Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Happy Easter

The older chicks were outgrowing the brooder tank in the basement and needed to be moved to the coop.  Friday we finished painting the interior. Saturday afternoon we filled up the feeder and waterer and hung the heat lamp.  We are getting wood shavings for free from a carpenter friend as bedding so we spread them on the floor.  Then we gathered up the chicks and moved them out.  They huddled for a moment and then the fun began.  Running around and chasing each other and trying to show each other who's boss. They are so much happier with room to run around and roosting rails to jump up onto.  Even the Cornish Rocks are moving around more although their favorite thing to do is to still lay there and eat.  Poor things are too big to roost.  The nights are still chilly and, well the day is also for this time of year.  As I write it's 44 degrees out and our high today was about 58.  The coop is WELL insulated and with the heat lamp alone the tempurature in the coop only dips to about 58.  It is warmer under the lamp so they are fine and will self regulate their comfort zone.

Sunshine through the window.


 Amelia (but we're thinking maybe this is the rooster?)

Henrietta (she's the friendliest of the bunch and we are hoping she's a hen)

 Frankfurt, our HUGE Cornish Rock...4 more weeks....yum.  I only wish the kids didn't like to name them.


Then it was time to move the new baby chicks out of the small rubbermaid brooder into the big tank.  They also needed more space and are loving it.  I've added a mirror and a couple rocks to make things even more fun.  They are so much fun and I've picked out a few favorites already.
More room to run!

 Sadly, we lost one more chick yesterday and are down to 10.  Less to give away, yes, but still sad and a mystery.  The first 5 weren't thriving from the start but this last one we can't figure out. I don't think its anything that we are, or aren't doing.  Although we've learned a lesson in picking a hatchery that is closer to home next time.  A 3 day shipping adventure is too long.  So far these 10 are active and alert and lots of fun to watch as they run around and chase each other and look at themselves in the mirror.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chicks in the mail

The phone rang at 7:04 am yesterday and I just knew who was on the other end. "Hello, this is the Post Office, we have a box of baby chicks here for you".  My heart and mind started racing.  I was still in my pajamas and wasn't sure what to do first.  I don't have the brooder box completely set up, I have to get dressed, brush my teeth, do I drive or walk 1/2  a block to pick them up... Ironically I felt like a chicken with my head cut off and like an expectant mother.  So first things first.  29 degrees on a late April morning dictated that I started the car to warm it up (Mother Nature hasn't been listening).  Than I got dressed, brushed my hair and teeth and got the light all set up over the brooder box.  Then I drove around the block to the back door of the Post Office.  I rang the buzzer.............and then rang it again...and then my mailman walked out and I said "I want my chicks".  He said  that there is a box in there making lots of noise.  I took my cheeping box and headed home.  Took the box to the basement......

I opened it up to find everyone alive! 5 of them were very groggy (and those 5 didn't make it).  After reading the packing slip I realized that they were shipped Monday morning and been in the box for 72 hours!  Part of that time they were enroute through a snowstorm.  It amazes me that most of them survived.

Then they went into the brooder box.

And after dipping each beak into the water they seemed pretty happy and even more happy when I put a pan of feed in there!  After they hatch they eat the yolk and that sustains them for 3-4 days and that time was almost up.  They definately were hungry!  Only 3 days old and they eat, poop, sleep and generally act like chickens, scratching and pecking.

Rhode Island Red

Buff Orpington

Plymouth (Barred) Rock

Below is a short 2 minute movie showing the baby chicks and our other chicks that are now 4.5 weeks old.  Today we are putting a heater out there and painting it.  The older chicks will be moved out to the coop on Easter Sunday.  Then we'll start putting up an enclosed outside run so that when the weather finally warms up they can spend their days in the sunshine.

Nobody has names yet and the kids (who love to name things) are ok with that.  We'll wait until they get older and we decide which ones we will keep and which ones we will share with a couple friends.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Almost done with the coop

In 3 weeks the chicks have gone from this...

To this...

YIKES! right?  At this point the Cornish Rocks can be butchered and be called a "Cornish Hen".  We are going to let them get bigger and uglier. They will be in the freezer or table in 4-5 weeks. The Amerucaunas are very friendly and fun to watch.  In addition we have 15 chicks coming this week.  Possibly tomorrow very early in the morning!  Apparently the post office likes them gone as soon as they come in which could be 6 am.  Good thing we only live 1/2 a block from the post office.

Scott has been working hard in the sun, wind, rain, sleet and snow to get the outstide coop done.  It's basically ready for chicks we just need the weather to cooperate.  But with a Winter Storm (in late April!!)headed our way, all will have to sit tight for a while.  We'd like to paint the inside of the coop but the weather has to warm up.  Can you hear me Mother Nature? While we wait, the plans for the run outside the coop are being put on paper.

Monday, April 11, 2011


A warm afternoon meant a bit of outside time for the Amerucauna chicks.  They stood very still for a couple minutes.  Listening....

And then got more comfortable...

After 14 days with us we are still trying to figure out who's going to give us eggs...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Week 2 with chicks

The chicks have been with us for the last 9 days and are getting BIGGGER every day.  It's amazing to watch them change and develop personalities.  The kids have named them all and even though we don't know for sure which ones are males and which ones are females, from left to right starting in the upper left corner pictured is, George, Henrietta, Bubbles, Frankfurter, Brenda and Amelia.  We are not getting too attached to the Cornish Rocks.  They will be on the table or in the freezer by the end of May.  As crazy as it seems, we will be adding to the group in about 2 weeks.  We've ordered Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds and Buff Orpingtons.  We also are hoping the weather warms up so that when the new chicks arrive we will be able transition the older chicks to the coop outside.

This fast growth and addition of new chicks has prompted us to get the coop built.  Its amazing what a long day of hard work will get you.  Floor and 2 walls are in complete with insulation and an insulated screen/storm door found at a home building resale shop.  Next up will be a ceiling, insulation and interior walls, perches, nesting boxes, hanging feeders and waterer, rubber flooring and a door to the outside run.  Still a ways to go but most of the dirty hard work is done.