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11 February 2007

Click to watch the baby chicks. (8.4 MB)

Chick February may not normally be considered spring but here on the Kona coffee farm it's close enough.  The weather is warm, coffee trees are blooming and we have 10 new baby chickens.  There's nothing like a flock of baby chicks to make it feel like spring.

With a lack of natural predators, there are a surplus of wild chickens here in Hawaii.  Our previous flock of chickens (they're still doing fine) came from a local poultry farm that was closing.  Those chickens are specially bred for laying big, beautiful eggs.  These baby chickens came from the Humane Society.  We put our name on the list for people willing to adopt a chicken or rooster.  Within a couple days they called us with a flock of 10 baby chicks.  With so many wild chickens running around the island, they have a difficult time placing all the chickens that are handed in.  We don't know yet how many are hens and how many are roosters.

We currently are keeping the chicks in our bathtub.  It's a safe place where the dogs, cats and mongoose can't get at them.  They grow so fast it won't be long before they're ready to live outside full time.  The first day we got them the girls had to go to school, when they got back that afternoon they were certain the chicks had grown.

During the day we'll sometimes take the chicks outside.  They get straight to work scratching the ground and looking for bugs.  The adult chickens do a decent job of keeping the weeds down among the coffee trees.  Some organic farms in Kona even use geese to try to control the weeds.  We couldn't possibly raise enough chickens and geese to control the weeds among all of our coffee.  So we'll be happy with a few eggs and if we get any extra weed control, that's a bonus.

Sarah Emily Napping

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