Who are we? What do we do around here? We are just a bunch of animal loving country folk. We have chickens, goats, ducks, dogs, cats, and lots of squirrels and rabbits running around. We plan to expand and add bees and dairy goats. Running a family farm is a lot of work but so rewarding. We just thought we’d share a little of us with you! We hope you enjoy this little clip. If you want to come see us send us a message. 😊
It’s that time of year again. The kids are studying life cycles and we are hatching eggs in the classroom. We set 18 eggs in a teacher friends classroom and also set 22 at home. Such an exciting time for us all. The kids love watching the chicks develop and hatch and we love watching the enjoyment it gives them. They get so excited to learn about the growth and development of the chicks. We will keep some of the chicks at school for a few weeks so the kids can watch them grow. Last years hatch at school was not very good so we bought a new incubator, a Farm Innovators Pro Series circulated air that that keeps track of temperature and humidity with a built in thermometer/ hygrometer . We used it twice last year and had good hatches. We are using the older one (a little giant still air professional) at home and it’s harder to keep the temperature regulated. The one with the built in control is much easier. Once we got the temperature set we haven’t had a bit of problem. It has maintained a perfect 100 degrees and around 60-65% humidity. We are trying to keep the humidity about 60% until the eggs come off the turner. Fingers crossed for a good hatch this year and a room full of happy kids!
We all know that people say eggs fresh from the farm looks better and taste better. And it is so true. I can tell the difference in scrambled eggs from the store and farm eggs just by looking at them. The yolk is so much more vibrant in color. And the taste is not comparable. I have not eaten store eggs in a while. Did you know that farm fresh eggs are actually healthier too? Studies show that eggs from pastured or true free ranging hens were found to have:
1/3 less cholesterol
1/4 less saturated fat
2/3 more vitamin A
2 times more Omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene
Fresh eggs make your cakes bake better and your breakfast taste yummier!
Support your local farmers, buy fresh!
Now that the hoop house is finished, it is time to introduce the little and middles to their new home! They have been in a temporary little dog house converted into a coop. This makes a great first outside coop. Both coops are enclosed in fence to keep them safe.
We had hoped to have their bigger home ready before now, but things usually take longer than we think for one reason or another!
Night one: It is nearing dark so we begin taking the girls one by one into the new coop. We sit them on the perches, talk sweetly and try to get them to stay. Some do, some try to leave immediately. One acts like she is trying to break out of jail! We continue taking them one at a time in and they keep running out, lol! We decide one of us should stay in there with them and one get the others so we can keep the running out to a minimum. We get about half of them in. The other half have cooped up in the old coop and are not happy when I move them so we call it a night.
Night two: Earlier I closed the fence door to the old coop so they can’t head into it. At dusk an entire flock of chickens is poking their heads through the fence and whining. We take a few of them in one at a time and sit them on the new perches. They are not real happy to begin with. We continue this process until at they are all are in the new coop. Three or four are still fussing and act like they aren’t sure about this place. Jailbird is still trying to break free. But they settle down finally and all is well.
Night three: Fence is closed to old coop again so as dusk approaches over half head to the new coop by themselves and jump up on the perches. We stand quietly in the background and watch. Slowly more and more head in and out, in and out until all are in except two! Make that one. Only one is left, all alone perching outside the old fence. So sad. I scoop her up and hold her. I think this is Jailbird. She is beginning to panic a little. Finally I take her in the coop, kneel down with her on my shoulder and she steps off onto the roost. Success! At last. All are in and settled for the night. Maybe she will go by herself tomorrow.
Night 4: It is just barely dark. All the girls are in the coop quiet as can be. Everyone is perched. We have passed this course of coop training. All is well in our chicken world.
Our flock has grown this spring so we are adding a simple PVC hoop house so the Littles and Middles have some more shade. We are also working on larger hoop house made with cattle panels that may serve as a home for some of the Roos. Here are some pics of our progress and a link to where our plan ideas came from. Of course we usually make slight modifications along the way.
Now that we are on a roll with the hoop houses we should have shelter and protection for everyone. We will let you know how we and they like them!
Links to the plans we used are:
I thought that title would grab your attention, but since this is a farm blog primarily, hopefully you knew what I meant. 😉
We have a new problem with little ones this spring. This has never happened before. They are pecking each other’s tail feathers. One was pecked so badly her whole little fluffy butt was red, bloody and featherless! All that damage happened in one day. It seemed to start suddenly and we couldn’t determine who was doing it. It seemed like everyone was pecking everyone. Why? We had no clue. So the research began. I started with Lisa at http://www.fresheggsdaily.com and asked her opinion. Boredom or protein deficiency was a possible answer. I also began a thorough internet research and found out that those very two reasons are mentioned many times. Maybe we are onto something. I added in some black oil sunflower seeds. They had a few small sticks for perching. Farmer Cheese got on the ball building bigger perches.
I also gave them a turnip root to peck on. This seemed to be helping, but we had also separated the 4 who were injured. Overcrowding was also mentioned several times as a reason for tail pecking. Overcrowding? But our brooder says it will hold 24 chicks up until 4 weeks. After that we separate into 2 grow off pens. Well, these little rascals are growing so fast I really believe that was the problem. After a week when their tail feathers were looking better we added a few more in with them. We now have 9 in one and 10 in the other grow out pen and no little peckers! Our smallest chicks that are almost 3 weeks old had only 10 in the brooder to begin with. No signs of any pecking in there.
I do believe you should take the maximum amount of chicks your brooder will hold with a grain of salt. Each set of chicks will be a little different. If they start pecking each other, they are clearly telling you something. I’d take a serious look at space and go from there. Here’s to raising happy little non-peckers. 🙂
It has been said that every other generation will raise chickens. Our parents did not, but our grandparents did. Our children express no interest in raising chickens. Why should they? According to them,they have our eggs so they don’t need chickens. Our grandson however, is our hope for the future. He is our chicken farmer in training. We think he has a great start!