Guess what? I'm getting chicks tomorrow.
Or maybe I'm not.
As is pretty common with me, I, once again, find myself trapped in indecision.
Here's my current plan, based on my two, local farm & feed stores' chick delivery schedule:
2x Silver-laced Wyandottes
2x Black Australorp
2x either Buff Orpington or Light Brahma (not sure yet)
My birthday. Damn, I'm getting old.
2x Rhode Island Red
2x Barred Rock
This is where the indecision comes in. As most of you know, a little more than one month ago, I moved to a rural property that has, to my knowledge, never had chickens on it before. After some research (and determining my own personal feelings), I decided *not* to purchase chicks through any of the more well-known mail-order hatcheries - all very far away from Oregon - because I wanted to limit the amount of stress "my" new babies would undergo during shipping. I also wanted to buy as locally as possible.
So...I have been talking to two of my local farm and feed stores, anticipating the arrival of my chicks tomorrow and Thursday. Since everything I had read led me to believe that all chicks are routinely vaccinated against Marek's disease, I had assumed these hatcheries supplying my farm and feed stores would vaccinate, too. Wrong-o!!! Neither of the hatcheries (Dunlap in Idaho or Phinney in Walla, Walla, Washington) will be vaccinating prior to shipping to the stores!
I have also now missed my window of opportunity to buy from the well-known hatcheries because they are now sold-out (except for cockerels) until pretty late in the season.
While I'm not anxious to vaccinate these babes myself, having never done anything like this before, I would do it if I had to, however, everything I've read says that you need to vaccinate them within a day of being hatched or the vaccine isn't effective.
Old timers are telling me that if the property has not had chickens before and I'm not planning to show my birds, then there is no need to vaccinate. Further, there are numerous strains of Marek's and the vaccine only protects against one strain - so my birds still may be vulnerable. Even others tell me they have never had their birds vaccinated and they have never had any trouble. Then why the fuss over this thing called Marek's?
Is my fear really about something else entirely and not at all about a poultry disease? Why am I so dang nervous and uncertain about my first venture into chick-rearing? Is it that I don't trust myself? That maybe none of the knowledge that I've acquired in my lifetime will actually help me keep these little guys safe and sound? I really don't want this event to be a deadly disaster for my chicks! "Suck it up", I say to myself in a stern voice. "Be the farmgirl you believe yourself to be, make the best decision you can, and deal with it!"
But then there's the part about me getting chicks in two separate batches, two days apart, from two different feed stores. Is this a problem? (Repeat earlier mantra to myself ...the one about sucking it up.)
In the mean time, I aspire to:
...be farm-smart like Robin at Season's Greetings Farm
...have morning tea with my hens like Twinville at Laughing Orca Ranch...
...have the sense to know that an impacted crop can be helped with olive oil and sand like DeconstructingVenus at A Journey in your Dreams...
...take gratuitous chicken photos like Michelle at Sugarcreekstuff...
...tell wonderful chicken anecdotes like El at Fast Grow the Weeds ...
...and figure out how to convince my hens to assist in making awesome compost like Meg and Kelly have at Future House Farm...
In parting, I leave you with my own gratuitous photo...of my Easter wreath:
What is it made of, you ask? Why, eggs, of course! :-)