Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Chick Fever

Right before spring each year, there is a fever that goes around. It is a disorder that comes with many symptoms including extreme anticipation. It is an illness that can lead to an infatuation with "fluffy butts." Chick Fever is a real thing, it afflicts many and the only cure for it is to give in! Okay I guess your don’t HAVE to give in, but you sure as heck better not walk into a feed store any time in the next couple months!

So what exactly is chick fever? Well if you don't know, you have never had it. And while some may say you’re lucky, others will feel pity for you. Once you get it, you may never be able to get rid of it. You see, chick fever is the overwhelming desire to get baby chicks, by any means necessary. You can hatch your own, buy them at local feed stores and even order them through the mail.

But how does one become inflicted with this infirmity? Well the first time you catch it, it could be just by walking by a pen full of day old chicks at Tractor Supply. But once you have it, each year you will get the itch again when your Facebook newsfeed starts filling with photos of chicks your friends just brought home. Yes, your newsfeed will fill up with baby chicks, because once you get chicks, you start hanging out a new crowd of people who have chicks, because your “normal” friends and family just don’t “get it.”

You will look at these little bundles of puff and go “awwwww!” Or maybe you will walk through a feed store and spy the empty containers with the heat lamps ready to go for the first shipment of spring chicks. Of course you HAVE to find an employee and ask when said bundle of joy are expected. And you WILL end up "popping" by on that date "just to see what they have."

Be warned, the fever can escalate!!!!

What starts as a “Gee I want to have some chickens,” will quickly turn into a kid in a candy store situation. The different breeds, colors, egg colors, etc. You will want one of these and two of those. You will start requesting hatchery catalogs just so you can curl up with a blanket on those cold winter night and dream of what to add to your flock. Heck the oldest country kid wants a Dorking, just because of its name!

For those of us who have already fallen victim to chick fever, we know what needs to be done. But for those of you who might catch chick fever for the first time this year, you need to be prepared. You may not be able to walk out of that feed store without chicks. You may think you have great will power but in the face of cuteness, you will crack. So what do you need to be ready?

As with any animal you bring into your family, it is a serious decision to undertake the care and well-being of another living thing. While chicks are cute, make sure you can LEGALLY have them where you live BEFORE you buy any. Be prepared to feed and water, clean the coop, and collect the eggs….. even in winter. Some days when it is below zero (like -20) I go out ever few hours to make sure our birds have plenty of water. Water is VERY important to chickens and egg production. If you can’t see yourself, frozen finger tips and all, then chicks might not before you.

You will need a broader for your chicks. You just became their mom and you can’t sit on them, but you have to keep them warm. There are different options out there for doing this. We just use a rubber tote and a heat lamp. Anything can be used to make a broader. We have used a guinea pig pen before. You are going to need bedding for them, like wood shavings. They will need a water source and feed made just for chicks.


Be aware that these oh so cute little things will poop, often. And as they grow, they go through an ugly phase as they grow their feathers in. You will need to provide not only for their daily care, but for their safety too. Wild predators aren't the only ones you have to be on the lookout for. Your cat or dog might just love a chicken nugget.

What I am saying is, before you give into the fever, be ready, think it through, and then join the ranks of us who each spring get the itch! Trust me, chick fever isn't that bad..... well except for the anticipation...... Each spring, the waiting, the wanting..... Yes, folks, I have it bad!

***WARNING*** Chick fever CAN mutate into the deep desire for other types of poultry, usually of the aquatic kind. Yes I am talking ducklings. Be warned!

**Homestead Tips on Tuesday is a weekly series where we help you learn skills, tips, and trick to help you on your journey of homesteading. Many places post list of things you should/could do as far as homesteading skill, but I feel lists are at times overwhelming and can make people give up before they even start. So every Tuesday I share one thing for you to try or consider. I hope you join us every Tuesday and I would love to hear about your adventures with each weeks topic.**

16 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this post immensely. I have the fever bad, but the hubby says no. I guess he can be the one to take my daughter to "just look" at the feed store this year.

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    1. What a party pooper! We have to get him infected by any means necessary! LOL

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  2. Great post. I think I have suffered from 'chick fever' my whole life - ever since my grandmother took us to the markets and bought six day-old chicks. I don't think Mum knew anything about it until we arrived home with the babies.

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    1. I contracted mine very early on in life too! LOL

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  3. I got the fever yesterday when I went to Tractor Supply! It was hard leaving without them!

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    1. You left empty handed?!?!? You are stronger then I!

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  4. WE aren't adding to our flock this year. Me-SAD!

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    1. We are but we are hatching and it is still to cold to ship our eggs. ME - SAD too I soooooo can't wait to get our bator started.

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  5. Love this. We used to keep ours in the corner of the kitchen until they started to get out and pop everywhere. Now we use an old bird cage with a heat light and wind protection. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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    1. In the kitchen!?!?! LOL Wow you are hard core!

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  6. My daughter wants to move to the country so she can have chickens. I say more power to her, lol. They're cute but I couldn't kill them or watch them die :( Thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop!
    -All that's Jas

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    1. We don't kill our hens. They give us eggs and are pet/4H projects for our kids.

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  7. OMG this is so funny and true! My one friend, who is amazing, turned her back yard into a 1 acre garden, and has over 80 different breeds of chickens..and the best part is that she grows veggies and takes the eggs to local food banks! Is that not just amazing! But she has so many breeds of chickens and some of them lay wild colored eggs. Its so fun to go over when babies are born and the kids get to play with them. They love it! Thanks for linking up at Totally Terrific Tuesday! I love having you around! Pinned and shared!
    Jess LiveRandomlySimple

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