Monday, February 11, 2013

The Stanley Man: So You Want to Raise Chickens . . .


Missed Adam's first installment of The Stanley Man? Read it here. Oh and Adam has also been promising me some posts for y'all about the delicious things he makes (like cereal milk ice cream and from-scratch Indian dishes and homemade granola. no big deal), oh and the fabulous home decor projects he completes for me, like the chandelier and a pallet wall . . . Again, no big deal. However, at the rate his posts are coming, it might be a minute so don't hold your breath.

Becca has been asking me for months to do another manly update and I figured after the last one I left all wanting chickens of your own…right? They are really easy to raise and care for. I think I mentioned we raised them from two day old chicks that our mail lady delivered to our front door. So here’s more details about raising them.

I picked out five chicken breeds based on their laying quailities (egg size, egg color, and quantity), their color, and their temperament. I ordered them from mypetchicken.com which was excellent in getting the chickens to us alive and getting us all hens as ordered. Becca was not very happy with the thought of what happens to a rooster around here. I ordered them in January with a ship date of May. Once May was approaching I went to the Home Depot (my second home). Zack hates going to HD with me because I apparently meander through the store with drool on my chin. He mutters something about how I awkwardly ogle the products. I explain to him and all the other haters out there that I see incredible potential in so many things. I’m a dreamer people. Anyways, I got a Rubbermaid storage bin that was clear so I could see the little ladies, and a lid to be sure they couldn’t get out and scare Becca. I cut an opening on each side of the lid and covered it with chicken wire. This way the work light I bought could shine through with the red bulb to keep the little ladies warm.

They called me on a Monday (the hatch day) to let me know they had a poor hatching of one of the breeds I ordered and would have to send me a different breed. I was bummed but they did a great job of helping me pick out another available breed based the qualities I gave them. So I put the aspen bedding down in the brooder setup the lamp and made sure the temperature was right with a little thermometer I laid in the brooder.
 
By Wednesday Becca heard the faint sound of peeping chick through the front door. She grabbed the mace and was ready for war…or she just brought the poor peeping fluff balls in and waited for me to get home and take care of the rest. Once home I opened the box and checked their backsides to be sure they were clear from any poo build up. Sometime baby chicks have poo dry on their butt causing a backup if you know what I mean. This will lead to death if poo is not removed. I checked each one before adding it to the brooder and dipping its beak in the water trough so it knew where to drink.

 
Once they were all in they hurried around and found the food, then the heat lamp. I’m telling you guys its super easy to raise these little ladies. You check on them every couple hours the first few days to make sure the temperature is good. Fill up the feed and water troughs and hold them at least once a day and they will love you forever. I think they stayed in the brooder for about 8 weeks then we put them in the coop once it warmed up outside. We used organic starter feed till they were about 14 weeks and once the 50# bag was done we switched them to a developer feed. Then finally an organic layer feed at about 20 weeks. They started laying about 6 months after they arrived, and have provided us with 4-5 eggs daily since.
 
The ladies get to roam about the yard 3-4 times a week. Usually ill let them out around noon and close the run door after they roost for the night. This way they have the opportunity to lay in the morning and fill up on clover and grubs in the afternoon. They are great in the compost bins, constantly scratching and turning the compost while adding nitrogen here and there. I let them take over our raised beds for a couple weeks in September to fertilize and turn the soil. I then planted carrots, beets, kale, romaine and butter crunch lettuce, spinach, arugula, and broccoli. I haven’t had to fertilize once.
Well, that about all the boring info I have on chickens, probably too much. Some great books are if you are serious about raising chickens are City Chicks by Patricia L. Foreman and Chicken Gardens by Jessi Bloom. Also www.backyardchickens.com has a wealth of information and coop designs.

3 comments:

  1. My Daddy had chickens when we were growing up. Brown egg layers only! I would totally love to have some now but I think our association would not love it so much. Darn it.

    Great post from the coolest manly man I know!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love it !! I would like to have 4-5 chickens myself. It would be fun. Maybe we can grow into it as a family.

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  3. Your great grandma Fern would be so proud of you! You are clearly from good Ohio farm stock ;)

    ReplyDelete

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