Well, I did it. I contacted Meyer Hatchery & ordered 15 day old chicks. I've been thinking about having chickens on our property since moving to the country, but had no idea what all is involved. Last year I started reading all kinds of info about raising chickens, talked to people who have them and started planning. Hopefully it will all go smoothly & be as easy as everyone says it is.
My babies should be shipped June 1st, arriving between the 2nd & 4th. I called the post office & told them they could call me as soon as they show up. The postmaster said that would be around 6:30 am. I said that was fine & gave them several numbers to contact me. Let's see how this goes.
Wish me luck.
June 2, 2010
The phone rang at 5:30 a.m. telling me I could pick up my babies! WOOHOOO! I have had the brooder set up for a week, and have had all the supplies practically since the day I ordered them LOL! OMG they are adorable! One at a time, I took them out of the shipping box, inspected their hind end for pasty butt & dipped their beaks into the drinking font. The first one had no idea what it was for, but after 3 tries she got to drinking. All 15 were in good shape & seemed happy to get out of the cramped box they travelled in. I had turned on the heat lamp right before I left so it was a nice toasty 90 degrees in the box. It got up to around 95 or so and they are all pecking at the crumbles I tossed on the floor of the box. I made sure they were all drinking & eating, and now they are getting an hour or so of quiet time (since my daughter has been playing with them since 8:00). I think the most difficult thing about getting these hens so far was WAITING for them to get here!
My daughters & I made a huge list of possible names, and our Pastor wants to name one something biblical. I told him he could choose which one to name (he chose Jezebel, hahaha), and so he has to come over to see which one gets that name. I have been told not to name them because it is hard to use them for meat, but I don't think that is what will end up happening to this group. I think they will all die a natural death, not something imposed by me. How can you look at those little babies and say, "yeah, future dinner" ???? I definitely will still eat chicken, just not MY girlies. They can be my egg suppliers. Sooo.... they ALL GET NAMES. So there.
June 10, 2010
Ok, so been a mother hen now for a week, and am LOVING it!!!! If I had known how easy it was, I would have done this as soon as we moved to the country. These babies are so adorable. I love when they play so hard they just drop and fall asleep. I had to poke one to see if she was dead.... nope, just exhausted. I've been trying to handle them all every day so they know I'm allowed to touch them. They are now starting to hop up on my arm like a roost , and are pecking at every little speck. I especially like it when I put ants or spiders in & watch them all chase the chick that actually was brave enough to pick it up. Their personalities are starting to show. A few are shy, a few are brave and they are all curious about everything. If it doesn't rain this weekend, I'm taking them outside on their first "field" trip. Yep, setting up a pen in the field (close to the coop) and letting them see the grass, bugs, dirt, etc. I will take lots of pictures as I'm sure their antics will be hilarious. Having these girls around has been really great. It is difficult to go to work, clean the house, and all the other normal daily activities because I just want to play with them all day. Well, better get ready for work. More later.
July 18, 2010
The girls are almost too big for the brooder box. I have been putting them in a large pen during the day & keeping them inside the brooder at night for safety reasons. The coop is almost done. Just finishing up the final touches, installing the roosts this afternoon. I can't believe that they are almost 2 months old already. Time has been flying by so quickly. Out of the 15 chicks we got, they all survived and seem quite happy when allowed to be outside. They HATE when it is time to go in for the night.... and they are FAST. Luckily I am also fast. I know I shouldn't, but I have a few favorites. One of the Buff's is so sweet, one of the Australorps thinks she is my shadow, and one of the Barred Rocks thinks I'm a roost. She has to be "on" me. I have been trying to discourage that behavior because she will be a fatso trying to land on my head when she is full grown. They do love to have their necks and tops of their heads stroked. I have been struggling with keeping them cool enough this summer. The humidity is awful and they have been panting. I give them frozen water bottles, a tub with water to splash around in and put ice in their drinking water. It seems to be working fairly well. Gotta go give them some goodies...... more to come
October 20, 2010
FINALLY! Checked the coop and went to get fresh water, and there were 3 eggs. What good girls!!!! I don't know which ones did it, but it doesn't really matter. In a few short weeks they will all be laying. They are such sweet little girlies. I wish I had gotten chickens 5 years ago when we first moved to the country. I love having them here.
February 6, 2011
All the hens are laying. The challenge this winter has been keeping the water from freezing. They have been staying warm (enough) and seem unbothered by being closed up in the coop. On the warmer days I open it up, but since there is snow, they really aren't interested in going outside. I even tossed some scratch into the pen, but only a few of them would venture out.
I got a new catalog from the hatchery, and have been thinking of expanding. I don't think it will be much more work than I already do, and we have plenty of space for more birds. I even have another section of outbuilding that could be converted. We will decide by the end of the month if we are getting any more, and if so, what kinds.
Project of the season-chicken tractor. Since they are now laying I feel it is better to keep them enclosed in a tractor during the day and not running all over the 5 acre property. It isn't free-ranging exactly, but they will still be able to get the bugs and grass and stretch their legs. I won't be home to supervise & keep them safe AND I don't really want to go hunting for eggs. Will be gathering materials off craigslist for free. More later.