What a busy day we had--up early to frantically finish the coop, and the chicks enjoyed their first day out in their mini run...only problem was at sunset the little chooks didn't know what to do, that they had to go in their coop or become racoon appetizers!
That's the whole problem with domestication and industrialized poultry as I see it--the chicks have no mamas to teach them these things, and when they are hens they can't be trusted to rear young. Seems a little self-defeating if you ask me, but I have hopes that some of the breeds are untampered with enough that they can still rise to the occaision. I've heard that bantams make stellar mothers.
Today Maia had a play date with a friend who's family will be getting chickens soon. They live a little more rurally than we do, but all the same I think the City Chicken web site is a great starting point for any family who didn't grow up with poultry wanting to give it a go.
Another fantastic site that has lots of great information about rearing chicks, coop design, etc. is Feathersite. This site is hands down the best on the web for researching chicken breeds. I particularly like that each breed page shows pictures of the young and adults, making it easy to distinguish when you have a mixed breed lot of chicks!
I'll be posting more sites in coming weeks, for now I'm going to grab my flash light, make sure the chicks are at the right temperature since it's cooled off outside, and then fold some laundry.