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New adventure

This is the post excerpt.

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Why Birds, Kids, and Jesus? 

Well Birds because apparently I am a crazy lady who decided that I needed to purchase 22 baby chicks with no experience whatsoever to raise for eggs and meat.  Kids because I have children ranging from 3 to 15 and they are a large reason why we decided to buy a farm in the first place.  And JESUS because the good LORD knows I couldn’t do it without him.

Since I recently came home from our local Tractor Supply store with 22 baby chicks in a brown box, I have been googling my eyes out.  It came to mind that if I document what I learn maybe someone else will be able to learn from my blunders.  

First lesson learned:  Do not buy chicken’s on a spur of moment decision just because your husband finally had a moment of weakness and agreed to let you bring “some” home.

Thankfully Tractor Supply graciously showed me all the supplies that I would need to get started and sent me home with brochures full of basic need to know information for raising chickens.  When we got home I moved the chicks into a larger plastic tote full of bedding, food, and water, until I could get one of our watering troughs clean and dry.  

Within a few hours our newest additions were set up in our garage in a large watering trough, complete with soft bedding, heating lamp, food, water, and a baby cakes pecking block.  

In our new little flock we have 13 Asian Blue chicks and 9 Rainbow chicks.  It has been 3 days since I brought them home and so far so good.  They all seem to be adjusting well.

I have been reading so much information that I am dreaming of chickens in my sleep.  I believe that my chicks range somewhere between 2-3 weeks old based on the information I have read online.  They are just starting to get some feathers.  The Asian Blues have already doubled in size in 3 days and have twice as many feathers than when they came home.  They seem to be a bit aggressive and definitely curious.  The Rainbows have not changed much so far but seem to have a much sweeter disposition and a bit more shy.

  I am very excited to start documenting our new adventure.  I will continue to upload pictures of their growth and progress and write about what I have learned and the blunders I am sure to encounter along the way.  I am open to suggestions and advice if anyone wants to chime in.  All is appreciated.  As I begin this new adventure I will have to remember that ” Through Christ I can do all things.” Phillipians 4:13.

Summer Days

Summer days make great memories with lots of outdoor time and lots of photo opportunities.

Our own backyard is one of my most favorite places on earth. There are always new sights to see, whether it’s a pretty butterfly or the chickens pecking the ground.

The ducks moseying about…

The pond seems to be a common gathering ground.

The hill top always proves to have awesome views…

Even from the front porch you can catch some pretty awesome sunsets.

Summer has not been all sitting back relaxing taking pretty photos though. Work has also been accomplished. Such as picking homegrown tomatoes.

Even Henrietta went to work with the guys.

Collecting eggs

Catching a nap where possible

And there is always time for fishing

Masked Foe

We have recently suffered a great loss at the hands of the Raccoon. I had become comfortable and complacent with the lack of a predator’s presence. The goats in the barn had been enough of a deterrent to keep danger at bay even when we kept the Rooster out of the coop or left the door open because all the chickens had not come in yet. Unfortunately the prospect of so many little chicken dinners was too much for the raccoon to ignore any longer.

We had moved the pullets and cockerels out to the barn and were keeping them in a kennel in the barn with only a tarp tied down over the top. The older chickens had not yet taken to the younger ones and I couldn’t keep them in the coop together. I thought by putting the roost in the middle of the kennel they would be safe. It had been enough for the rooster for quite some time. I was wrong.

I went out one night as I usually do just before dark to put all the chickens up and noticed that 3 were missing. I searched everywhere with no luck. It was not until the next morning that I realized my mistake. I always count at night but never in the morning, always assuming that at night they are safe. The next morning, not only were 4 more chickens missing but some of the remains had not made it out of the kennel. My poor chickens had been shredded. My stomach turned and I briefly considered getting rid of all the remaining chickens just to not ever have to suffer loosing any more of them.

I didn’t realize that one raccoon could cause so much damage. The trail cam that I had hung the night before in the barn told the tale well enough. One large raccoon had climbed on top of the kennel and pushed the tarp out of the way, easily slipping in, leaving the chickens with nowhere to run. It was a lesson learned the hard-way.

