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Posts Tagged ‘Tractor Supply Company’


I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a drug. A heavy- hitting, fly -to -the moon, squee-all-afternoon kind of drug that leaves you high and darn near breathless with euphoria.

Raise your hand if you are nodding along because you know what I’m talking about. {I’ll pretend I see you :lol:}

When we moved, as you may remember, one of the primary criteria for the new digs was the ability to have chickens. You may also recall that we ended up with horses instead.

Hunny finally got tired of me whining decided that despite the chaos, it was ok for me to order some chickens. I had been looking online for a while and came to the realization that it was going to be a few months out before all the breeds I wanted were ready to ship.

I spent the entire morning shopping. While I generally despise shopping {as you know because you’ve been reading along all this time} the only kind of shopping I don’t completely hate is- {wait for it……} shopping for chickens. 😆  There is something about checking out your breeds and then finding the best dates and prices on them.

This time, we were going to do it right, without falling victim to chicken math. Every time I’ve gone to buy chickens, I’ve fallen prey to it. Literally every. Single. Time. {Like, the time I Almost Did Something Bad and then ended up with Babies anyhow…….}

This time was going to be different, though. “Why,” you might ask? Well, we’re in the country for one thing, and for another thing, I was planning on getting more than the 23 I ended up with last time.

So you see, there was no reason for chicken math to creep up on me this time because I was already going to get as many as I wanted. 😆

I spent all morning shopping online, and had my breeds and quantities picked out. The only real issue was that I couldn’t get them until the end of June, which is, well, meh.  😥  😆

I thought, “Gee, well, as long as I’m down at tractor Supply, I’ll ask them how their shipping works. After all, the hatchery I talked to this morning would mix large fowl with bantams with no problem.”

So I asked. And they told me no. No biggy; I can order my silkies in a smaller quantity.

In the meantime, my oldest daughter had found another cool looking breed that she though would be neat to have. And I thought, “No biggy; I’ll just order a few of those and tack them on to the order.”

Are you laughing yet? 😆

Come to find out, yes, there’s a minimum order of 25 chickens. BUT. You have to order the breeds in quantities of 5. I called Hunny and talked it over with him before I did anything. And bless his heart, he was fine with it!

Initially, I was going to have a total of 31 without the guineas; 8 silkies and 23 large fowl. Because I was not going to pay megabucks to have the 90% accurate DNA testing done, the silkies were going to be straight run.

When it’s straight run, you can figure on about a 50/50 mix of boys and girls. So, in reality, that means we would only end up keeping 4 silkies, unless I could con talk Hunny into breeding and selling down the road. {Keeping my fingers crossed, but not holding my breath!}

So, in reality, that would put me around 27 chickens, which is a good amount of chickens.  😆

One other thing we decided on was getting guineas. Now, you may be scratching your head and wondering why, since we would have plenty of chickens.

Guineas are great at getting bugs. So are chickens, but the specialty of guineas is ticks. And, they will eat the bad bugs in the garden without eating the garden {I’ve heard- we’ll see- I’m a bit skeptical on that one, though}. While I’ve heard guineas are messy and loud, they are very good at alerting to predators and other unannounced “visitors.”

Another primary reasons guineas are such a good thing when you live in the country is that they will help control the snake population. I could do without snakes, so this seems like a win-win to me!

One of my bigger concerns is that because they roam, they might get chased by hunting dogs and then shot. In theory, this land is off-limits, but since we’re new and some haven’t figured that out, we’ve seen hunters from the hunting club out here. I don’t remember if I wrote it up, but there was one set of hunters in the front pasture with my HORSES that went and dragged a deer carcass right in front of them and my daughter who was out there. Ya, things are going to change next year!

We’ll have to see where we land with that.

I did a lot of looking online, and I finally ordered 15. Tractor Supply had a minimum of 25, and I just do not want that many.

Which ones did I settle on? I ordered 5 of each:

Lavender guinea: lavenderguinea

Royal Purple guinea:  royalpurpleguinea

and White guinea:   whiteguinea

Now. Onto the chickens! 😀

I actually did not order silkies today. Tractor Supply is getting bantams on Friday, so I’m going down there first thing in the morning to dig through them like we did last time. Hopefully, they will have a good variety, or else I may order the ones I want in a few weeks. That would put them here late June.

I did, however, order 5 Buff Orpington pullets. eggs and grass 010

The two big yellow chickens were our BOs, Butternut and Daisy. Butternut was the flock mistress, and would protect the chicks from the dogs. She would even peck Little Dog, who learned she didn’t like having her nose poked. Butternut was huge, and it was awesome to see her fluff her neck feathers out.

