8Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, Reprove a wise man and he will love you.
Proverbs 9:8 NASB
Here's a nice little guide for anyone interested in buying chicks from your local Tractor Supply or feed store.
The only thing I would add to the guide is that if you see "straight run", that means the chicks could be hens OR roosters.
When we moved into our new house last June, we inherited a couple of chickens. I'm not sure why the previous owners left them and took the rest. I assumed it was because they were old or didn't lay well anymore. Less than a week after we moved in, one of the hens died. Not sure why - I just found her in the run dead. I was pretty sure the second one will die soon as well.
That was 9 months ago and we still have the other hen. And I'll admit that I've become pretty attached to her. She is an Australorp and beautiful in her shiny black plumage. Sugar (my wife named her) is inconsistent as a layer, but has a sweet disposition and is now a member of the family.
We have been wanting to get a few more chickens, so last weekend I built a brooder based on a few designs I saw on backyardchickens.com. Basically, I took a clear plastic tote, cut a section out of the lid, and replaced it with hardware cloth. Some shelf liner down on the bottom and you have simple brooder.
Now it was just wait and see what kind of chicks show up at the local Tractor Supply.
Our local store gets its chicks on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I've been calling the past couple of weeks when I'm not too busy with work to ask if they have chicks. Most of the time I've been too late as the chick's are scooped up pretty fast.
Today I called and was informed that they had Buff Orpingtons and Bantams in, straight run and no pullets. Doing a little research on my lunch break showed that the Orpingtons would be a good breed for we wanted, but I didn't want to deal with the possibility of getting a bunch of roosters.
A quick note on Tractor Supply (or at least our's): There is a minimum purchase of 6 chicks, but you can mix and match. I was also told that they don't know what kind of chicks they are getting in until they show up and I even varies store to store. The next closest store to us received Wyandottes last week, but our store did not. It seems like you basically have a chance of getting sex-link pullets, meat chickens, a specialty breed (like the Wyandottes or Buff Orpingtons), and Bantams.
So I was a little bummed that there weren't any pullets, but I had pretty much talked myself into the Buffs and thought that I'd either give away or barcher any roosters in the 6 I'd buy. Knowing my luck, they would all be roosters...
I stopped in on my way home, and to my surprise they had at least 50 pullets! I was told that the truck showed up late today. I was stoked. Now I wouldn't have to worry about 6 roosters.
So what did I do? I bought 4 golden sex-link pullets, 2 Buff Orpingtons, and 2 Bantams. I'm pretty sure we only have 1 rooster Buff, but I don't know about the Banties.
Supposedly with the Orpingtons you can tell the sex in young chicks by the length of the primary wing feathers. Do an Internet search for "feather sexing chicks". Trust me, you shouldn't get any weird results - at least I hope not since I was using my work computer...
I'm not sure why I got the Banties besides the fact that they were so small and cute. One chick is black and the other gray, so I'm really interested in what they look like when they grow up.
The kids are enamored with the chicks and spent the better part of the evening just lying in front of the brooder watching them. I got a few out so they could hold them and the really thought it was funny when a chick would poop on dad's hand. I plan on letting them handle (gently, of course) and spend enough time with them so the chicks become accustomed to people and aren't too skittish or mean.
So this is day one of the next chapter in our chicken saga. Stay tuned for updates.
This morning I got about halfway to work and realized I had left my lunchbox at home. I was bummed at the time, but it turned out to be fortuitous.
Driving back from town with a footlong sub, I spotted something in the road. Something that looked like a tool. Naturally, I stopped to check it out. Turns out it was a very nice pair of adjustable pliers. They were lying in a particularly rough patch of dirt road, so I imagine they just bounced out of a truck bed due to the ridiculous washboards.
Today's find got me to thinking about my habit of stopping and picking up stuff along the road, it's origin, and if anyone else does it.
I don't think I was born with this trait, but if I was it was definitely honed during two summers while I was in college. I worked as a summer intern for the Highway Department and those guys were pros at finding all kinds of good stuff along roads and in ditches. Some were better than others, but all of them would take any opportunity to grab a 5 gallon bucket seen lying in a road ditch. I witnessed a few unbelievable feats of dump truck driving as they would jockey for position to pick up a prized bucket.
I don't think I ever found much other than a few wrenches during that time, but the competition for "road treasure" definitely honed my skills to well above average.
That was about 20 years ago, and I still find treasure every now and then. I think it helps that I do quite a bit of driving for work and travel many miles of highway every year. It's probably not the best driving practice, but I do find myself checking out the shoulders and ditches for goodies a lot.
As I was contemplating these things over my sub, I tried to come up with my best find along the road. There was that time I found $20 on a pile of plowed snow, several quality buckets, and a 16" Cresent wrench.
But I think my best score was when I found a pristine milk crate along a rural highway. A milk crate? That's not that special. However, when I stopped to get the crate I discovered two chains not 20 feet away. Both of them were practically new, 3/8" chains about 12 feet long. I keep one in my work and personal trucks as tow chains and they have both been used several times.
About the time I finished the sandwich, the morality of picking up "stuff" (the wife might call it junk) along the road came into question.
Is it considered stealing? What if the person comes back looking for whatever they have lost? Should there be a time frame for a "grace period" after something comes to end up along a road before it's to pick it up?
I'm not sure if I have the answers. I think once it hits the road or ditch, then it's fair game. Then again, I might not feel the same if those were originally my pliers that I had paid good money for and then lost...
Does anyone else "treasure hunt" along the road? I know I can't be the only one. Last week I spied a receiver hitch insert along a lonely stretch of road and made a mental note to stop and pick it up on the way back by. Well, when I came back through a few hours later it was gone. So I know there's at least one more person out there that does it.
Keep your loads secured and tailgates up.