S/he's got 3 sisters (we hope they are sisters!)
Vet2Be and I went to a class about genetics a few years ago and learned that the first generation cross between two breeds will produce better than the purebred animal would. So, if you cross two milk goats, or two fleece sheep, or two chickens the resulting children should produce a better product (milk, fleece, or eggs) than the parents. These hens (we hope they are hens) should lay well and have some beautiful eggs. I love opening the box of eggs and seeing different colors in it! Green, brown, and white. It brings a smile to my face to see all the colors!
So we got 4 straight run chicks! Straight run means that we have no idea if they are hens or roosters. The roosters will go back to the friends house because she processes roosters and old hens for dog food. We like that because we feel the life of the animal was put to good use to feed someone else.
They will be moved to the barn sometime today.
The chicks are peeping in the house right now because we have other 'birds' in the plastic totes in the barn. We also have house cats, so this is how we solved the problem of keeping the new chicks safe.
The makeshift brooder has an old heating pad underneath one end. It is set at the lowest setting. The new heating pads all have a 'safety feature'... they shut off after 10 minutes or so. That won't work for a brood box, the chicks (or whatever type of poultry we are raising) need a constant source of heat. If you want to try this, make sure you use an old heating pad that doesn't turn off after 10 minutes with a good electrical cord.
We have two Ameraucana chicks that are about a month old, and these four mixed breed chicks so we should have some good colored egg layers sometime this fall. Chickens will usually be 20 weeks old before they lay. In our experience, they have been closer to 24 weeks before they start to lay eggs.
No, chickens do not need a rooster in order to lay eggs. There is no nutritional difference between colored eggs and white eggs, they just look fun in the box. Home-grown eggs do taste much better, must be all the bugs the chickens get to eat :o)