I am not the first person in my family to take to the practice of keeping and raising my own chickens to provide eggs for the table and enjoyment in the garden. When I was small, my father kept a flock of white leghorn laying hens and would often either hatch chicks under a broody hen, or bring home day old chicks to slip under a hen so she could raise them.
The first time I recall Dad bringing home some day old chicks, he arrived home one afternoon and got out of his car carrying a small cardboard box, about the size of a shoe box. As he walked into the house, the box was cheeping and chirping.
Being a curious seven year old, I asked him. “What’s that you’ve got, Dad?”
“A box of whistles,” he replied.
Later, he showed me how to give the ‘whistles’ to the broody hen and she went on to raise them quite happily, into productive members of our flock.
On the Tuesday before easter, we hatched six tiny new chicks and thus became the owners of our very own ‘box of whistles.’
We got six chicks from 7 eggs which is a very good hatch! For now, their names are Prima, Seconda, Tierza,Quatra, Quinta and Sesta.
They are hybrids. Two of them are Australorp X Light Sussex (They are the larger, bluish coloured chicks) and the rest are Australorp over Commercial Australorp. They are good, strong, healthy chicks and I look forward to adding them to our laying flock, or selling them on to others for laying hens.
Good Friday, however came with its own set of challenges, which I will post more about later!