We got a little taste of spring here on the homestead this week!
After a deceiving week of warmer winter days, the temperature has dropped and there is a new layer of snow falling outside. The weather app predicts up to a foot worth of snow to accumulate over the weekend.
Inside though, we have welcomed our first “spring” chick!
Yes… one chick.
This was intended to be the beginning of our new Icelandic chicken flock.
Icelandic chickens are a heritage breed that were nearly extinct. While still hard to come by, they are making a comeback due to a few breeders that were determined to not see the breed disappear.
Icelandics are hardy, healthy and self-sufficient. They love to forage and raise their own young, which lines up perfectly with our goals for the homestead.
It is now going on 48 hours since the new little chick has hatched and only one other egg, out of 18, has shown any sign of possibly hatching. Come on little egg!
The lack of brooder-mates for our new little chick has me wondering what we will do with the lone chick if the others don’t make it, which at this point is likely.
I don’t have the heart to stick it in a box out in the garage like we usually do. The poor thing is already throwing a fit about being alone, peeping loudly as it stumbles around the incubator looking for a friend.
The only other option was to keep it here in the house with us.
The thought of keeping it in the house actually made me giddy, in a reminiscent sort of way. Do you ever have things in your life that trigger happy memories from your past?
This was one of those times…
“The Chicken Grandma”
When I was four of five years old we lived in the wilderness of Montana in a small town of 200 or so people. We moved there from Alaska to be near my grandma, my dad’s mom.
My grandma is one of the most interesting people you will ever meet.
Born in a smoke shack on the prairie of Oklahoma, not long after the dust bowl; she is a bonafide okie.
Grandma is a very loving, determined woman who worked hard all her life to provide for her three children after her husband left. However she never quite left the depression-era okie side behind.
My dad still has nightmares about yogurt cultures growing in their closets (which as a kid sounded disturbing to me, but now is quite intriguing) and piles of clutter overrunning their home due to her need to save things.
The thing I remember the most however about my childhood years spent with her, is her love of chickens. It wasn’t uncommon to find her barefoot on her porch with the door thrown open wide and chickens roaming in and out of her home.
I remember one chicken in particular of hers was named Peepers. Now I’m not sure what unfortunate circumstances occurred that lead to Peepers being an orphan chick, but Peepers was allowed to take up permanent residence in my grandma’s home. The lone chick lived tucked up under her adoptive mother(my grandma)’s hair, going everywhere with her. I remember grandma allowing me to gently take Peepers and put it under my own hair, and feeling the chick’s little feet on my neck as it nestled in close. I owe my love of chickens to my grandma and little Peepers.
I find myself wondering if my husband would let me get away with doing this same thing with our own lone orphan chick.
Probably not…I told him this same story, not long after we were married, and ever since then he has referred to my grandma as “The Chicken Grandma”. He has also informed me (jokingly of course) that chickens roaming the house is grounds for divorce.
Ok so our new little chick most likely won’t have free reign of our home, but I’m sure it will spend the first few weeks of life in a brood box in our entryway. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that at least one other egg will pull through and give it a friend of the chicken variety.
Now I have a task for you… little chick still needs a name!
Leave your best chicken name suggestions in the comments below and we will pick one to bestow upon our newest homestead addition.