Friday, May 1, 2009
Today we bought 44 chicks from a farm in Humansville, Missouri. Josh picked out 30 something, and the crazy bird lady kept throwing extras in the box. We bought five kinds: Rhode Island Reds, Australorps, Cinnamon Queens, Barred Rocks, and Buff Orpingtons.
Brooder - Any box or cage where chickens will stay the first couple of months. We've got a couple of larger cages and we may use our dog crates if they need to be separated because of age. In the pictures it looks like they have no room and they're on top of one another, but we had just turned the heat lamp and they were trying to warm up. Below is a picture of the brooder with all of the chicks huddled on one side.
Heat lamp - Needed to heat the brooder until chickens have feathers (sometime in the second month).
Waterer and feeder - We're using medicated chick feed for now, and we'll switch to high egg yielding feed later on in the summer.
Flooring - We're using shredded newspaper (friends, keep saving your newspapers for us).
Chicken coop - Ours was here when we moved in. Josh recently cleaned it out and it needs a paint job and we need to do some weed eating and fence repair in the chicken run surrounding it in the next week or two. We've got 10 metal nest boxes with roosts below, and a wall of 15 wooden nest boxes with no roosts. We aren't sure how the previous chicken inhabitants got to the upper two levels of nesting boxes, so we're going to need to build roosts or something to get them to the top level. The coup also has electricity, lights and an outlet, but the power has been disconnected and we haven't decided what we're going to do just yet.
Roost - A roost is a thin piece of wood or dowel that the birds stand on or use to get from the ground into their nest boxes. We may use a couple of rickety old wooden ladders for ours, if we know anyone who has one around.
*I wrote all of the chicken information assuming most of my friends don't know a lot about raising chickens. I am still learning, and I'm sure this post looks silly to anyone who has actually raised chickens before.
The ducks are coming tomorrow and we will use the same method and materials for them. They are going to live in the chicken coop with the chickens, but we will set out a kiddie pool for them to swim in. We may also take trips to the pond, depending on how easy the ducks will be to catch.