Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Chickens are Coming !! part 2

Dark Brahma Hen
Here is a link to Dark Brahma Chicks:

This morning I went on a field trip to all the feed stores in our area.  I was comparing feed brands and types.  I am not lover of medicated food. But baby chicks tend to walk on the feeder, and drop feed all over, as well as poop everywhere.  So that the babies don't get Coccidiosis (fatal) I will probably get one bag of medicated feed to start with.  But I did find organic feed at Dan's Boot and Saddle. That was great! I also found a great hardware store that has 6' x 150' rolls of poultry wire. It took 2 guys to load it in the back of the Yukon.  Bob and I are ready to build "Fort Chicken."
A PERFECT Black Cochin Hen  
I have the heat lamp, bulbs, feeders, waterers, and thermometers.  Chicks have to be kept at 95 degrees for the first week, then the temp is decreased 5 degrees every week after that.  Tomorrow I will put the sides up on the "Nursery" and fire up the heat lamp and see what temperature we have.  This is so important. As heat is the number one priority for these chicks. I plan to have this all worked out before they arrive.
Buff Silkie Hen and Rooster  
I got an email from the Hatchery and it looks like they are not sending all hens....oh boy.  When I can determine the roosters, they will have to go to the farmers market.  I am being a chicken sexist and only want hens. I've had enough roosters for a life time.  My neighbors are only an acre away, and would not enjoy crowing at the crack of dawn.  We once had a rooster who crowed at night, and almost drove us mad. Above are some of the breeds we are getting.  The Silkies are Japanese chickens, and the Brahmas and Cochins are Asian.

It feels a bit like Christmas for me! I know this sounds strange. I've had so many emails from chicken lovers here and on Etsy that I know I'm not alone.   I'll take pictures of the nursery when I have it set up.

Thanks for reading!
Each day is a gift, open now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Chickens are Coming !!

Dominique a rare breed we will have.
In 7 days there will be 25 chicks arriving via Priority Mail.  One of the items on my "list" was to keep chickens again.  I figured out a place I think would work right next to "the big garden".  First, there is already 6' horse fence and shade cloth running for 40'. Second, the shed is about 10' from that. So sandwiched (excuse the term) between the two will be the chicken run.  About 35' x 10'.  When they are grown,  there will be a little door that leads into the big garden. They are good bug and grub pickers.  For now they will stay in the "nursery."
The "Nursery" scrubbed spotless

The "nursery" is actually a rabbit hutch  I put wooden sides on, that is completely locked up ALL the time. They will have a heat lamp, and a very good thermometer that I will check constantly for the first week.  I am keeping the nursery on the patio.  Bob spent hours attaching fencing on the wall around the patio to make it higher.  We have coyotes.  And we have an electric fence that will be electrified every night (which we have to figure out VERY soon!). More on Fort Chicken later.

"Fort Chicken"

Baby chicks can be ordered on line, over the phone, via catalogue.   Day old chicks need no food or water for the first 72 hours. They get sustenance from the yolk inside the egg prior to hatching. This gives them a few days to get aquainted...or travel, as in our flock's case.  The post office usually calls at the crack of dawn to tell me they have arrived.  I have warned my local PO who ships all me Etsy orders to keep an eye out.  I think my post office is as excited as I am! They should arrive with their fuzz on, and start feathering out in a week. I will keep a photo diary and share it with you readers. Below is a link to MurrayMcMurray Hatchery of Buff Cochin Chicks on youtube.  A breed we are getting.
Buff Cochin Chick
Buff Cochin Hen
Ethan will be here when they arrive.  I am hoping he's his Grandma's boy in a chicken way too.  He is an animal lover also. I wish for that to include chickens.  My adult son helped Bob dig post holes and pour concrete.  He too is a big chicken lover.  I look forward to all of us hanging with the peeps very soon.  Adding another generation to my flock. :-)
Box O Chicks
It takes 5 months for them to start to lay eggs.  I could have gotten "pullets" which are older.  However, they do not bond the way day old chicks do.   Tomorrow I will go to all the local feed stores to see what kinds of feed they carry.  Back on the farm I had my feed custom mixed for me.  With this small flock that would be impossible.  Once they have gotten past the critical first month, they will be weaned off of "chick food" and eat table scraps, and some organic chicken feed.

I'm so excited, I can't really express it in words.  We will have a "Chick Party" the day they arrive. I invite neighbors and  friends to come see them and celebrate all this new life.  I promise I will be sharing pictures daily.  Baby chicks have always meant a physical form of hope that Spring brings to me.   It's my favorite time of year.  If you are close and reading this, know you are invited to join us next week.
The Chicken Catalog

Thanks for reading.
Each day is a gift, open now.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Computer problems

My computer crashed, and so I will be quiet until I get it fixed.