Summer Chicken Project — Update (Sept 9th)

As if we didn’t have enough going on, we added chickens to the farm this summer, as a summer project.  Liv wanted chickens, and they seemed like pets that produce food, so what would be the harm!

In June, we went online to mypetchicken.com to check out the choices.  That website has listed every chicken known to man.  The choices can be sorted and filtered every which way to find the chickens of your dreams.  We chose chickens that were egg-layers and heat tolerant… and none of those with the fluffy feet.  We wanted classic farm-looking chickens.  We decided to get 8 different ones, basically because they were about three dollars each.  Seemed like a bargain….cue scary music.  The chicks were scheduled to arrive in mid-July.

Next we needed a chicken coop.   In typical fashion, we ordered it from Amazon.  Amazon has literally everything.  The coop arrived a few days later, Liv and I put it together over a couple of nights, and we were ready for chick arrival.

Promptly on July 17, we went to the post office to pick up the chicks.  We could literally hear them peeping from outside the building….the poor post office ladies had gotten an earful.  We picked up the brown cardboard box with breathing holes and made our way back to the farm.  We could barely wait to open it!

Note precise temperature

When we did open the box, inside were seven adorable little three-day old chicks…and one that had perished on the way.  We had been warned by MyPetChicken.com that there was a possibility that all chicks might not make the long trip.   I’m surprised that any of them made it, honestly, in the summer heat.  The chicken people at MPC (MyPetChicken acronym) are really good at what they do! We put the chicks in a wading pool on the back porch, complete with pine shavings, a heat lamp and a thermometer to ensure that we maintained the constant 95 degrees that they needed.

Note escape attempt and added wire.

 I also had to perform a little poop cleaning, with a booty blow dry, on a little one that had an upset stomach.  I followed the instructions on the website, precisely, and it recovered.  I won’t attach a picture of that….although I did take one b/c it was really funny to think that I would do that.  We had to continually reinforce the containment structure, as they became escape artists.

Chicken 3 - Week 5 outside

By the end of the third week, the chicks had to go outside because of the stench.  I tried to follow the instructions and keep the area clean, but there was only so much I could do.  Despite the high heat outside, we put them in the coop…albeit in the shade.  Randy assured me that chickens must be hardy…there are so many of them in the world.

Chickens -- doing fine

Now the chickens are seven weeks old and they are quite large.  In fact, so large that they have already outgrown the coop.  The coop was supposed to be big enough for 6-8 chickens, but these girls aren’t even half grown and they are standing sideways in the coop.  Not exactly free range. So we went to Tractor Supply and bought a 10 x 10 dog kennel.  To save $100, we bought the DIY version and put it together in the heat of the day, rather than spend the extra money and enjoy our weekend.  We added a tarp on the top, for shade and to provide hawk-resistance.  Anyway, the chickens are in a spa now.  They are chillaxing on the roof of the coop, so grateful to be part of the Majek family.

I noticed, later, that the new kennel/coop development gives the chickens the best view of the vineyard…..and is unfortunately situated between the house and the vineyard…ruining my view.  I haven’t broken the news to Randy, yet, that we have to move it….

Hope we get eggs soon.  L

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Update:  September 8, 2013

Yesterday morning, Liv checked on the chickens and Olivia Jr. (her favorite) was dead in the newly renovated spa/coop.  There were no signs of forced entry or fowl play…just a dead chicken.  We looked online (our only source of chicken info) and apparently chickens just die sometimes.

After some tears and a burial, we have moved on.  Randy spent most of today reinforcing the spa against intruders.  Personally,  I think it was an inside job.

Down to 6 chickens, no eggs yet.   L

 

4 Comments

  1. Forget the chicks. Get a dozen guineas. They work sunup to sundown eating bugs. Also, noisy–no unwanted guests. Buy them locally. They only need a house when they are young.
    Bonnie, Moravia

    Reply

    • Hi Bonnie, for right now I think we have our hands full with the chickens but guineas may be something for us to consider down the road. Thanks for the suggestion and for visiting the website! L

      Reply

  2. Love your blog . . . How are the chickens? Any eggs yet? ~ Nan

    Reply

    • Hi Nan, the chickens are doing great and we get tons of eggs from them! They’re doing a great job when it comes to egg laying. L

      Reply

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