Sunday Surprise!

Most people view a self-sufficient lifestyle as an experiment in boredom. It’s possible to think that the only entertainment one gets is watching the grass grow. That’s really about as far from the truth as you can get. We’ve had all sorts of excitement over the years. This past Sunday was no different. We were just about ready to head out the door for church when the post office called. Let’s just say that I thought it was a prank at first. I’ve never heard of the post office calling anyone on a Sunday.

Our laying hens and second batch of meat chickens were supposed to arrive Monday morning in Reedsburg—the small city about ten miles from us. The post office was calling to let us know that the chicks had actually arrived in Portage (52 miles away) on Sunday and that we needed to pick them up before noon. So, it was off with the Sunday attire and on with the regular clothes. We piled into the car, found a place to stuff some breakfast down our throats, and then drove to Portage as fast as country roads would allow (and believe me, there is no 65 on a country road—it’s 55 on a good day).

On the way home we stopped at a Kwik Trip to buy some Gatorade for the chicks. Then we rushed home, set the brooder box up for chicks, and started showing the chicks how to drink the first time.

There is a misconception that all chicks are bits of yellow fluff. Chicks actually come in a range of colors. The meat chickens are certainly yellow, as are our Delaware laying hens, but the Ameraucana and Buff Orpington chicks look much different.


The Ameraucana chicks are actually quite pretty with all of the shades of brown they possess. These chicks have a beautiful dark streak down their backs. The Buff Orpington chicks are almost an orange color. Think of it as a lovely brownish orange, rather than a pumpkin color.

Each of these layers will provide different sized eggs and have different characteristics. For example, the Delaware chickens will lay a moderate number of jumbo brown eggs quite well all winter long. The Buff Orpingtons will produce a larger number of large brown eggs, but produce a bit better during the summer months. Ameraucana hens produce copious quantities of the most beautiful medium eggs you’ve ever seen. The colors range from buff, to blue, to blue-green. All three types of chicken are bred for cooler climates and won’t require any weird drugs to keep them alive. More importantly, because they’ll all be free range chickens, we’ll get superior eggs from them.

Farm life does come with a wealth of surprises. This Sunday was just a reminder to be ready for anything. Let me know about your latest life surprise at