Friday, June 13, 2008

My Aunt Carole

More and more my mom says I'm reminding her of my Aunt Carole. She says it because of getting the chickens and wanting goats and wanting to raise my own livestock in general. My aunt and uncle had a nice hobby farm when I was young. I loved to go there and see the goats. In fact, I tell everyone that it's my Uncle Tom's fault that I want goats so badly now. I don't really have any clear specific memories of their farm. I just remember that I loved going there. Their life seemed so different and fun and simple.

Now I'm raising my own family and I think about those simple things. I live in the country and our little piece of land is something to cherish. I love that we will have our own chickens for both the meat and the eggs. I hope it will teach my children something about responsibility and the circle of life.

The garden is growing and I'm excited to know that my hard work will provide healthy food for our table. Yes, I said hard work. Simple is peaceful, but it's far from easy much of the time. But the rewards are so much sweeter when it's your sweat and energy going into it.

So back to my Aunt Carole. I don't mind my mom saying I remind her of Aunt Carole. I'd be hard pressed to find a woman more loving and caring than my Aunt Carole. So Aunt Carole if you are reading this, I love you.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

They sure grow fast

The chicks are quickly out growing their little brooder boxes. What I thought would for sure get us through the first four weeks, may not get us through THIS week. So Rob and I are trying to figure out what to do now. The coop is not moved or anywhere near ready for the chicks. Yet they clearly can't stay where they are much longer.

I'm thinking it might work to design a chicken tractor that I can put a removable USB bottom in to use until the coop is ready. Then we can just take the bottom out down the road and have a tractor for use in the yard and garden. It would defiantly be much easier if we didn't have a cat. She hasn't tried anything yet, but I'm sure if the chicks were left unattended long with out the lids on the brooders, she would have a snack. I can't fault her for that though. She is an excellent mouser and that's one of the reasons we have her.

The chicks are also starting to really love getting treats. Jade has been giving them fresh basil leaves and today she picked some grass for them. We also got to see our very first full out dust bath today. Prior to now, they would just take turns sitting in the sand and pecking at it. Today the chick that is feathering the fastest threw herself right in the middle and flopped all over. I think she would have stayed right there for a nap when she was done if the other chicks would have let her.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Chicken for dinner

My in-laws were up for dinner tonight. While it was great to have the company, there was something nagging in the back of my mind the whole time. The chicks are being brooded in the dining room and we had chicken for dinner. Was that somehow insensitive? Even worse, Megan and Jade got a couple chicks out after dinner, and Megan tried to feed one the remainder of her pulled chicken sandwich. (The chick wanted nothing to do with it.)

At any rate, here are the chicks on the table:

And here's a shot of some in one of the brooders that I thought was nice:

And finally, here's a picture of Braden since I haven't posted any of him yet. He hasn't held the chicks yet, except for snatching one briefly off his sisters lap once, but he is quite fascinated with them.

I will be so glad when the chicks are comfortable at room temperature. It's not quite warm enough for them without the heat lamp. But it's much hotter than we would like it to be in the house because of the heat lamp. I think in the future, any chicks that are being brooded in the house will have to be bought much earlier in the year. Any chicks that come this late in the season will have to be brooded in the coop or the garage.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

What do you do with bug that get in the house?

You toss them in the brooder. The girls were freaking out over some strange bug that was in their bedroom this evening. So of course I went to their rescue. While I was on my way to toss the dead bug in the trash, the peeping of the chicks caught my attention and I thought to myself "I wonder.......". So in it went.

It was the funniest thing I've seen yet. One chick would pick it up and all the others would chase it around until one finally snatched it away, then they would all chase that chick. When they got tired of that, they stood around taking turns pecking at it.

I also gave the chicks a small tray of sand today and you would have thought it was Christmas. They have been having the most fun with it. Only one or two will fit in a tray at once so they are taking turns. If one chick stays in there longer than the others think it should, one will run over and push it out so someone else can have a turn. I'm thinking of just putting sand in the brooders instead of the wood shavings.

No pictures today, sorry.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

This and that, but mostly chicks

Here it is Wednesday and the chicks are still doing well. They are four days old now and starting to get real wing feathers. Actually, some of them were getting them when they came. But all of them have them now and some of them have quite large wing feathers for such little birds.

I was having problems with them making a huge mess of their water, both by spilling it and by getting bedding in it. I still had the plastic that was cut out of the tops of the totes to make the brooders, so I cut them to make platforms to go under the waterers. So far it's working quite well. Tomorrow I quit using the paper towel though and they will just have pine shavings. So I'm sure I'll be cleaning out the waterers more often. I'm thinking I may leave some paper towel just under the waterers.

I have one of the garden beds planted finally. I know I should have done it a couple weeks ago, but I can't change that now. I planted lima beans (thanks Chris), green onions (thanks again Chris), green beans, wax (yellow) beans, sweet corn, radishes, lettuce, serrano peppers, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. The other garden bed will be done with all transplants since we still don't have all the dirt in it yet. It will have tomatoes, various squash, peas, watermelon, pumpkin, cucumbers and herb. I think I'm going to like gardening with the raised beds.

The worm bins are going good. I think we may have to get a bigger bin soon or start putting them in the garden. There are a lot of worms in the one bin. It looked like there were a lot of eggs in there too, so many more on the way.

Here are some pictures I took of the chicks today:

This chick didn't want to sit still to have her picture taken. Her landing was successful, so no need to worry about the fall.

This is one of the araucanna bantams. Compared to them, the other chicks seems to be growing much faster.

Here are Jade and Megan with a couple of the chicks. The chicks didn't mind sitting on their laps, but didn't really want to be held. It all went well until Braden decided to grab a chick. The poor thing survived it though.

The picture doesn't do justice to how pretty this chicks wings are. She has the most beautiful white feathers coming in.

I've found it's really nice to have two brooders. I put them all in one while I clean the other, then put them all in that one to clean the second one. I'm also hoping that mixing the chicks up daily will help to stop any problems occurring when they all go into the coop together.

If anyone has any guesses about the breeds of any of the chicks pictured in the blog, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, June 2, 2008


I got the call from the post office at 7:27am and was at the post office and back home by 8:00am. There were 30 chicks in all and so far they all seem healthy and lively. They are eating and drinking well and seem to be comfortable with the temperature.

Here are some pictures.Brooder 1 has 15 chicks total. Obviously if you count them you will know there are one or two missing in this picture.

Brooder 2 also has 15. Again, not all are pictured.

I think this one is a Light Brahma. It looks darker in the picture than it actually is.

This is our one and only Turken. I thought I didn't want any, but now I might be wishing I had more. So far this chick is the first one to run up for attention when my hand goes in the brooder.

So there they are. Megan is in her glory and just can't decide which one is going to be her "Boo Boo Chicken". The order was for 25 of McMurrary's Brown Egg Layer Assortment and 3 Araucana Bantams. They gave us an extra bantam free and also the order included a free rare chick. I'm hoping that we have at least 2 roosters so that we will be able to hatch chicks in the spring.

OK, I'm off to dote on my new babies. I'll post more pictures soon. I'm just so EXCITED!

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