teeny weeny chicks!


Our first meat chickens arrived yesterday!

Tiny weeny handfuls of days old fluff, on enormous feet. 




Have you seen many meat chickens? They don't look much at all like laying hens. All upper body and sturdy legs. But at day old they all look the same.

Cute as (chicken?) pie. (With apologies to all vegetarian friends.)





Tilly and her friends showed each chicken where the food and water was (in case they'd missed it) and gave them all names, the majority of whom seem to be Tinkerbell and Pliny (huh? as in, the younger? Seriously, don't ask me. Most days I have no idea where she's come from.)

The kids are all "these are the chickens we are going to grow then kill then eat" which might sound dreadful but comes out all practical and very natural. 

(Although I don't actually think we will kill them ourselves – we'll see.)

Like you, like all sensible people, I'm deeply rattled by our disconnectedness from food. Particularly kids' disconnectedness. There's something awesome about the respect we have for these animals we hand raise, and cherish, and nourish, who will in turn nourish us. 

(If they stayed this cute there'd be a real problem.)


19 Comments on “teeny weeny chicks!

Charley @Secret_Water
October 20, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Showing them the food and water, tres cool.

lily boot
October 20, 2011 at 10:37 pm

they are ridiculously cute! And their feet ARE huge. What kind are they? And what kind of layers do you have? We are halfway through building our chicken run and will then hopefully settle 3 or 4 chickens in – I’d love Barnevelders or Orpingtons – they look straight out of Chicken Run! Pliny is seriously funny 🙂 You’ll have to introduce the kidlets to the Roman Mysteries – they are a series of books – well into the teens now – set in the 1st century AD – they start just before the eruption of Vesuvius – their are 4 children from different backgrounds and each book sees them enmeshed in another mystery/adventure, always with wonderful historical detail. They are great – very exciting – probably need to wait a couple more years but there is indeed an appearance by Pliny the Younger!

October 20, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Ha! Awesome. I will. I have White Leghorns and Isa Browns and one Barnevelder whom I inherited. When were talking about buying in the hundreds for our commercial laying flock on the farm, I lean towards the Isas, but Im lobbying for the Leghorns. They dont go broody, and they lay every day. Theyve got the best laying record of all available layers. So if its reliable layers you want, theyre my bet, but I have to say I love a Barnie, or a Light Sussex theyre so pretty! And if youre looking for pretty, have you seen the silver laced wyandotte?!?! (far out I love chickens.)

October 20, 2011 at 10:54 pm

and where have all my apostrophes vanished to?

Melanie @ M&M
October 20, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I love that your kids accept the cycle of life so matter of factly. I have to admit looking at that picture of them playing with the chicks, I thought, do they realize they are going to EAT them later!?! Kids are so amazing : )

I really don’t like chickens (bad experience w/a chicken coop as a child) but I enjoy your posts about them and the pictures.

Alex Nolan
October 21, 2011 at 2:34 am

Our chicks hatched (from our own eggs, from our own hens and cockerel) on 3rd July. They are now about 16 weeks which by all accounts is about 2 weeks off point of lay. They are nowhere near ready to be laying, as well as it now being winter here so they won’t start until the spring, but they are quite cute! They went from cute chick, to ugly, gangly teenager and now are back up to cute – in the ‘young adult’ type way! I think out of 6 chicks that hatched we probably have 3 hens and 3 cockerels, and the kids have always known (with this batch and with previous batches) that we eat the cockerels. We do kill them ourselves (well, my dad does, and then plucks them) but I draw them and the kids are fully involved every step of the way (yes, really, the kids watch the killing bit too – their choice not mine!) and they are so accepting of it all. I too think that we are too disconnected from the food chain and want to impress upon my boys that meat does not exclusively come from the supermarket on a disgusting polystyrene tray. Love your chicks and pigs and all other assorted ‘Good Life’ things – Tom and Barbara would be very proud!

October 21, 2011 at 3:00 am

sooooo fluffy!!! /insert high pitched squeal

Darren (Green Change)
October 21, 2011 at 8:16 am

Cool! How many did you get, and what breed are they? Where did you get them from? How long until they’re ready to kill? I need details!