This was one of my absolute favorite breeds because of being a dual-purpose breed: good for meat and eggs. {We don’t eat our friends, though. 🙂 }

They are good all around- good in confinement and heat and cold tolerant. It’s also listed as a “Recovering Heritage Breed” with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

Blue Andalusian.   BA3I got 5 Blue Andis, too.  After having our hearts broken saying Goodbye, Dear Jasmine, I vowed if I ever got the chance, we would get more Blue Andalusians, but all girls {pullets}. So we did. 😀

Andalusians are a “Threatened Heritage Breed,” and they are simply gorgeous! They are medium layers of nice white eggs and are heat tolerant.

If you’ve seen pictures of my eggs before we moved, you will no doubt know that none of my flocks are ever complete without Easter Eggers. EEs are commonly found at hatcheries listed as Ameraucanas, but because they come from hatcheries, they are actually Easter Egges. This is because hatchery birds don’t meet the breed standard all the time; some of them are rumpless; some are muffless and/or beardless, and of course, some of them lay brown eggs.

Out of our last flock, we had one that laid a brown egg; two laid olive eggs {yay for olive eggers!} and the rest laid the typical blue/green eggs.

They are SO cute as chicks because they look like chipmunks! chicks1

EEs are an all-around great chicken- they do well confined and are a cold and heat tolerant breed. I can’t say enough good about this breed. I settled on ordering 10 of these girls.

As I was choosing breeds, I was looking for a balance of egg color. I, personally, like to see a nice variety of egg colors in the carton. A very nice brown egg layer that is something special to look at is the Silver Laced Wyandotte.

silverlacedwyandotte

SLWs are another breed that are cold and heat tolerant and do ok being confined. While I was happy to see that this breed is listed as “Recovering,” it didn’t deter me from ordering 5. 😆

Before getting chickens, I had no idea the wide variety of colors chickens could come in. I admit to going a bit hog-wild this time. 😆

One of the egg-colors I have always drooled over was the really dark brown chocolatey eggs.  cuckoomaraneggs

YUMMY!!! Marans lay these eggs, so I got 5 Cuckoo Marans. I was particularly pleased, because Cuckoo Marans look a bit like Barred (Plymouth) Rocks, and since we weren’t getting any, I knew my middle daughter would be thrilled, because her favorites were the BRs.  cuckoomaran

As I was thinking about breeds, my daughter noticed the Silver Lakenvelder, and I remembered that it was also listed as a “Threatened” breed. I thought, “I’ll just add a few of those” and that’s how we ended up ordering 5. The Lakenvelder lays a nice white egg and does well in confinement and is heat tolerant.

silverlakenvelder

One of the more interesting and unique chicken breeds is the Silver Spangled Hamburg, also known as “the polka-dotted chicken,”

silverspangledhamburg

When I discovered these a few years ago, I swore I’d get some if I didn’t have to order a boatload. So, I ordered 5. The Silver Spangled Hamburg is on the “Watch” list. It lays a white egg; does best free-ranging and is heat tolerant.

So. Let’s recap:

Brown egg layers: Buff Orpingtons (5), Silver Laced Wyandottes (5)

Dark chocolate eggs: Cuckoo Maran (5)

White egg layers: Blue Andalusian (5), Silver Spangled Hamburg (5) and Silver Lakenvelder (5)

Colored eggs: Easter Eggers (10)

Regular math: 23 large fowl + 8 silkies= 31 + 8 guineas= 39. {I probably would have rounded to an even 40.}

Chicken math: 40 large fowl + 8 slkies + 15 guineas= running afowl of 63 birds! 😆

Ahhhh, my loves, I’ve been waiting! 😆

**pictures courtesy of Google, My Pet Chicken, Meyer Hatchery, Feathersite, Backyard Chickens, etc etc
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Yep. Almost. And I was surrounded by peer pressure. With urgency. And pleading.

Y’all know it’s spring, right? And who knows what spring means (besides a lot of wind here)?

Anyone?

Ok, how about a hint. I’ll give a single hint.

Tractor Supply.

Oh come on, now, really?  No one knows the answer to this?

Sheesh, people!  😆

Ok, how about this…. during the spring at Tractor Supply, certain, um, “things” are available for 3 months………..

Yes, you in back there? What’s that? Chicks, you say?

Ding ding ding, we have a winner!

