April 2, 2013

3,000 Chicks and I Didn't Buy Any!

              Gator Family Tractor Supply in Starke has an annual Chick Day. This year they were receiving 3,000 chicks.  I have been planning on attending this event since learning about it last month.  The plan was to be there at 9am so we could experience the chick craziness the owners told me about.  Hubby said the only thing I could bring home was pictures.
  As with most of my plans things didn't go as I had hoped.  Meg woke up not feeling well so driving 45 minutes to a feed store was the last thing she wanted to do.  Hubby stepped up and said when he came home from work we would go.  Disappointed as I was at not being there early in the morning to see the thousands of chicks I was happy to take him up on his offer.
   We arrived at GFTS around 3pm.  On the ride hubby reminded me that we were not buying any chicks.  I assured him that wasn't my plan, I wanted to see all the different types of chicks (research for my blog you know) plus we needed more food for the peeps and there was a farmer's market nearby I wanted to go to as well.  Despite getting there later in the day there were still plenty of chicks left.  You could hear them peeping as you approached the front door.
     Having only seen chicks at the local Tractor Supply Company and the farmer's market I really didn't know what ti expect. Nor did I have any clue as to the number of breeds they would have.  When we arrived the Biddies (newly hatched chicks) were covered with sheets and you could feel the heat from all of the warming lamps.  According to the sign they had over 2 dozen varieties of chickens, Turkeys and Ducks.  Furthering my Peep Education I learned that S/R means straight run which are chicks that haven't been sexed.  Pullets are female and cost a little more because they have been sexed.  It was amazing to us to see the Ameraucana and Barred Rock chicks and compare them to how large our 2 month old peeps at home are.
     We encountered a bit of sadness there as well.  I compared it to being at a large fish store.  You're admiring the school of tetras and you notice one floating upside down.  In a couple of the boxes there were dead chicks. The owners said that like any newborns there are always loss.  Some die simply from being overwhelmed.  Others from being over handled, maybe loved a bit too hard? I was very pleased to see that the owners were concerned about their chicks' well being as all of the boxes were pretty clean considering the amount of biddies inside.
     We also learned that Ameraucanas tend to be the most popular followed by Rhode Island Red then Barred Rocks.  What, wait Rhode Island Reds? I was just told at TSC that they don't do well down here because of the heat.  The ladies giggled politely and assured me that I was horribly misinformed.  Which made hubby happy as that is the breed he's wanted, however again he reminded me that we were not going to buy any chicks today.
     After spending almost an hour looking, playing with and learning about the chicks we ordered our bag of feed and were ready to leave.  UNTIL .......

To Be Continued.....
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