Right before spring each year, there is a fever that goes around. It is a disorder that comes with many symptoms including extreme anticipation. It is an illness that can lead to an infatuation with “fluffy butts.” Chick Fever is a real thing, it afflicts many and the only cure for it is to give in! Okay I guess your don’t HAVE to give in, but you sure as heck better not walk into a feed store any time in the next couple months!
So what exactly is chick fever? Well if you don’t know, you have never had it. And while some may say you’re lucky, others will feel pity for you. Once you get it, you may never be able to get rid of it. You see, chick fever is the overwhelming desire to get baby chicks, by any means necessary. You can hatch your own, buy them at local feed stores and even order them through the mail.
But how does one become inflicted with this infirmity? Well the first time you catch it, it could be just by walking by a pen full of day old chicks at the feed store. But once you have it, each year you will get the itch again when your Facebook news feed starts filling with photos of chicks your friends just brought home. Yes, your news feed will fill up with baby chicks, because once you get chicks, you start hanging out a new crowd of people who have chicks, because your “normal” friends and family just don’t “get it.”
You will look at little bundles of puff and go “awwwww!” You will walk through a feed store and spy the empty containers with the heat lamps ready to go for the first shipment of spring chicks. Of course you HAVE to find an employee and ask when said bundle of joy are expected. And you WILL end up “popping” by on that date “just to see what they have.”
Be warned, chick fever can escalate!!!!
What starts as a “Gee I want to have some chickens,” will quickly turn into a kid in a candy store situation. The different breeds, colors, egg colors, etc. You will want one of these and two of those. You will start requesting hatchery catalogs just so you can curl up with a blanket on those cold winter night and dream of what to add to your flock. Heck the oldest country kid wants a Dorking, just because of its name!
For those of us who have already fallen victim to chick fever, we know what needs to be done. But for those of you who might catch chick fever for the first time this year, you need to be prepared. You may not be able to walk out of that feed store without chicks. You may think you have great will power but in the face of cuteness, you will crack. So what do you need to be ready?
As with any animal you bring into your family, it is a serious decision to undertake the care and well-being of another living thing. While chicks are cute, make sure you can LEGALLY have them where you live BEFORE you buy any. Be prepared to feed and water, clean the coop, and collect the eggs….. even in winter. Some days when it is below zero (like -30) I go out ever few hours to make sure our birds have plenty of water. Water is VERY important to chickens and egg production. If you can’t see yourself, frozen finger tips and all, then chicks might not before you.
You will need a broader for your chicks. You just became their mom and you can’t sit on them, but you have to keep them warm. There are different options out there for doing this. We just use a rubber tote and a heat lamp. Many things can be used to make a broader. Heck, we used a guinea pig pen the first time we got chicks! Check out the 6 Important Elements of a Homemade Brooder Box to make sure your brooder box is set up and ready for those new fluffy butts.
Be aware that these oh so cute little things will poop, often. And as they grow, they go through an ugly phase as they grow their feathers in. As your chicks grow, you may need to put a lid on their brooder so they don’t hop out. One minute they are in their brooder, the next sitting on the edge or walking around your living room! You will need to provide not only for their daily care, but for their safety too. Wild predators aren’t the only ones you have to be on the lookout for. Your cat or dog might just love a chicken nugget!
What I am saying is, before you give into the fever, be ready, think it through, and then join the ranks of us who each spring get the itch! Trust me, chick fever isn’t that bad….. well except for the anticipation…… And have chickens is a wonderful thing. But watch out…. Chick fever is contagious and your children WILL catch it too!
***WARNING*** Chick fever CAN mutate into the deep desire for other types of poultry, usually of the aquatic kind. Yes I am talking ducklings. You have been warned!