We have two coops going right now; one is a permanent coop of two year-old hens and the other is a mobile coop of one year-old hens, and a bonus rooster. We decided that we would mark the two year-olds and sneak them in with the others in the mobile coop during the next morning’s feeding. We went back and forth on how to mark them so we could cull the two year-olds first if their laying dropped off. One idea was to put zip ties around their ankles. I was concerned about the ties getting too tight and injuring them, so I thought why not mark them with bright nail polish.
We closed the coop door the night before to avoid any chicken catching drama and pulled them out one at a time to mark and then put in a cage to move. I got my brightest hot pink nail polish and painted several tail feathers on each bird. We then released them in with the others to a calm reception. Well, except for the rooster, who was more than thrilled to have another dozen ladies to join his harem. The polish was very noticeable from a distance and I was quite pleased with myself for having the idea. That is, until about a week later, when all the nail polish rubbed off and now we have no idea who is who. But that is a problem for a different day, now we were in business with an empty coop! Since we needed to make some modifications to add more roosts and remove nesting boxes and they were too young to be outside, we set up the spare bathtub as a brooder again. Now we were ready for chicks!
Off we went to TSC to get the chicks we saw the day before. As we arrived and rushed over to the chicks, I saw the last of our chicks being loaded into a box for the guy in front of me and at a discount no less! Nick and I gave him the stink eye and then half hatched a plan to distract him and steal them, but we figured that our poor timing was his good luck. Off we went to the co-op, who also had their alluring chicks sign hanging up outside. In we went and much to our disappointment, found no chicks. We were then informed that "some guy was just here and bought us all out". Grrrrrr! It was probably that same chick thief from TSC going around town just ahead of us thwarting our attempts. We went home empty handed and sad that for once we planned ahead and it bit us in the butt.
There was no time to sulk, we had to head to the processor to pick up a hog we had butchered. On the drive, I started hunting around on Facebook for chicks and found a lady that happened to be in the town we were driving through who had some available. After several messages back and forth, we agreed upon two dozen buff orpingtons and a dozen black sex links for pick up in an hour.
When we get there, we were ushered into a garage by a lady and her very hyperactive three year-old grandchild, only to find a zoo. She told us she was opening a pet store and they were holding all the animals there until it was open in a week or two. She had baby bunnies, baby hedgehogs (of course I had to hold one and yes, they feel just like they look like they would), parrots, quail, hamsters, mice and on and on. She also had a very handsy Macaw who kept grabbing me through his cage. She points to a box on the floor with our chicks in them. She said several other people were interested in them and asked if we still wanted them. For fear of losing out on chicks again and to get out of there before being molested again by a bird or succumbing to the urge to buy a baby anything, we said yes, and got the heck out of there.
Once in the truck, I open the box to find the correct number of chicks but in all sorts of sizes and colors, not what we had asked for. We decided to just take what we had and head home. Lesson learned- order your chicks ahead of time or risk running all over town, going to a zoo, ending up with an odd-ball assortment of chicks and being felt on by a bird.