Chick days are here!!!  SQUEEEEE!!!!!!!! 

We went there because my parents were visiting and had never seen chicks.

We (me and the girls) were drooling (hence the peer pressure). The girls had a solid plan to sweet-talk Daddy into more chicks. He actually agreed, with a few conditions.

1) Get rid of Butternut if she’s not laying.

2) Get rid of Daisy if she won’t behave.

Well hum. Oh the dilemma!

When I first started learning about chicken breeds years ago, I fell madly in love with ***silkies.  Can you see why?  😆

The thing with silkies is that they are bantams, or a small breed. Most chicken breeds have bantam counterparts. Silkies, however, are true bantams in that they don’t have a full-size counterpart. This makes them ideal for first time chickens or pets.

Besides having feathers on their feet, they also have 5 toes, which is not a “standard” chicken trait (the norm is 4 toes). Because they don’t have traditional wing structure, it’s harder to sex them as day-old chicks. There is only a single place I know of where you can buy day old female silkie chicks, and it’s not Tractor Supply…………….

And there are other bantams that are fun in addition to other full-size breeds. For example, frizzles.

Frizzle actually refers to the feathers, as they are curly. You can have full size frizzles in addition to bantam frizzles. Because the frizzle is a gene mutation, you can get all kinds of breeds in the “frizzle” variety.

      

But here’s the thing……….

Bantams lay smaller eggs, as in, not full size eggs. It’s more of a two-to-one ratio, more or less. I definitely could not count on them as being “real” egg layers, if you get my drift. They really would be more like pets.

And that means, it’s hard for me to justify giving up a good egg layer, even if she’s currently got a bad habit.

But, because they take up considerably less space than regular chickens, I could get more of them……… if I was willing to give up my two buff orpingtons (and that would leave me with only our adopted BO, Sunny).

I don’t know if I need to say this or not, but I’m kinda attached to all of my girls.  😀

Another factor is cost. Unless I want to pay $10 a chick with a minimum order of 9 bantams, I have to get them locally, in which case, they are all going to be straight run. Straight run means they haven’t been sexed, which is a guarantee you are going to get boys.

In a perfect world, hunny would offer to build me a bantam coop and run, and I’d fill it; finding homes if need be for the roos that we ended up with. His project list is pretty big right now, though, so I’m not sure I feel right about asking him to do that.

Now, it could be that if I was actually IN the country, I wouldn’t care about having boys, and would start breeding them myself.

But I’m not. So I can’t.  😥

And that, my friends, is the only reason I almost did something bad, but in the end- didn’t. 😦

Fortunately, chick days don’t end until May, so there is still time for chicken math to strike again!

***Some of these pictures are courtesy of My Pet Chicken
http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/Silkie-Bantam-B100.aspx

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Yep.  I confess.  I did it again.  I really had no intention of doing it again, given my track record, but I simply could not help myself. I figure, hey, I got permission, right? So now at least I know I am not in this alone- I have an enabler.  😀

Chicken Math strikes again.  I got more chicks! 😆

Tuesday, I decided to head to Tractor Supply. Hunny had gotten me “chick starter kit.”  The feeder that came in that set was not the kind I had in mind, but thought I’d give it a try and see how it went.  Butternut had gotten her foot caught, and flopped out backwards.  Had this happened slightly to the left, she could have landed in the water and drowned.

After the foot incident, I decided I should try the other feeder. It didn’t even occur to me that it was Tuesday. Tuesdays are the days here when my TSC gets the new batch of chicks during chick days. Normally I have things to do Tuesday afternoons, but since it was the week after Easter, we had the week off.

Can you see me drooling over the chicks down there?  😆  I spent a good bit of time looking at them. Earlier, I had decided that I wouldn’t get my chicks there, because they didn’t know what breeds they were, and I had some specific breeds in mind. As it turns out, they had some chicks there the likes of which I didn’t have already.  And they were cute.  REALLY cute.  😆

I also spent a good bit of time talking with one of the girls who was working there that afternoon.  I told her I had more chicks on order, and really could not take another 6. She was wanting more chicks, but not another 6 as well. We were able to split the 6; she getting 3 and me getting 3. (disclaimer:  normally, TSC won’t let you do this, BUT, they know me down there, and they know I already have chicks.  They know that I am not getting them for Easter gifts for my kiddos, and that I’m adding to an existing flock.  ;))

I called Hunny – well, my dd called Hunny because I was scared 😆 – and then she turned the phone over to me.  I presented my case, and he agreed! It was my lucky day! 

