Day five: Chickens

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Posted by Annie in Organic, Outdoors on March 2, 2013

Chickens in the yard.We’ve had the birds five days now.  We converted a dog pen we had lying around, into a chicken run, basically we wrapped the pen in chicken wire, including the top.  We’ve got owls living in a tree nearby, so we have to be careful.

I am amazed at how fast they have grown.  In just five days, they have more than doubled in size.  Their wings are getting feathers, some only have a little bit of fuzz left on them.  I love to watch them stretch out their legs and their wings, it’s a beautiful sight.

It’s been a job keeping the brooder clean and warm.  The temperatures vary so widely that I am constantly covering them up with blankets over the cage, and taking them off.  I’ve noticed the birds don’t need as much heat as they did when I first brought them home, that’s a good thing.

Chicken WatererYou should have seen them yesterday, when I moved them to the pen.  They were running around, playing, hopping over each other.  I sat and watched them for hours.  I swear they grew from the time I took them out, until I put them back in the brooder.  Amazing.

I hate having to put them in the brooder at night.  It’s not very big and they don’t have a ton of room.  They love it when I put them in the yard, they run and jump, playing with each other, you can just tell they are happy.  Soon, I’ll have the chicken run set up.

What is biosecurity?

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Our backyard Chickens

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Posted by Annie in Activities, Family Fun, Organic on February 26, 2013

Yesterday, my hubby and I bought 12 chickens — and to tell you the truth, Shawn was not all that excited about it.  We got the chicken coop all set up, it’s already falling apart.  We got it a TSC for $99.  It’s not well made.  But we can fix it.

Chickens

We picked up a plastic feeder and waterer — I should have bought the metal ones.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  And we got some pine shavings.  All they had at TSC was medicated chick starter, so we decided against it and went organic.  They had organic starter at Sonora Feed Store but it wasn’t cheap.

The birds are all settled in.  We’ve had fun trying to keep them warm through the night.  It’s still getting down in the low 30’s.  We’ve got a red heat lamp inside and some heavy blankets on the outside of the coop.  That seems to do the trick.

I’ve been monitoring them, if they’re huddled tight together under the light it’s too cold.  If they are panting and looking for the air conditioning, it’s too warm.  It’s hardest for me, because I want to watch them and I can’t while keeping them warm at the same time.  They are just so darned cute!

I feel really good about having the chickens.  I may not be able to grow a garden up on this mountain, but I can raise chickens for eggs and meat — well at least I think I can.  Time will tell.

I’ll be talking about our chicken adventures from time to time.  I look forward to hearing from you, too.  Does anyone have backyard chickens?

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