Jumping in from Merrickville


8 Years
May 31, 2011
Hello everyone,
we're about to jump into the chicken pool! We have a small farm near Merrickville, Ontario (www.CedarWoodsFarm.ca) where we've been raising grass fed beef for the past 5 years or so. We wanted to try chickens but things were always too busy (especially after Susan bought a cafe in town www.YellowCanoeCafe.ca). It's great to be able to use things fresh from the farm at the restaurant, and we love eating our "100 meter meals" at home.

My Son is now spending more time back at the farm and he was keen to try chickens so we're off on this together. We're planning on taking the pasture raised approach both to help build up our fields and because it sounds like the right way to do things. I'm thinking we might have "over achieved" on our first attempt, we have 100 "Freys Dual Purpose" (http://www.freyshatchery.com/Chickens.shtml#HeavyDualPurpose) chicks arriving tomorrow morning!

We've bought a heat lamp, a bunch of feeders and waterers, and some chick starter feed.

For the brooder I got a bit scared when I discovered I needed half a square foot for each chick for the first two weeks which then doubles each two week period. So I had the idea of using this cattle box that I bought at an auction a few years ago. It's made to fit the back of a pickup and the floor is about 5'x8' so I hope this will be good for the first few weeks at least until we build something bigger. I've been working through the brooder topic but most things in there are at a much more modest (and perhaps sensible
) scale!

Here's what it looks like inside:

Today's job is to put hardware cloth over the "windows" plus make covers so I can close them too. It's not clear to me how much I'll need ventilation and how much heat. Certainly today the temp is going to be 30°C +/- so I don't think keeping them warm is going to be a problem.

Also need to get some bedding. Is sawdust OK? I can get that for free from a local truss plant. How about cedar as I can get that too and will be milling up a bunch as soon as I get our chainsaw mill operational.

I have one heat lamp right now with a 250W PAR38 bulb. Is that going to be sufficient or do I need to get another one? I got a clear bulb, but have now seen a few references to the red ones being better. Should I swap?

We're figuring that once I get some wheels under this thing it could turn into our pasture "eggmobile" down the road.

Well enough for now, I'd better get to work on the coop. Tomorrow morning will come quickly I expect.

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Welcome to the neighborhood, Sounds like your off to a good start, that box has some serious chicken possibilities. With just minor mods, you can have you a nice coop with nest box area, plenty of roosting area, with wheels, just that much better.

Any information you may need, I bet a fluffy Australorp chick you can find it here somewhere.

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