I wonder how my information was stolen. I mean, I don't use it very often... only for my seed, plant, and chick orders. Thankfully a check of our bank records shows the flagged activity was the only unauthorized use and the bank was on it immediately. Awesome!
Today Tony let me use his card to order the two things I had meant to purchase last night. First, I'm getting a large heat plate (with cover) from Premier 1 Supplies. This will be going out into the brooder in the barn to keep out chicks warm when they go out. I planned originally to use it for the guinea keets I ordered for June or July, but it will work well for the chicks we're hatching now... and maybe for the other thing I bought.
I went ahead and ordered the rare breed hatchery assortment that's on sale now (check it out here). I ordered 15 (the minimum), and paid extra to make sure they're vaccinated. I asked for ship date 4/29. I'm really crossing my fingers that we get a couple Sumatras, a Golden Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben hen, and a bunch of Cochins. I want a golden duckwing phoenix too, but I know it's not likely to be nearly as friendly as my Ralphie was, and I can only have so many roosters, so if I get one - great. If not, that's OK too. I just hope I don't get a box full of Polish, White Chanteclers, Columbian Rocks, and Aseels. I could do without them all. Alas, it's a gamble and a surprise. Part of me wonders why I didn't just spring for the $79 surprise box where I'd get 40-50+ chicks with a chance of turkeys and ducks... But that was a lot of work to have that many chicks at once. I think this is more reasonable and realistic. Besides, that means this mystery box of chicks will be old enough to be out in the flock around the same time the next box with the guinea keets shows up.
While checking Facebook, I saw a post about French Black Copper Marans prices for hatching eggs. I was astonished by the answers. $5 an egg? I'm selling a mixed carton for $6 a dozen and some of those eggs could be pure FBCMs!
I wonder if it would be cost effective to build a smaller coop just for Doodle and the FBCM hens so we could get purebred eggs/chicks. I drew up a rough idea of a coop, and Tony took a look at it. We discussed it, made some different drawings of ideas, and finally decided it might be best to buy a pre-made coop from the feed store initially. This eliminates the wait time for Tony to have a day off to build a coop, and allows me to start the three week "detox" to make sure the hens are only producing eggs from Doodle. Since the commercial pre-made coops tend to only be good for a few chickens, it seems suitable considering I only have two or three hens and Doodle that are French Black Copper Marans.
This would also open up the option of keeping back a new rooster if something really awesome comes along in the rare box. If this goes well, we could invest in a second enclosure and start separating out other breeds. I could do a pen for Rock-A-Doodle (our Golden Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben rooster) if we get a hen in this box from the hatchery. I could buy a Speckled Sussex rooster and set the two Sussex ladies in a coop of their own. I have a few breeds that people seem really interested in that I could separate out. It would only stand to increase the value of the eggs and chicks we produce if we could get purebreds instead of barnyard mixes.
On the flip side, this would also allow me to continue with the free range flock and the plan to create olive eggers and rainbow eggs in a few generations. Or if I really like the idea and it's profitable enough to pay for itself, I could just do a whole row of coops in different designs and move them along all summer to allow fresh grass every day and a more varied diet to the birds, while still keeping purebred or specifically crossed lines. If I eventually cooped them all (years down the road, because I assume it's going to be quite the investment), I could expand garden areas because the chickens wouldn't be getting into everything, and I could start using the rabbit manure straight into the garden again because it wouldn't be mixed with chicken manure (which needs to rot for several months to a year before being used in the garden).
Plenty of thoughts in my head right now. The coop I want isn't available at the local feed store (out of stock), but there's another one that's a bit more expensive that is labeled as in stock. We will be in town tomorrow for an appointment and then some shopping. We will be stopping by to check it out and see if it might be something we can do up front, right now. Three weeks of detox for the hens and then we could start selling their eggs as purebred hatching eggs (around June 9 or 10). Any eggs not sold by day 8 would go into the incubator to be hatched to sell. Not a bad investment overall I think.
I haven't gotten confirmation on either of the chick orders yet to have a set ship date, but I'm hoping it all works out. I'm so excited!
Last night two more chicks hatched, and this morning the slow one finally made it's grand entrance. Two blacks and a yellow. Our first yellow so far. I reached out to the person who's buying the other eight to see if they wanted these ones too, but have not heard back yet. If I don't hear back I guess they'll be for sale.