In retrospect I can say that May is bird month around here. We have fourteen incubator hatched chickens in the coop that are approaching seven weeks. And we have had a wild goose family staying around with their four chicks.
At the end of March I posted a video of a the pair of nesting geese, before they had chicks, chasing off another couple. Now that their goslings are several weeks old, they have a whole new attitude. What was one family has grown to three families, with twelve goslings in all. They have been here for a couple of days now.
I’ve been posting cute chick pics lately but make no mistake about it, I took the leap with incubating eggs for the home grown meat. I’m feeding these hungry chicks now, in order to feed my family this summer. Some of these chicks have less than two months to live. Continue reading
A week after hatching I still have fourteen healthy chicks in the brooder. You can see in the picture that they are beginning to get their feathers. Now that the drama of hatching and moving from the incubator to the brooder is over, the next big question is: what do I actually have?
Today I moved fourteen fluffy chicks from the incubator to the brooder. I am no longer an incubator virgin. I would say that I had a positive initiation experience.
The early bird…
With a day still to go, according to the electronic countdown on my incubator, there are seven chicks and counting making a racket in the incubator.
Early this morning, there were two, and those two are beginning to look cute and fluffy.We called them early birds. Now, in the early afternoon, I see that they are a few hours ahead of the game, and stronger and more aggressive than the others already.
I always thought that the expression, the early bird catches the worm, meant that if you were prepared and got up early in the morning, you would be rewarded. But now I’m wondering if it first came from the idea that the early bird, the one that breaks free first, would surely get the first worm from its mother…
Feedback is welcome. 🙂
It’s almost time to test the incubator.
The delivery man came speeding up my driveway this morning as if the delivery of this incubator was an urgent matter. It really wasn’t but maybe he was just feeling the urgency spring. The lines for garden supplies at our local nurseries indicate that he is not the only one with spring fever.
I asked around, (mostly homestead and chicken groups on-line) and felt reasonably safe about dancing with this incubator. At just over $130 including tax, it was definitely more expensive than if I had made one myself, but sort of mid-range in price over all. Continue reading
On Wednesday I went to the supermarket and bought a flat of eggs, like I’ve been doing for years. They go fast in my house. That’s one reason we got chickens in the first place, three growing boys. I told the cashier that this might be the last time I’d buy eggs at the supermarket, saying that my fourteen hens should start laying some eggs for me any day now. She asked me when we got them and I told her it was early May. They were about a week old when we bought fourteen hens and one rooster, who now has acquired the name Foghorn Leghorn, given to him by my husband. I generally just call the hens collectively “Ladies.”
“Well you should have eggs by now,” said the cashier. That’s what I was thinking, and that other people seem to have more experience with chickens than me. We’ve fed and watered them, cleaned up after them, and laughed at them too, for five months. But I was standing there at the register, like a virgin, having heard plenty of talk, read and looked at plenty of literature, but wondering if I was ever going to get the real thing.
Chicks at the door.
This isn’t a scientific study, just some chicken coop observation. My chickens are a bunch of chickens. We got them when they were about a week and a half old, some New Hampshire, some Rhode Island, a couple of Ameraucanas and a White Leghorn rooster. After building the whole chicken coop and run, my husband still had to construct a box, with a light bulb to keep them warm and cozy for a little while longer. Then he said he was done. So it was my turn, to do something other than talk and write and read about chickens. First things first, keep things clean. That brings to mind another chicken expression that I won’t repeat here. Continue reading
A raised platform for the coop on a hill sloping in two directions.
We’ve been talking about keeping chickens since we moved to Greenville, back to Greenville in my husband’s case, about four years ago. But I really don’t know much about keeping chickens. I started reading a few books a few years ago, and I surfed around the internet a bit, to learn what I can. But I know that if I haven’t done it before then I really don’t know anything. Practical experience is what I lack. My husband remembers his Big Daddy’s chicken coop, and he’s been “talking to people” who know something.
A solid frame will last for years to come.
One thing I keep hearing from folks around our neighborhood is “we used to have chickens but” after which they will lament their loss to a coyote or weasel. There are also foxes, raccoons, possibly bobcats, not to mention our own two cats, three dogs, and the red tail hawks nesting overhead. With all that to think about, this won’t be a free relationship. We don’t need a chicken shack; we need a chicken fortress. Continue reading