Showing posts with label baby chicks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baby chicks. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Chicken Tractor


I'm back with a little DIY inspiration today. It was time for Matthew's little chickens to move to a bigger home. We'd been trying to figure out what we wanted for them in this stage where they've outgrown their baby box but they're not yet big enough to be free rangers. My husband and I began researching and he found a really cool design for a chicken tractor on Youtube. Maybe you've heard of Joel Salatin? He has some really simple DIY designs for coops and tractors, believe me when I say we need simple, we really need simple. We are like the worst builders ever!




This little tractor is absolutely perfect for the chicks during their tween period. The tractor is 6'x8' with 1/2 enclosed and half wired. That gives them ample play space and a good amount of coverage for protection from weather or predators. The idea is to move the tractor daily so that the chicks are always on fresh ground, the best of both worlds, they are safely enclosed but free rangers at the same time. It's wonderful! Not to mention they are providing an excellent resource, free poop fertilizer!



It took a day and a half to build, not all that bad, and the chicks are in little chickie heaven. We moved them in yesterday afternoon and they went wild, running, flying and chasing after bugs, too precious y'all. I'll put the link down below to the video we followed along with to build ours just in case you need an easy option for homing your chicks too.


Every time I couldn't find Matthew, he'd be in the tractor with the chickens, hilarious! They look at him like he's a little out of place, go figure. Hope I inspired you today!
xo,
Amy

Chicken Tractor Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8gvQJENicc

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wait........ What Happened To My Laundry Room?


We had quite a tragedy here last December while we were out of town. All Matthew's beautiful silkies got eaten. It was tragic for my little guy and I've been waiting for spring to get a bit closer to start looking for Matthew a new flock. A couple weeks back, I turned to friends on Facebook and asked for their help finding Matthew some new chickens. They came through big time {thanks y'all!} and I was able to meet a new friend that raises her own chickens and goats not too far of a drive from our hometown! 



Her name is Janis and she is a hoot and didn't mind me asking her some pretty dumb farming questions about raising goats and all. I'm still pretty new to this country life and some things I still can't figure out, but she set me straight and didn't even crack a smile at this farm girl transplant! She had quite a few chicks, several silkies, easter eggers and a little black maran. I snatched the easter egger and black maran for me and the silkies for Matthew. She's expecting more silkies this week so I'm hoping to get him a few more. They are too doggone cute! We are hoping that one of them is a Frizzle. Ever heard of those? If not, Google it and be ahhhhhhmazed. They are, well, unusual would be a good word to describe them.



For now, my laundry room has been converted into a baby chickie nursery and I wouldn't have it any other way! I'm dying for a baby goat. Do you think the baby goatie would like the laundry room too??! What? You don't keep goats and chickens in you laundry room??
xo,
Amy

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Chick, Chick, Chick.... and A Winner




It's been a while since I've posted about our chickens and our flock has grown a bit, so I thought I'd share how it's all going. Back in May, I wrote about our chicken gardens. I'm thrilled to report that all the plantings held up really well with our free ranging, madly digging, bug hunting, flock. I only had one plant not stand up to the chickens foot traffic and I won't be planting that next spring, but other than that, it all went pretty well. The mulch mostly stayed in place and they only kick out a little of it now and again, so I was pleased with that as well. I really have no complaints with our gardens at all, and I'm really surprised! Their favorite plant {and mine} was the sweet potato vine I planted for a little color. They LOVE that thing y'all! It's been a big snack item for them every evening before bedtime. Funny how they actually have little schedules for where and on what they graze, but they really seem too.



My buff orpington just had eight littles, and the fun's begun all over again! All in all, I love having these guys around! And the best part is still all the fresh eggs that magically appear in the hen house. Love that part!!



Chickens are not a usual choice for pets, but we are pretty wonky over here, so they work for us! If you have the space for a small coop or a larger area for free rangers, I still highly recommend having chickens. They are really a whole lot of fun and having them supply all your eggs makes them a win-win! 

And speaking of winners........ our seven year old drew names from a hat for the give-away of the "Mommy, Why Don't We Celebrate Halloween" book and the winner is.....  Nori! I'll be in touch for your address. Thanks so much for commenting!

Monday, May 19, 2014

And Then There Were Nine



This boy of mine, he's seven now. It wasn't an easy seven years though. This one's a live wire. I was thirty-nine when he was born. It was a rough pregnancy. I developed pre-eclampsia and we both nearly died. But this child in all his wild and woolly ways, is also my most compassionate and a very deep thinker. About the time he turned six, he started thinking about his future family. He talks about having a wife one day and what kind of mini van he should buy to fit all his kids. Crazy, huh? But, he's so sincere. With his hen having her first chicks, he's been so emotional about it all. He came up to me with tears in his eyes the other day and said to me, "I just can't believe that I have nine baby chickies!".