I got one more EE, to keep things balanced, in addition to two others that they aren’t sure of breed.  We think one is a Black Minorca and the other is a Dominique.  I am not sure on the Black Minorca, mostly because the feathers coming in are white-ish, but we’ll have to wait a few weeks and see.  I am hoping (again) that they are all girls. There’s another very nice girl working there who said that in the event I end up with a boy, she will re-home him to her nephew’s farm.  I feel much better having an “out.”

If you able to identify Jasmine, please leave me a comment! 

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Yes, it’s true.  There is such a thing as chicken math, and I have completely fallen victim to it.  😉

I can’t say enough how much we loooooooooooovvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeee  ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ our chicks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Friday, Hunny had decided thy weren’t as dumb as he thought they would be, and was carrying them around the house. He also agreed that getting a few more wouldn’t be a big deal.  😆  Since I had only gotten 1 Barred Rock (BR) (Rocky) and 1 Buff Orpington (BO) (Butternut) and thought they were awesome, the initial plan was to get 1 more of each.

But then I got to thinking (and this is where the chicken math kicks in 😀 ), that K had gotten a Producing Red (which is an mix, as I understand it, between a Rhode Island Red and a New Hampshire Red) and it was cute and friendly. So now I want one, too.  😆 

Since the red lays brown eggs and is a higher egg producing hen than my Easter Eggers (EEs) (which lay blue/green varitey eggs), combined with my BR and BO, who will also both lay brown eggs and are higher producing egg laying birds, I figured I should also get another EE to balance things out.  😆  (EEs are the hatchery version of the Ameraucanas. When doing research, it seems that if it comes from a hatchery, it is an EE, but is wrongly tagged as the Ameraucanas.  While it carries the blue egg gene, it is not true to the breed.  Knowlegeable chicken folks will tell you that if you want *real* Ameraucanas, which are rare, you need to find an approved breeder.)

Down to the livestock store I went, getting there bright and early by 7 am, hoping they had some left. Well, shucks, they had sold out all 1,5000 chicks by 2 pm Friday, the first day the sale “officially” started.  “You can order them,” I was told.  Because there were others ordering as well, it was not a problem for me to have a total order of 4 chicks;  1 of each different breed.  Yippee!!

Now, if you have researched getting chicks, you will know that hatcheries have a minimum order (mostly because chicks need to stay warm during shipping, although there are some that will ship lower numbers but charge you significantly more).  Tractor Supply (TSC) has a minimum order of 25 chicks total, although you can mix breeds in increments of 5.

To bring them home from TSC, I would need to get 6. I had been to my local TSC on Thursday, and they had some chicks.  Problem was, they only had a straight run (which means boys and girls) and they had no idea what was in the tank.  Interestingly, both TSC and the livestock and feed store get their chicks from the same hatchery.  Why one place knows what they are getting and the other one doesn’t is a mystery to me.

But I digress.  🙂

So, ordering from the feed store made sense to me.  My question was, what kind of time frame are we looking at?  When I had gone online at the hatchery early in the season, everything I wanted wasn’t going to be available until May at the earliest, and since I hadn’t ordered then, it seemed to me (without checking, of course) that a new order would be even later in the season.

This would mean that I would have two set of chicks that were very different ages, which would necessitate a second brooder and worries about integrating “flocks.” After talking to the folks at the store, though, they seemed pretty certain that they would get all the other ordered chicks in about two weeks, based on years past. I couldn’t help myself, and took the plunge.  😆

Now that a few days have passed, I figure, even if it takes longer for them to get here, I would not be too worried about getting set up for another brooder.  Given the way this batch of chicks has grown, I am not too sure that it will last them until they are ready to be outside, so chances are good that we’ll need to make them something bigger anyhow.  And if that happens, I’ll have an empty smaller brooder, perfect for baby chicks.

See!  It all works out!  Chicken math is something that folks going into chickens need to be aware of. 😉 My hope is that I don’t end up with roos, because I’m pretty sure that would be a problem.

There is nothing like hearing the cheep cheep cheeping from my girlies.  I also think there is nothing quite as fascinating as chick tv, either.  On the second day, they were trying to fly, and it is crazy how fast their wings grow!! By the time I had them for a day, they were trying to perch.  Even though the perch wasn’t that high, there was much falling off, and limbo practice going on. As you can see in the pictures below, roosting has been conquered, although they don’t do this at night yet.  Lately, there has been much bickering and shoving to get the “sweet spot” on the perch.  😆

♥♥♥ my chicks!!!

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