Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mystery Chick

There is one little red chick in the collection... no idea what she is, but they sent a free exotic with the collection...exciting:)

My chicks are here:)!!

I can't think of anything as cute (except my own babies that is) than a box full of peeping chicks. I have 21 chicks on my dinning room table right now. Yes, sadly 21. We lost 4 and there are 2 that I can't allow myself to hold out high hopes for. I've been dipping their beaks about half hour into the Quick Start that I got with them. I did see one eat a bite of food, but Little Gray won't even swallow the water. I'm doing my best. The last time I got a chick shipment we had a few that didn't look well and we were sure we would lose them. It all worked and we have never lost a chicken up to this point. I'm wondering if it is just that I ordered early and the trip was too much for them or if the hatchery wasn't as good as last time. I have my fingers crossed.

I'll move them to a bigger brooder next week. I like to have them up here so I can watch them constantly. My girls are just loving them. Luna wants to hold one all the time and gets upset when I tell her that they have to sleep. She'll have so much fun with them when they are running around. I have to make the tractor big enough so the girls can be in with them. Fun times ahead:)

Monday, February 21, 2011

One more day till the chicks are here!

I'm excited and my normal nervous about my chicks getting here in the morning. It's so much colder this time around. I got my last order in May 2 years ago. It was warmer and I only kept half of them. I'm planning on keeping all 25 this time. Well, we'll see how my coop designs go actually. My plan was 16'x4' to match the one I all ready have. That's good for about 15 with the nice run attached to it. I do let them hang out in the yard with me while I'm out there, but after the past fall and the coyote attacks I doubt they will free range as much as my other girls were used to. They haven't been happy about not getting out, but I think they still have memory of the attacks. Jumpers has been more affectionate since I saved her.

Ok, I'm ready. I hope I'm ready. I've never lost a chick and I don't plan to. I ordered the special Quick Start Gel stuff this time and I'll trust they will all be happy. OK, I'm ready!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Here come the Chicks!

In one week we'll have 25 baby brown egg laying chicks! Yea!!!! I just couldn't make a decision this year so I went with the assortment from McMurry. I was just going to get maybe 5 from Tractor Supply this year, but, well, I just couldn't help myself. I have to build a new coop for any chicks that I get anyway, so I might as well build big. I figure that with more chickens huddled together over the winter I could keep them outside in the coop instead of bringing them into the garage. I do love being able to go down there, but I'm so not looking forward to the clean up. I don't want my husband to even go down there right now.

One more week....I'll get my brooder together today. I use the big storage tubs for the first week, but I'll have a big box for them after that. The first few weeks from 90 degrees to 70 and they don't need the lamp any more is the hardest. I've never lost a chicken though, so luck is with me. My last batch was from Stromberg though, and my Dad recommended them. I've heard good things about McMurry on the boards and I got the extra gel stuff for when they arrive. I'm a bit nervous . Last year I only kept 12 after the first day. I'll need a whole lot more room this year. Fun! My kids can't wait.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The most exciting time of year!

It's here! That time of year where you have nothing but endless possibilities is finally here. It makes the remaining cold and snowy days tolerable. I'm writing out my plans for my gardens and rewriting them. I have spread sheets made up on Excel, books all over the place, my notebooks ready to totally organize me this year, and my box of seeds. I'm set to go.
The last frost date up here is between May 10-20th. I'm always hopeful though and want to have my seedlings as big as I can have them to get a jump on our short growing season.  I have meant to get my indoor lettuce crop going all winter but something always came up. 4 kids do tend to keep you busy:) I'm starting my broccoli seeds and hope to really have more broccoli than we know what to do with. It's my hope to need to buy a small chest freezer this year.
My main focus early in the season is getting my berry plants in the ground for future years. I've never thought about future years before, so it's kind of hard for me to imagine being in the same house. I'm really not happy up here, but my kids are. I may have to bite the bullet on this one at least long enough for my oldest son to finish high school. So, that means I'm getting my Kiwi trees and planting my blueberry bushes and Blackberry's. The county sells berry bushes by 25 - 100 for an unbelievable price for conservation. We have a side yard that seems so wasteful to mow. The amount of fuel wasted on lawn mowing in this country is sick. We do have an electric mower, but it won't work for the side yard. It was great for my smaller yard in NC, but we have a few acres up  here and the best way to deal with it is to plant it. My strawberry box is doing well and this year will be great. Organic berry's for my kids without paying the crazy price. I want berry's everywhere.
Next on my list is building a secondary coop and run for my new batch of chicks. I don't think my husband believes me, but I'm hunting for a donkey now. I saw on TV that you can get a donkey to chase off bear from your yard. Well, if a donkey will protect you from bear, I'm sure it will protect my chickens from coyote. Perfect solution! Surprising I didn't think of this sooner:) My husband will come around. He knew what he was getting into when he married me. A man doesn't marry a crazy women with two kids without being ready for some excitement in his life.
Happy Spring Planning!!!!