And then in the next moment, he's chasing behind one of his sisters with a stick. Yep, he's seven and seventy all in one kid. I'm just so grateful to be a stay-at-home mom to not miss any of these thoughts of his. 

Wishing you all a very blessed Monday, and hoping that wherever this post finds you, it will be beauty-filled. Until next time.......

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Potting Bench and It's A Boy......Or A Girl?


I've always thought that potting benches were just so functional. I've seen so many of them combining cute and useful. I garden a lot in the warm months and am always searching for my supplies. Now they are all in one convenient place! Yay! No more "where's the scissors?". My twine, pots, watering can, gloves, etc., all right here within easy reach. This shelf was in the laundry room when we first moved in and I never really knew what to do with it. My daughter helped me out by refreshing the tired white finish with a new coat of buttery yellow paint.




My favorite part is the soap and hand towel. I make a big mess of myself gardening and I really wanted to be able to wash up while I was still outside. Check out this soap. I have a friend that hand makes her own soaps and has quite a little business going. I just received my first shipment of soaps and they smell heavenly! Check out her online shop called Seven Willows. I chose this one called Kudzu & Gnats. It's topped with poppy seeds that look like little gnats, so clever and cute as a button.




In other news, our youngest has been on baby chick watch, for three weeks.



Today, the first chick hatched. Matt has a pair of bantams, and his hen's sitting on ten eggs. He's a proud papa!



When he saw that the first chick had hatched, he ran screaming into the house "my chicks are here!!!!!". He's so proud. Not sure if it's a he or a she just yet, but Matt's thrilled either way. Stay tuned, nine more to go......... how's your week so far?

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

On Free Range Chicken Gardens

For years, our yard had LOTS of pine straw. I loved it around our plants in our gardens. Then I decided that I wanted to raise some free ranging chickens so that we could enjoy the benefits of the super healthy eggs they produce and I just love chickens anyhow.





I knew from past attempts that chickens and manicured landscapes just don't go well together, so what to do? I am pretty particular about our yard. I like our foundation area to be tidy and if you've ever had a loose chicken, you know they can destroy gardens pretty fast. I began researching online and came across a book that has become my chicken garden bible! I am in love with this book and read it all the time {you can find it here on Amazon}.




So, our first step was to remove all the straw and then to begin planting perennials and shrubs that were chicken safe.


{"Flame" honeysuckle vine, "Alaska" daisy, and Alberta Spruce to name just a few of our new plantings}

This takes a whole bunch of patience, I'll just tell 'ya. It's a three year plan because plants don't mature over night. They require years to fill in the space that you've provided them. We surrounded our new plantings with mini pine bark mulch instead of the light and fluffy pine straw. This has worked well. The chickens do scratch a bit and kick out the mulch onto the walks and driveway area, but it's pretty minimal.




You have to be o.k. with a little disorder if you're going to keep free ranging chickens, but it's totally worth it!




Now, where to put those free ranging birds? There are so many super talented DIY'ers out there with the greatest building skills, and they turn out to-die-for coops, sadly, we're so not those people as you'll soon witness when you see our coop. Building grand structures just escapes us. So, we approached our coop like we do all our other projects, do the best we can for the least amount of money. I wanted to see these chickies free ranging mostly in our front yard area, so our coop was placed under a massive maple in our front yard. This coop is a recycled dog house put up on stilts to provide safety.




I built predator proof doors on the front and back {for ease of cleaning out the coop}. Then a little decorating :)



{cutie sign from Bainbridge farm goods. Check out all the cuteness at their Etsy Shop }



I wasn't concerned with the size statistics you generally hear about for coops {average 3-4 sq. ft. per chicken} because our birds only sleep and lay their eggs in the coop. The whole day they're free ranging. We have five hens and one rooster and that's the max this coop will hold. I fill the coop with a thick layer of hay and clean out the droppings weekly. They are all quite happy with the set-up.








I can't tell you how happy I've been with these chickens. We are moving into year two with our gardens and are looking forward to adding more ground covers to reach our goal of pretty much no pine bark mulch at all one day. It's extremely rewarding and with the benefit of a super food being provided to your family, it's win-win. The statistics on eating eggs from free rangers as opposed to store bought eggs is indisputable.

{Our Super Happy Little Foragers}

If you've ever considered having chickens, I highly encourage you to try it out. They are so much fun to watch and often provide a much needed dose of comic relief! And let's face it, the more laughter the better! Happy Thursday Everyone!





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