The next night all the chickens went in the coop together. I figured it would be better to patch up one of them after establishing their positions than loosing anymore to a greedy raccoon. I even let the rooster sleep in the coop. Surprisingly there was no squabbling. They have all adjusted without any bloodshed. Now that is not to say they all get along at this point but they are not trying to kill each other.

We set a trap the next night for the raccoon and when I got home from work around midnight, the masked foe had been caught. I lectured him on the fact that had he not been so greedy, he might not have found himself in this predicament. If animals could talk, I am sure he was laughing at me because in the morning he was gone. He managed to slip out of the trap when given enough time. He has not been back so far but I’m sure he has not given up completely.

The new living arrangements have not suited everyone. Henrietta has now become more of a yard pet than a barn chicken.

Some of the new pullets started ganging up on her and pulling out feathers. I would imagine this is because she has not been right since the rooster wounded her. She limps and has a hard time moving between uneven surfaces. I kept finding her off by herself and she stopped coming back to the coop at night. So we did some arranging in the garage and front yard. Now she is sleeping in the garage in the old brooder at night and if she can manage to chase the cat out of my daughters playhouse she lays her egg there during the day.

As for the other chickens, they seem to being doing well.

We have too many males though and if not Rehomed they will make their way to the butcher. With the loss, our males almost outnumber our females.

Loss is never easy, whether it be a beloved pet or livestock, it just doesn’t quite seem fair.

Warm weather brings change and unexpected surprises

It has been a while since I have written. Life gets to be too busy for electronic devices when the weather gets nice. Tonight we have left the farm life behind for some weekend camping so I have had a little time to look through my pictures.

Our biggest surprise this spring was babies.

Lucy and Ricky are now proud parents of two boys, Sven and Olaf.

The chicks are growing so fast and have recently been moved to the barn.

Once integrated well enough we will let them stay in the coop with the girls.

Right now Harriett is a little bit opposed to anyone new being in her space.

Foghorn has found his way into the goat pen.

He seems to be stuck there and that suits everyone for now as most of the girls backs are bare from being mounted too often.

The dogs are a bit upset that they have the kennel in the garage back from the chicks. They were getting used to their comfy beds in the house all day long.

The ducks have been moved to the pond and seem quite happy to have so much room and the water is plentiful.

Unfortunately we have lost two of the quackers already. Leaving us with only 4. I hope they find their hut island in the middle of the pond more acceptable soon so they will be safer from predators at night.

Despite my trail cams around the pond, I have yet to catch anything other than deer on camera. I suspect the sneaky fox or maybe a Wiley coyote but we have a lot of different predators that come out at night so it’s hard to say.

Back to the farm come Sunday but for tonight, the campfire feels nice.

Henrietta

Henrietta has settled into house life quite well.

She gets to play Barbies…

She gets to check on the baby chicks….

And even gets to go on outside walks

She has made some new friends

And has no problem following them back inside….

Or switching places with the cat

And then it’s back to bed in her heated healing room.

Her wound is healing nicely. It won’t be long before she will be back out with the others.

With the way the chicks are growing, it won’t belong before she has more company to choose from in the coop.

Babies, Progress, and Disaster

This has been a crazy week so I will start with the cute.

I truly had no idea that ducks grew so fast. We have had them two weeks and they have tripled in size!

(Before)

I believe that all 3 of the barred rock chicks that I got are males. It’s hard to say for sure but they are already acting like little protectors, curious about everything, and wanting to fly out of the trough before they even have all their wing feathers.

The Chantecler chicks are still balls of fluff. They arrived last week. Where does time go any how? Has it been that long since I wrote in last? Guess so.

My wonderful husband built me an awesome brooder for the new chicks.

It will double as an infirmary when not in use for chicks. Right now we are working on tweaking the heating system to keep temperatures at 90 degrees before putting chicks in it.

The delay has come in handy and I often say that everything happens for a reason. Henrietta gets to be the first guest in the new box.

Tonight she did not go back in the coop with the others like usual. She remained in an old nesting box in the barn. At 830pm it just didn’t seem right that she would still be trying to lay an egg. So I picked her up and carried her to the coop. She was a bit sticky so once in the light, I looked her over and found the culprit. Not only did she lay a soft shell egg but she was missing a large chunk of feathers which led me to look further. Below her wing, she has a nasty looking wound.

