So we were expecting our shipment of chicks from Murray McMurray hatchery this morning. As usual the post office called at 6:30 AM, and Tom went out to get them. They had flown in from St. Paul MN in good shape, as usual. We ordered the All Heavies male assortment. This includes Black Australorps; Lt. Brahmas; Dark Cornish; Black and White Giants; Buff and White Orpingtons; New Hampshire, Rhode Island Reds, Barred, White, Partridge, Buff Rocks; Sussex, Turkens; White, Silver Laced, & Columbian Wyandottes, Red Star and/or Black Star. Can you spot the different types?
There are ethical issues ordering from a hatchery. One is the danger with the chicks being mailed, but we have done very well with that. The other is how hatcheries dispose of unwanted male chicks. Here is a quote from McMurray:
“Our roosters are valuable, but the biggest percentage (of our sales) is hens,” said Bud Wood, president of Murray McMurray Hatchery in Webster, Iowa. “Anyone who says, ‘I only want pullets’ — the unwanted cockerels have to be put down.” McMurray shipped 1.7 million chicks last year. Some of McMurray’s unwanted males go to feed the raptors at a nearby sanctuary, Wood said. The rest are euthanized. “We do the best we can,” he said. “We destroy them very humanely; we use CO2 gas.”
As Tom says, it is not all just peaches and cream. But hopefully for these chicks anyway it will be a good life for about 6 months. After checking on the chicks, then the pregnant sheep and goats we went to feed the cows. And look what we found:
Rosemary, our Dexter cow, had just delivered a calf. She was not supposed to be due until May, but Tom had noticed her bagging up. The protective brother Dillweed is hovering nearby. Here a video of the calf standing for the first time:
We think it is a heifer calf but did not get close enough to make sure. Mom and baby are doing fine.