Sunday, March 08, 2009

Adventures in chicken raising


We have been mulling around the idea of raising our own chickens for months. Yesterday, we committed to the project. We went to the local feed store picked up 6 Rhode Island red chicks and 6 Plymouth Rock chicks and left with an armload of chicken supplies. After studying the information at BackYard Chickens we decided the time was right to get a brood going. Fresh eggs here we come!

Prior to purchasing the birds we talked long and hard about making that kind of a commitment to raising livestock. No naming of birds. Yeah, well that one lasted about 15 minutes. Taking care of the birds. Everyone is pitching in a taking on a responsibility. I snapped a few pictures after we had them settled in their temporary home.
chicks in a boc

We went to the local u-haul store and purchased a wardrobe box. Taped it up and cut a hole in the side leaving a 3 inch border around the edge so it would support the egg crate plastic cover we also purchased. You see, the chicks aren't ready for a coop. It's still a bit cold out and they don't have their feathers in yet so they need to be in a smaller confine for a few more weeks. We also installed a heat lamp to warm one side of the box so they don't freeze at night.

Chickens growing fast

They grow so fast I am glad we don't dress them! In a couple more weeks they'll be former shadows of themselves and ready for the coop. We are building a simple coop to house them in the backyard. We live in the county and should not have too many problems with neighbors (giving away a few eggs never hurts either!) complaining about the chickens.

Chickens growing fast

We are not including a rooster in the mix, at least not now. In about 20 weeks they'll begin laying eggs. We are looking forward to farms fresh eggs. I don't care how fresh the grocery store says they're eggs are, I've seen too many news stories to the contrary. It will be good to have locally ;-) grown eggs. I've got two families already begging for eggs.

It should be fun, yet a lot of work keeping them healthy and happy. Here's a nice picture of the brood. The black ones are the Plymouths and the orange the Rhode Islands. chickens