Itty bitty city farm
I live in downtown Orlando minutes from the city in an old neighborhood with no HOA and a mix of different neighbors so it's a great place for a little urban farm. So far I have fruit/veggie/green tea crops in four raised beds a tortoise and eight chickens. Not much, but, if I had the room I'd have more. My goal is to use the garden to feed the chicks and tortoise organic fruit/veggie scraps and compost the animal waste back to the garden and have organic eggs to boot. I'd love to have a goat but the space is so limited with most real estate going to the garden and chicken coop it wouldn't be possible.
Most of my animal experience has been with exotic birds so chickens are really new for me. So far most of what I've read lean to one extreme or the other...either barely do anything for the new chicks (a 60 watt household lightbulb and a paper box) to the more complex (a brooder, heat lamp, vitamins in the water...). So I went with a little of both. I will have them in a large storage tub with a wire top with a reptile infared heat lamp, medicated chick crumbles, pine shavings and clean water. The A-Frame coop with 1/4 inch construction cloth is in the garage and when they all get too big for the tub they will go there until they are old enough to go outside where their run will attach to the coop.
My worries? They will mature enough in December to go outside and even though I'm in Florida it can get cold (remember last winter, floridians out there???) and I'm wondering what to do. I've heard put out a head lamp and then I've heard don't do that or they will never get used to the colder months. I have silkies, polish and RIR and an Ameraucana. I'm thinking the RIR and Ameraucana will be fine and possibly the polish but the silkies, I'm not so sure. Since they originate in China I would think they would be fine with our cold weather...but watch me make a temperature mistake and lose one! I think keeping them in the garage with their heat lamp gradually moving farther and farther away will help with the transition.
I'm also curious about what to keep in my medicine case. I've gotten some great advice on the forums here but I'm still trying to work it out. I know that anyone who has birds should have blood stop and electrolytes of some kind. I'm still researching what else but most feed store people make it seem so simple. I'm wondering if I'm over-complicating it.
I guess if my exotics were healthy I can make a successful go at chickens! Wish me luck!