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[FONT=trebuchet ms,geneva]4/16/12[/FONT]
Wow... really long time since my last update. We are basically starting over this year. Our last batch, from 2010, didn't end up laying before winter. We waited until spring and as the weather started turning, tragedy struck. While the coop I build was solid, the run was not as secure as I thought (especially considering we have a fenced in yard, too). Over two nights we lost 5 of our 7 (we lost the one with a crooked beak over the winter when she just couldn't eat enough) to a racoon. Only days later, the remaining two started laying! We had 3 days of eggs before the racoon struck again (despite our shoring up efforts). Fast forward to now...

On Saturday 4/14/12 I went to the feed store for rabbit pellets and came home with a mixed lot of 8 chicks. I have no idea what kinds (they weren't segregated), but I got 3 of one kind, 3 of another and 2 of another. They are safely ensconced in the house with their heat lamp now. That gives us time to do a thorough coop cleanout and re-do the run completely. So, here's hoping for success in 2012!!

[FONT=trebuchet ms,geneva]5/13/10[/FONT]
Well, I certainly didn't plan to wait this long for an update, but its been crazy-busy here. :) I guess the first thing I'll do is update about the chicks. First, the sad part. We lost 3 of our girls, including the two youngest. I thought that the chicks were close enough in age to be put together. They were okay for almost 2 weeks. One night we checked everyone before bed and all was well; food & water topped off. The next morning my 10 year old found the two littlest dead and one large one that didn't look "right". I quickly made up a separate bin for Rosie. I thought she might recover since she started standing a bit, but she wouldn't eat or drink and within an hour she was gone, too. :( We were sad, but the kids have had pet losses before so there wasn't a total breakdown. We said goodbye and buried them outside. Oh, and the second little one (unnamed as of 4/8 update) was named Alice. So, RIP Rosie, Alice & Pretty.

We have pretty much finished the coop now. It just needs a coat of paint on the outside (sealed/primed already), an outside run (have materials) and I'm thinking it may need another window/vent. I also need to put some weather stripping around the edges of the nest box and find a way to cover the gap by the hinge of same. But it has rained on it already and I don't see any leakage to speak of. I put a little, temporary roosting bar in for the girls and they seem to like it. I call it their "training bar". :)

So, after giving it some thought, we decided to get 3 new chicks. On May 04 we picked up 3 White Wyandotte chicks at the feed store. They were already a week old then, making me feel better about their hardiness compared to the day old chicks they had. Plus, they were friendlier. :) We brought them home, named them and put them out in the coop near the big girls, but separate. What I did was to take the screening I'd been using over the tote/brooder and staple it up over the opening between the main coop and the nest box. Since none of the girls will be of laying age until around September, they don't need a nest box yet anyway. Therefore, the little ones have their own cozy area, but they can all see each other. We can change the chick's food & water from the outside of the coop. :) We hooked up the heat lamp in there, too. Working great so far.

Well, I figured I'd get all the 'splainin' out of the way first, then do the pics. So, here are the new pics to enjoy. :) I've tried to limit what I've put here compared to how many I've actually taken!

pics soon

[FONT=trebuchet ms,geneva]4/08/10[/FONT]
We have been busy working on our coop all week. As of today I have all 4 walls up and the exterior nest box in place. There are issues with my construction, but nothing major that can't be dealt with. Lets just say that its a good thing there aren't building codes for coops!
We also picked up 2 more chicks at the feed store on Monday (4/05/10). Wow! Just that one week makes such a difference in size between the chicks! We were hoping to get 2 Rhode Island Reds, but I guess they are popular. The feed store won't allow chicks to leave before 10am. By the time we got there at 11am, all 30 RIRs were gone and there were only 6 Araucana (out of 30) left. So, we took home two more Araucanas.

Now, one of them is yellow! They assured me that they are Araucanas and that some come in yellow. I didn't realize this. Makes me wonder if the other 2 yellow chicks we got actually are Araucanas, too. Hmm... time will tell. Anyway, one of the new chicks has been named Pretty. Abby (2 years old) kept petting her and saying... well, "pretty".
Once again, we have a chick with no name at the moment. So, we'll have to work on that. More pics of the growing girls tomorrow. :)

[FONT=trebuchet ms,geneva]4/02/10[/FONT]
We brought the girls home today! So far, 5 out of 6 have names. My 2nd oldest daughter is the hold out for naming one. :) Her New Zealand bunny from last fall still doesn't have a name either... see a pattern here? At any rate, here are our girls (I'll replace fuzzier pics with better ones as I can):


Unknown Yellow Chick


[FONT=trebuchet ms,geneva]Franny[/FONT]


Unknown Yellow Chick

I am Dee and my children and I are just beginning our journey as Backyard Chicken Farmers. :) We will be bringing our 6 baby chicks home from a friend's home tomorrow (4/2/10). We have 4 Araucanas and 2 unknown yellow chicks. No roosters! I am also planning on getting 2 or 4 more at the local feed store in the next month.

We will be building our coop over the next week, too. Hopefully starting on Easter, if there is time. If not, definitely by Monday (unless it rains. Again.). I'll update with pics as we go. I ended up making my own plan using Google Sketchup after looking at many, many plans. I'll only be using 6 sheets of plywood! The coop will be 4' x 6' and 6' high at one end, sloping to 4' at the other. There will be an exterior nesting box with outside access. The "people door" will be on the 6' end. The run will be approximately 4' x 8' x 4' high.

For now, here is a pic of the chicks. Well, its a pic of all the chicks our friend is holding at the moment (several people in on one hatchery order), but some of them are ours. :)

Thanks for stopping by and keep checking back!

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