chicks in a cardboard box

As I type this, I can hear a flurry of feathers and chirping from the back bedroom. The latest addition to the family has arrived! Allow me to introduce Jolie, Isabelle, Françoise, and Eugenie. (Can you tell we’re on a Francophile kick?)

Despite the chicks’ constant onomatopoeia—cheap-cheap—they were pricier than we’d expected: $75 for four chicks, chicken feed, food and water dispensers, and a sack of cedar shavings. But gosh they’re cute.

Salmon faverolle chick

We bought the chicks from a remarkable neighbor, Amberlin, who is housebound with chronic fatigue syndrome but has made a small business of hatching chickens called Home Schooled Chickens. She seeks out heritage breeds—meaning old breeds of chickens whose lineage traces back before the homogeneity of modern agriculture—and she especially likes the eccentric breeds.

All told, we ended up with two Golden-penciled Hamburgs, one Salmon Faverolle, and one Sultan. One of our chicks—Jolie the Sultan—is from a breed that is said to trace back to Turkey in the 1800s, if not earlier. Full-grown, she’ll look like a feathered John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever.

a happy new chicken owner

Amberlin quickly ran down the checklist of how to keep our chicks alive: food, water, and a cardboard box—preferably filled with cedar shavings and lit with a heat lamp. She also told us not to let the chickens get too constipated. Apparently chicken babies, like human babies, poop a lot.

And speaking of human babies… we’re about to become an aunt and uncle again! Chickens can’t hold a candle to that excitement. Molly, are you a mommy yet?

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