It goes quite a ways down below more feathers and I am not sure if it is tunneling due to the fact that it had already scabbed over. We sprayed it really well with vetricyn and gave her a treat.

She will probably be in the infirmary for a while so that she can heal. It is too cold to leave her in a dog crate in the coop. I am not quite sure what happened. I did find dry blood in the coop on the roost. It may have been Foghorn as he likes to hold her down even when not trying to mate. It could have happened outside the coop and she just came to bed bleeding. Caught on fencing? Predator attack? I just don’t know. This week the coop has also been compromised due to a collapsing roof. So an attack could have happened right in the coop on the roost.

This week the snow has been melting in the warm sunshine but not quite quick enough for the barn.

It has weighed the roof down and a weak support beam gave way. The roof is now resting on the chicken coop. Each day the splitting wood moves down a little further. The guys have spent all week since building a new goat pen and chicken coop.

Foghorn is not happy with this new situation as his girls can all fit through the new fencing of the goat pen now and he can not.

The girls are happy and when the new coop is complete they will be safer.

Good night prayers for a better week next week.

Babies galore

I believe that I mentioned before that I was crazy. I am also just smitten. I love watching the antics of all these balls of fluff.

This little barred rock chick thinks he is a duck.

The Chantecler chicks came in the mail today and all are doing well.

The new brooder wasn’t done yet. So against my better judgement, I put them in the brooder with the others. It ended up working out though. Earlier I had separated the chicks from the ducks but when the newbies arrived, the chicks from the last batch bailed over the barrier to be with their duckling friends.

They seem to be just fine so I will just leave it be until the new brooder is finished.

Jackson is having fun watching as well. I believe he is drooling a bit too.

I will be glad when spring comes and I can spend more time watching the older birds too. I believe I need a big picture window right into the coop. Right now it is too cold and windy to spend too much time out in the barn that is not being used in vigorous activity to keep warm.

Thank you Lord that our animals have the under coats and downy feathers to keep warm in the cold and that we have warm houses and cozy fireplaces. ( And that we have a warm place in the house to keep the babies warm that is also separate from the main house.)

Update

I had high hopes today that my little Brahma chick would pull through. This morning he was weak but still moving around. With a little bit of water and some molasses, he was more perky at lunch time, but by the evening He was limp and could barely peep.

My daughter and I picked him up and wrapped him in this towel and said a little prayer for the Lord to relieve his suffering. Within the next half hour he had passed on peacefully. The other chick who also had pasty butt was still eating, drinking, and pooping. So I moved her back with the other chicks.

On a brighter note……I think…..

before coming home with these new babies I had ordered a few chicks from a hatchery with the plan of them not arriving for a couple weeks. Today I got the call that they are ready early and will be delivered this week. Thank the Lord for my husband and his support. He is building me a separate brooder that should be ready by delivery.

The ducks and chicks are getting along well for the moment but I see separation in the near future. The ducks are so big that they trample over the chicks and push them away from the food and water. They don’t seem to be mean but just big and energetic. I have also changed the bedding 3 times today due to the wetness of the shaving because the ducks like to play. Right now there is plenty of room so the chicks can get where it is dry. But I think a little separation would be a good idea before the chicks get run down. I have been doing some online reading and think I may try horse bedding pellets for the ducks and see if it cuts down the moisture. One thing that can be said about farm life is that it is never boring.

I have not forgot about my other feather babies.

Foghorn says hello

He is a little wary of me right now. Nellie had some straw stuck in her beak a day or two ago and I tried to help her remove it. Foghorn must have thought I was causing her distress and came to her defense. This did not go well. I had to chase him around with a rake for a while until he decided to agree that he was not in charge. He is a little territorial over his hens as expected but Nellie is his favorite. Poor thing is missing some of her feathers because of this.

There may be a saddle in her future if the feathers continue to get pulled out.

Henrietta has found a new nesting spot and is currently not laying in the goat pen at the moment.

I am sure I will have more stories coming soon with all my new little additions. I truly believe I must be crazy.