each breed. The chicks are hard to catch because you have to stick your hand in the crate and they run all over squawking their heads off. She was busy catching the birds while I was getting a feeder, watering thing, and some chick food. I didn’t really pay attention to the birds she picked out. She put them in boxes that looked like the old Happy Meal boxes that close at the top over the handles. My kids were running around and I was trying to get what I needed, so I didn’t even look at the chicks she picked out.

I got home and we open up the boxes and 2 of the chicks have something all over their bums. I didn’t even know what it was. I finally realized that it was a huge (large shooter marble-sized) clump of poop! It was disgusting. Things like this creep me out. I want to be a farmer-woman but I don’t really want to be a farmer-woman. Anyhow, I knew this couldn’t be good. I was sure that their bowels were blocked which would kill them. So I manned up and took care of business. I held their little tooshie in warm water and cleaned them off with a cotton swab. It was awful; I was dry heaving part of the time. I have the weakest gag reflex.

After all that the two little birds started shaking uncontrollably. One was even sitting on its bum with its legs out and its eyes rolling back in its head. It was dying! I called my egg lady (who I buy fresh eggs from now) and asked her what to do. She said to wrap them up in a warm towel because they were probably cold from the water. I did just that and watched them for hours. It was really very dramatic; our babies were on the verge of death! To make a long story short, after our dramatic afternoon they finally started to get better and are now doing fine. One is even starting to regrow some feathers that she was missing. I do however have to wipe their little bums daily.

I’m sure you are all pretty concerned about this. After a little googling I have discovered that it is a condition called pasty butt (scientific huh). You can read all about it here.

I called Thomas to tell him what a good chicken farmer I had been and he just laughed at me. I am so proud of myself for helping them when part of me just wanted to return them for healthier chicks.

I’ve read that the more you handle them at this stage the friendlier they will be. So we have been treating them like pets. We get them out and hold them; we took them outside yesterday when it was nice and warm so they could explore a bit. The cats were super interested in them. I let them get close but kept a good eye on them. The chicks will even fall asleep when you hold them and pet their heads. It’s beyond cute.

Notice the cat creeper in this picture:

I plan on letting the ladies roam the yard during the day when they are bigger and they’ll stay in a coop at night. One reason to let them roam is to help with bugs. Who needs to spray your yard when chickens can just eat the spiders. Speaking of spiders, check out what we found in the bathroom today. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pee during the night again.

It’s a Black Widow FYI. Awesome. Maybe I’ll let the chicks roam the house too. Ok, maybe not.

Happy Friday! Anyone Hunger Gamin’ it up this weekend?

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10 Responses
  1. When you said they were sick in one of the other posts, my first thought was ‘pasty butt’. But, honestly, I thought since your mom had chickens and your grandparents had chickens…. that you probably had already thought of that and it was something else. I’m so glad you have a neighbor friend who you can call 🙂 The more you ‘hobby farm’ the more you get used to the stuff that is kinda gross and hard. Not that it ever gets fun, but you can take care of business without the gag reflex–honest!

    1. I’ll be honest. I was so uninvolved in my parents chickens. They were Adam’s and I was in high school when they got them… I am totally learning for myself on this one. So anything else I should know you just tell me! Thanks for the encouragement and I love the term “hobby farm”! That is me!

    1. The names. Oh the names. They are highly debatable at the moment. May wants to name them crazy things like “shingles on the tower”. I, on the other hand, am leaning toward old lady names like Pearl and Ethel.

      The internet says you only have to wipe them for 2ish weeks… I hope that true but I’ll let you know!

  2. Melissa, first of all. You can buy chicken diapers if you want your chickens in the house! I wouldn’t do it, but I’ve heard of someone who actually does. Second of all, chickens are a blast. I love mine. Yes, handling them will make them friendlier. And chicks are adorable. We’ve been going to our farm store just to look at chicks too. Congratulations on your babies!

  3. We are headed to IFA later today! Your story made me laugh, but seriously good job on saving the babies! We had a black widow in our kitchen in Provo. Yuck! Not cool.

  4. I just drove by the IFA in Provo like yesterday which was shocking, I didn’t even know we had one. Good tip on the chicks. Also, does this mean you are now potty training 4 little ones? That is a strange amount money for a chicken coop but happy chickens equal more eggs??

  5. gab

    I love that chicken poster! I am dying to know where I can find one that not only includes all thee breeds but also has the chicks, hen, rooster, and eggs. Genius!

    1. Melissa

      It’s on the wall at an IFA in Utah. I assume that it came from their chick supplier… I love it too! If you find one you should let me know.

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.

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