After pondering and passively researching the topic over several years, I finally committed to raising chickens in spring 2014. I began construction on my coop in August 2014, took the following winter and spring off from construction, and resumed and finished early summer 2015. I am a one-girl team whose main job is not hobby construction, so this was an endeavor done in spare time.
Because I was reluctant to leave a heat lamp unattended, in the home, brooding chicks proved to be an intimidating aspect for me. I don't have a garage or a basement and having a large dog, my laundry room and one bathroom seemed my only considerations to keep them safe from the dog. Not ideal. So, no chicks. Until now.
I recently came upon a post by a BYC member who uses a heating pad to warm her brood and that got my hopes up. No fire hazard! This I found to be a comfortable way to get'er done. Thank you 'Mama Heating Pad!'
I ordered my heating pad and over the weekend set up a brooder using the bottom half of a large-dog travel crate and misc pieces of wire from my coop construction and gardening paraphernalia to make a dome-like cover, leaving room for roosting when the time comes.
Because 'chick season', locally, is pretty much over, I'd been looking at online chick ordering options but hadn't settled on any of those options. Yesterday, I happened upon one of our local feed stores who had just received a small fall shipment of chicks. I went home and looked up the three breeds they had. Realizing this might be my last chance before having to wait until spring, another 6 months, I decided it was time. Getting the chicks now and locally meant a small investment to see how I do as a newbie chicken mama, compared to the hatchery minimum order requirements and shipping prices which were unattractively high. So I last-minute decided to use the guest bedroom for the brooding space. (Sorry, no sleep overs for the next few months.) I can keep the bedroom door shut and I just laid out an old rug over the new carpet and draped the furniture in bed sheets. Because I can get up to only 85 degrees in the 'chick cave' I added my oil-filled portable radiator to the room and it's a toasty temp of 80 degrees in the room.
So here I am, just mere hours into chickendom. The peeps are tucked away for the night, and so too will be me and my dog.
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