Let me know if you want a hand when it comes time for “turning them into meat” (as Hannah says).

October 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm

aah, this is great- look forward to following this one – we have an equally pragmatic 5 year old. who offered to eat our pet bunny when he had to be put down – eep that was a bit much! but the excess of roosters – yep – glad we are being up front about that one! nothing like stock..

October 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm

We’ve killed and eaten our roosters, the hens we keep. Problem is, I actually can’t bring myself to do the deed myself…wimpy I know and hubby just hasn’t been around enough to get it done. The kids, however, are quite happy to be involved every step of the way. I’m with you on the wyandotte’s – we have a couple. Also love the aracuanas.

October 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm

They are so cute!I love that your kids accept the cycle of life so matter of factly.

October 22, 2011 at 12:01 am

i want some!!

October 22, 2011 at 4:16 am

Please tell more – my daughter is studying Rome. Title? Author? These sound great.

October 22, 2011 at 4:20 am

I can do eggs, milk and veggies of our own, but I’m not brave enough for the meat part ….. yet.

I have gone from being a city girl to a farm girl over the last two years. I wonder what the next two years will do to me.

October 22, 2011 at 4:44 am

We raised meat birds for the first time this year. Ours were Cornish X which are supposed to finish about 2 weeks earlier than average meat breeds. They did finish “on time” but those birds were just unnatural! They sat at the trough and ate, hardly moving away all day, wouldn’t walk up the ramp into shelter, when another walked over them they wouldn’t even move or cheep – they just lay there and got trod on – even at 6 weeks! These freakish birds would eat so much they ruptured their crop – we lost 8 out of 27 as a result. Next year, we will be getting some other meat breed and just feed and raise for a couple extra weeks. Sheesh.

We have experience butchering chicken because we have always had laying hens and would eat the roosters when they would show up in the new batches. Our friends knew this and enlisted our help in a 5 family project. Those families wanted to raise their own birds but had no experience or anyone to turn to when it came time to process so this is what we did. All 6 families got chicks at the same time so they would finish roughly the same time. We all raised them independently. Then, we transported our birds to one home and joined together for the *1st Annual Great Northwest Chicken Harvest*. We’d planned ahead for tables, kill-cones, rented plucker, plastic bags, etc. with everyone bringing coolers with ice, cutting boards and sharp knives. All of the adults participated to the level they were able and some of the kids opted to help as well. We showed them each step and then everyone got to work. We processed 75 meat birds (over 400 pounds!) in about 6 hours.

Everyone was so proud to be taking care of the business of getting their own food. We plan on working together every year now.

I am hoping next year to get speckled Sussex to replace my old laying hens. And, since Sussex is a good dual breed, we can start raising our own meat chicks and layer replacements in the future.

Sarah @fignutmum
October 23, 2011 at 10:07 am

Just last night the kids and I were talking about different types of chooks and which ones would be better for eating cause they have more meat than others.

We have chooks and ducks for eggs and pets. But we have been known to eat a naughty duck. I love my kids know the connections of where their food comes from.

Oh a tip if you do kill your own. Make sure your axe is very sharp. Also two people are best.
We are yet to eat one of our chooks and hubby did the duck when it needed doing.

Helen aka countryscrapper
October 24, 2011 at 9:15 am

Kids certainly are very disconnected from their food source these days but I am so pleased to be raising country kids, who are under no illusions that the poddy lamb we are currently feeding will soon go back to the paddock and then be carted off to market to become lamb chops. They know our chooks are for eggs, but others are raised for eating, and they certainly know milk doesn’t come from the shops.
LOL about your kids names for them, love how kids heads work sometimes, too funny.

October 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Icant wait to her more about this journey. I think it is a great thing that your children are being connected to this process.

October 25, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Mate: got 15, we THINK they are cornish cross but the hatchery didn’t exactly tell us… they were a big batch South Coast delivery to about 15 of us all together, some people are raising a handful, some are raising 50. Specially bred to put on weight fast. Process approx 8 weeks but we think we might go a bit longer… The hatchery website here: xxx


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