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Urban Chick

This spring when our neighbor was ordering chicks, he asked if we wanted to add any to the order and we decided to order five little Welsummer chicks. Welsummers lay a dark chocolate brown egg are good layers, winter hardy, and personable. Just about perfect for our flock. Several weeks later we were up for a Farm Weekend when our five little balls of striped fluff arrived. Heritage chicks aren't the yellow little Peeps inspirations everyone always think of, oh no, each breed is very different and they are all delightful. Our Welsummers looked like little bumble bees with vertical striping (others in the family say they look like tarantulas, but I think bumble bee is more endearing). One weekend of watching them and we decided we needed to brood them ourselves in our little town home. So at the end of the weekend, we made the trek home with chicks, brooding box, heat lamp, water and feed dispensers, and a bucket of chick starter. Wahoo!

It has been an incredible experience! Our ladies stay in the master bed room since it has a door that locks so we can control the access of their adoring fans. Their digs have expanded to three boxes with connecting doors and deep litter (read practically no odor), and they have a grand time scratching around and dust bathing. They're starting to get the hang of sleeping on the roost but they still fall off part way through the night. The girls love catching grass hoppers and digging up dandelions for them to eat, and every day we have chick time.

After about the fourth week we started pitching in some worms from our vermiculture (worm composting) operation every few days. They love the treat! When we ran out of commercial chick starter feed we ground up a wide variety of grains (white wheat, spelt, millet, amaranth, rye, oat groats, lentils, flax, and masa flour) in our hand grain-mill and they've done well with it. A little dash of apple-cider vinegar in their water has helped the water stay clean longer.

Who knew that five little chickens in one little urban town home could be so much fun. Our advice: even if you don't have space for full sized chickens, find a local farm that will let you brood their chicks for them and do it!

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