There are many signs of spring in the country. Robins and Meadow Larks, Easter Lilies coming up on the old house place, the roar of motorcycles traveling in convoy down the country roads (I've always thought that must be such fun!). One of my favorite signs is chick days at the local feed store.
Every spring, the local feed stores bring in chicks of all breeds for sale. They put them in big bins, or metal stock tanks, and everyone has a chance to replenish their flock as well as purchasing butcher chickens. Sold in lots of 6, you can mix or match to meet your needs and preferences.
Thanks to my friend Pat King who posts notices on Facebook, I always have a heads up when the chicks are due to arrive. This year, I went for Barred Rocks. They are dual purpose chickens. They make great layers who are also good meat birds. I bought 16, and the girls at the store helped me to box them up.
A few years ago, I bought a rabbit hutch that works perfectly for a brooder. I can take the mesh floor out and just put them in the bottom with pine shavings until they are older, then replace the floor and keep them clean and healthy.
When they have their feathers, they are transferred outside to the bigger rabbit cage on the porch. We installed a little roost for them, and one end is boxed in to give them warmth and shelter. They live there until they are old enough to move to the chicken tractor.
I will be keeping 4 of these chicks for new layers, and butchering the other 10 for the freezer. The grand kids always love to help with this activity, and I also have someone Greg works with who wants to come and learn the process. Now I am anxiously awaiting guinea days in June!