Poop Machines

Poop Machines

baby chickI thought we ordered cute, little chicks. Whoa boy, either I was wrong or the hatchery messed up our order. We have one-week old poop machines! I dutifully replace the brooder’s paper towel liner twice a day. Within minutes, it looks like a Jackson Pollock piece…. They’re cute, little poopers, I guess.

We’ll build the tractor this weekend and move the chicks to it soon. A chicken tractor is like a brooder, but the bottom is open. You place it around the yard; the chicks scratch, peck, and poop all they want. Instead of messy paper towels or litter to change, you end up with tilled, fertilized soil.

 

Good Homes

Good Homes

The chicks are growing. They’re almost a week old and have already started to feather out their wings and tails. We’ll only be keeping six for our flock of layers. (We started this adventure with a desire to use the backyard coop and get the bonus of fresh eggs.)

Chicks at nightLuckily, we have two sets of friends who are going to take the rest of the chicks. The Breeses and Fahlgrens are building their coops as I write (sorry Jere and Ken, more work!). It’s nice to know the little cottonballs will be close by and well cared for.

Chick Research

Chick Research

Connor building brooder box

I know nothing about chickens. Or, at least, nothing about raising chickens. It’s time to learn. If all goes well, the post office should be calling tomorrow to let us know that they have a chirping box of chicks for us.

The boys and I have been reading books and scouring chicken Web sites during the past month. These five have been especially helpful in choosing and preparing for our new arrivals:

Your Chickens: A Kid’s Guide to Raising and Showing

Book by Gail Damerow

 Although this book is meant for kids, it’s my favorite quick reference guide.

The Joy of Keeping Chickens

Book by Jennifer Megyesi

This one is a treat for the eyes. Beautiful photography and practical advice.

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens

Book by Gail Damerow

My assumption and hope is that Ms. Damerow knows her stuff. This is the second book of hers on our bookshelf. Great chapter on table eggs.

Backyard Chickens

Web site by Rob Ludlow

This was where I started. Great site for general info with an excellent, active user forum.

The Great American Egg

Web site by the Hoffman Family

Justice and Anita Hoffman are friends of ours who might just be as crazy as we are. They live in Powell Butte, have two beautiful daughters and an assortment of livestock. Anita was my go-to person for questions this month as we were preparing to order our chicks. They’ve supplied us with fresh chicken for the past six months. Look for their “great American eggs” at the Bend Farmer’s Market.

    New Life (Our Chicks Hatched Today)

    New Life (Our Chicks Hatched Today)

    baby chicks

    We moved into our house last fall with the intention of getting a few laying hens this spring. The house has an old chicken coop in the backyard; it was one of the first things the boys noticed. So, it’s July now. Baseball is finished, the 4-H pigs are well on their way, and we’re ready for those “spring chickens.”

    After much research, we ordered a batch of day-old chicks from Welp Hatchery. They hatched and shipped today, so it’s time to finish our prep work. We’ll also say a quick prayer that the chicks have a safe journey from New Mexico to Oregon.