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Monday, February 29, 2016

Adventures in Homesteading - The Chicks

I grew up on a farm in South Alabama, but I can assure you that despite all of the attempts from my parents I was as far from a farm girl as you could get. As an adult I have found a love and appreciation in being able to grow our own food and self-sustain our family as much as possible. This has led us on an interesting journey to say the least. We live in a rural area with plenty of room to spread out. For the past few years we have planted a pretty substantial garden. This year we decided to add to the mix. Introducing our nine newest babies....

Now, before I get in to too many details I should say that we spent months researching adding these chickens to our little farm. We did not go out on a whim and purchase chicks. We built a coop, we purchased all of their supplies (including a first aid kit), and we read and read and read some more. It is so important to do your research before you jump in to something like this. My favorite source of information is The Chicken Chic, she knows her stuff!

Week 1

We got the chicks on February 21st when they were only a day old. We had been researching for probably a month or longer what kind we wanted and I really had my heart set on Easter Egger Chickens. These hens lay an array of egg colors, which I thought would be fun for us and for mini d. I thought we would have to order them online because I knew Tractor Supply wouldn't stock them during their Chick Days, which are actually going on now. Luckily, Daddy D stumbled upon a reliable hatchery on Craigs List right about the time we were ready to get our chicks! Instead of spending $70 ordering them online we got all nine for $27. Granted, these are straight run so we are hoping for at least 5 hens. We don't know how many roosters we may have in the batch yet! 

You can't just throw chicks out in the coop the day they are born. Without a mother hen they need warmth and safety. We built a make-shift coop for the house out of a large box. This is only temporary until they are ready to go in to the coop Daddy D built for them at about 6 - 8 weeks (details on our coop to come later). We are also using the EcoGlow 20 Chick Brooder, which has been our best purchase thus far for the chicks. We can leave the light plugged in and not have to worry about our house burning down while we are at work! 

Week 2

Our sweet little chicks are growing! They are starting to lose their fuzzies and get their feathers. They are also spending less time under their light and more time out playing. Although, totally not noticeable in this picture as I think it must have been nap time. We have expanded their chick condo to two boxes using some shipping tape and a box cutter. They seem to be enjoying the extra room. We still have them in the house and they haven't been a problem. They are in our foyer and have actually been really fun! They sleep when we sleep so there hasn't been a noise issue and as long as you keep their bedding clean there isn't a smell.

Side Note: It's also important for your health and theirs that the bedding is kept clean, and that their food and water is free from debris.

We are finally letting mini d hold them a little more. For their safety we didn't let her really get them out at all the first week. Over the weekend it was warm enough for them to go outside for a few minutes as well. We let mini d name them and most of them have names now. We've got Bra-Bra, Cash Man, Betsy, Adra, and my personal favorite Judy. I'm sure the remaining four will get their names soon enough. So far we are loving this new adventure! I will keep you updated as they progress...

Much Love, Misti

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