[FONT=comic sans ms,sand]The Chick Shack - Grand Bay, Alabama[/FONT]
We began our journey into the world of raising chickens at the end of October, 2008. We moved to a small farm in Grand Bay. I had raised many bantams during my childhood in Mississippi. We decided we would get large breed chickens for the eggs.
The first set of 4 chicks came from the Mobile Flea Market. I immedately remembered all the care needed for day old chicks. These 4 fluff balls lived in a box in a spare room for a few weeks. We thought we had 3 barred rocks and 1 black australorp. We hoped for 3 hens and 1 rooster, but of course it was the other way around. My daughter took the hen, Hannah Montana, my son took a barred rock roo and named him Barack Obama (or Barred Rock Obama), my husband took the other roo and named him J.J. (Jimmy Johnson, Nascar), and I took the Black Australorp, Blackie, (I know, not very original).
The chickens soon graduated into a 6' dog kennel covered in chicken wire. That was a nice project. We have many dogs around our farm and a very chicken hungry Weimaraner of our own. The chickens had their own house and I put them up every night. Pretty soon they were outgrowing their kennel.
The chick shack dream begins. After surfing Backyard Chicken Coop Design, we decided to use the Woods Family design to build on. My husband started construction on our 8x8 house and 17 foot run in March. By the end of March, I was ready to get more hens to go with the roosters.
A trip to St. Elmo Feed and Seed was very productive one Friday. They had pullets and roosters separated. They had 8 different breeds of large chickens. Not being able to decide..I took one of every breed. We came home that day with 8 babies to raise.
The pullets did very well again in a box in a spare room for several weeks. This time every person in the family got 2 pullets each. My daughter took a Buff Orpington, Puffalena, and a Red Sex Link, Stripalena. My son took the Barred Rock, Molly, and the Black Sex Link, Pretty. My husband had the Gold Sex Link, Taffy, and the Rhode Island Red, Chickashea. I finally took the Black Australorp, Blackalena, and the Buff Minorca, Goldie.
The pullets graduated to the kennel and the big chickens went into the Chick Shack. We eagerly awaited the day Hannah Montana would lay an egg.
Trouble began soon after moving the grown chickens. My son had renamed his chicken Ryan Howard and he began attacking me when I entered the house to feed the chickens. J.J. also began getting aggressive towards me when I entered the run. We decided something had to be done, so we moved Ryan Howard and J.J. into the Kennel and put the 8 pullets in with Blackie and Hannah Montana. We have decided due to some color variations that our roosters are quite possibly Black Sex Link Roos instead of Barred Rocks.
A glorious day came on May 12th, I entered the Chick Shack to find our first brown egg! It was slightly cracked, but was beautiful. My daughter was thrilled that Hannah had finally laid an egg.
The Chick Shack needs a coat of paint and few last details, but it is truly a wonderful, safe home for the chickens. I will post more about the construction of the Chick Shack and photos at a later date.
May 18th Update - Hannah has laid 4 eggs. We made brownies with two of them tonight. We have the paint for the Chick Shack and just need some time to paint. I will try and post pictures after we get it painted. All chickens are doing well..the pullets still do not know how to use the ramp to get into the house to roost at night. We keep stuffing them in every night. I wish they would get the hint.
May 27th - Hannah is up to 9 eggs. We have cooked cookies and cakes with them. The pullets finally learned to go in the house and get on the bottom roost. Blackie and Hannah have dibs on the top roost. I made a waterer out of a 2 1/2 gallon bucket and pet food dish from Wal-Mart. I drilled 2 holes about 1 1/2 inches from the top of the bucket. I filled the bucket up and put the food dish on top and inverted it. The pullets loved it.
May 30th -I could not resist 4 little feather legged bantams at the local feed store. It is the last shipment for this year. We are not sure what they are, but they are very cute!
June 8th - The bantam babies are doing well. Hannah is at a whopping 19 eggs and laid 6/7 days last week. She took Sunday off of course!
July 7th - Hannah just started laying again after going broody. This is egg number 21 for her. The 8 pullets are beautiful, but still no eggs. The 4 bantams are coming along nicely. We have 2 that look like buff Brahmas, but the other two are mystery chicks. One buff is definitely a roo. I hope ther other is a hen. One chick isn't getting his feathers like the others. Maybe he is a cochin? The other is like the buffs only smaller. They are still cute as they can be!
February 3rd, 2010 - After a long break from BYC.....here is the latest update on the Chickshack crew....all 8 pullets have grown up to be wonderful hens. We are getting 5-7 eggs a day right now. The 8 hens have trumped Blackie and Hannah and they now sleep in the rafters of the Chickshack...so there! We raised our first offspring from the hens and blackie...one lone rooster...Austie. He is a black australorp. I have only had the one setting of about 6 eggs...another one hatched, but died. Austie lives with the bantams in their pen. Chickshackdad is constructing the Chickshack II to be completed this weekend...we hope. The bantams turned out to be a pair of buff brahmas - Harry and Hermione, a golden laced cochin - Jenny, and Austin - ???cochin..birchen maybe??? Getting fired up for the spring and lots of baby chicks....my goal is to add some more large breed hens to the Chickshack and maybe some more bantams.
Ryan Howard and J.J. were sold to families where they could have their own hens. I am also selling eggs since we have more than we can use. This helps pay for a little of the feed those girls love to eat!
February 7th - The Chickshack II is complete!!!!!
February 9th, 2010 - The bantams and Austie are now living in the ChickshackII. The girls laid 2 eggs today in the new nest boxes. Jenny and Austie are still sleeping outside on a roost so I put them in after dark. Very cold tonight with temps in the 20s. Thinking about buying some Ameraucanas this Friday at the feed store.
February 11, 2010 -I bought 6 of the cutiest Ameraucanas at St. Elmo Feed and Seed. This little girls will be a great addition to the Chickshack. We named them SnowQueen, Kiwi, RyRy, Kayla, Snowflake, and Snowball. Three of the names are in honor of snow flurries in Grand Bay and a day off from school!
February 18, 2010 - Well, I must stay away from the feed store...bought 5 silkies, 1 silver laced wyandotte pullet and 1 white rhode island pullet. The silkies are 2 white, 2 partridge, and 1 black...straight run, so who knows what we will have. We are waiting on the names until we see what they are.
April 14, 2010 - Chicken update....1 ameraucana had a severe cross beak and died.....the white rhode island was killed by a snake. Everyone else is doing great. Husband has started on the new pen and house......The Silkie Shack. The large breed hens are laying well with the 2 banty hens. Large breed hens eating feathers, found out I need to feed them Black oil sunflower seeds or boiled eggs....protein deficiency. This site is great for questions. I will be feeding them more protein so the feather eating ends....I hope! Bantam update...Austin is a dark brahma....Jenny and Hermione lay almost every day... The only hen that has gone broody is still Hannah....a couple days of nest isolation always breaks her though.
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