Posts Tagged ‘chickens’

Feeding time

My mornings are starting to settle into a new routine: drink tea (t! leaves a cup of tea for me on the bedside table every morning when he leaves for work), get up & get dressed,  take the dog out to do his business, feed the dog (t! feeds the cats before he leaves), feed & water the chicks, then have my own breakfast. I’m well aware that this winter, the morning routine is going to include putting on my snow boots and jacket to take a gallon of warm water out to the chicken coop!

Feeding the chicks involves going out to the lawn with a pair of scissors and harvesting a couple of generous handfuls of grass, clover, and dandelion greens, which I then snip small. This gets mixed in with the chick starter in the feed trough. I really can’t tell how much of the green stuff they are actually eating, but hopefully they are learning that the green stuff is also food. 

Here is today’s cute chick pic, ‘all lined up at the feed trough’:


The chicks are two weeks old today!

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Chickens: The chicks are doing really well. They’re eating and drinking and gaining weight and getting bigger and louder and trying to learn to fly. And they’re still incredibly cute. Yesterday I started them on green food in addition to the chick starter (which contains corn, roasted soybeans, wheat, flax meal and minerals). I carefully harvested (with scissors) a tempting selection of green grass, clover, and dandelion leaves from my back lawn, chopped it fine, and mixed it in with their regular food. They liked it just fine. No new picture because they still look exactly the same as they did 2 days ago.

Carter: While he was boarded at the vet’s over the weekend, they x-rayed his broken leg to see how it’s doing. Result: he needs to be in the cast for two more weeks. Then last night t! noticed that the cast looked wrong, and saw that it had ‘slipped’ down his leg about an inch. Where his toes used to stick out the bottom, now they are barely visible. And more importantly, the cast now sits below, rather than covering his elbow. So we’re back to the vet’s tonight to get the cast re-padded.

Field: While I was out walking the dog the other day, I noticed something that looked suspiciously like strawberry leaves. I thought that was silly, the back field couldn’t be full of strawberries, could it? Maybe there is some kind of weed that has strawberry-like leaves. Then I spotted some that had flowers:


They’re strawberries all right! And  they’re everywhere. So in a couple of month’s time, we’re going to be overrun with wild strawberries. I expect the birds will get most of them – in fact I’m guessing that’s how they got here in the first place. Maybe I’ll try to find a nice big patch and rig some bird netting up over them in the hopes of getting a few…

and Garden: I haven’t had a chance to do very much digging. Hopefully soon. I have, however been stockpiling perennials in the garage. Blackcurrant bushes. Rhubarb. Blueberry and cranberry bushes. Asparagus crowns. Grape vines. And herbs: lavender and thyme. Now if the rain will just stop so that I can get out there and plant!

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Yesterday I drove to Carrying Place, Prince Edward County, Ontario to pick up my baby chicks. Carrying Place (named for a canoe portage) is just south of Trenton, and so the drive was about 3 hours each way. Since the hatchery was busy putting together shipments all day, Jason (the owner/manager/chicken breeder) asked me to come by at 7pm. So I got home at 11pm last night, with a box full of peeping baby chicks. 

Since I had prepared (mostly) their new home in advance, it didn’t take too long to settle them into their new (temporary) home, a large cardboard box:


They are all healthy and eating and drinking well – as far as I can tell. I peer into the box and see some chicks eating and drinking, but since they’re all pretty much identical, I have to hope that this means they’re all well. I will be checking them several times a day, and making sure that none of them are sitting in a corner looking miserable. Keeping the temperature up in the 30°C – 35°C range that it’s meant to be in for the chick’s first week is proving to be a challenge. When I tested my set-up last Friday the heat lamp was doing a great job, but it now occurs to me that I did the test on a warm afternoon. The heat lamp was struggling to keep the temperature up in the (insulated) garage when it went down to 6°C overnight last night, but the chicks all seem to be doing fine.

They were hatched on Friday, May 1st, so they were three days old when I picked them up, and when these pictures were taken. Yes, they are incredibly cute.


Here is an information page with some good pictures of what the chickens should look like when they’re all grown up. My chicks are the “partridge” coloration, which is a variant of the Chantecler that was developed in Alberta in the 1930s. I chose that variant because I’m hoping to let the chickens free range when they are big enough, and the partridge coloration seems like it would provide the best camouflage.

Jason at the hatchery thoroughly approved of these as a starter flock for a new homesteader. He said the demand for the old-fashioned, dual purpose (eggs and meat), homesteader-friendly heritage breeds was huge this year. He’s sold out of almost everything. 

I feel like we’re “real” homesteaders now. We have Livestock!

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