Our First Day

chicken buttI have no prior experience to raising chickens. So what do I do? Jump right in with very little research done ahead of time. This seems to be the way I learn best. SO – I will journal my experiences so you can learn from my trial and error mistakes. Don’t get me wrong – I have done lots of research and youTubing along the way.

brooderIt is January. I understand that chickens aren’t being hatched until February 5 in the nearby hatcheries. So fine – I need to get what is called a “brooder” to put the little chicks in when I bring them home. SO I went on craigslist (as every good bargain shopper does) and found a nearby farmer who was selling a chicken brooder. I couldn’t wait. It was $45. Seemed like a good price to me. I have since discovered many cheaper alternatives to making a homemade brooder – BUT – always a bright lining in every experience – this same farmer had some chicks to sell that he had already hatched from his own chickens and an incubator. In my spontaneous manner – I bought the brooder ($45) and 11 chicks ($1 each). They were $2.50 at the nearby hatcheries. Now I didn’t have to wait!

huddleI now understand that the hatcheries can somehow magically predetermine the sex before the eggs hatch – so if I had gone that route, I could have been sure all my chicks were hens. Not entirely sure I am wanting roosters – but now I will have to wait to get to that road when I get to that road!

My chicks are already 3 weeks old. I have 11. There are 2 silkies, 3 rhode island red, and 6 plymouth barred rocks. Again, I didn’t choose, I just spontaneously bought all the farmer had in his brooder that night. Furthermore, some of my chicks are what are called “Frizzles”. This is when the feathers ¬†curl outwards, rather than lying flat. This is not a separate breed, but a variation within breeds. Google research showed me that people try to specially breed their birds for this. Mine just came that way. Just a cosmetic thing.

So now I have 11 chickies in their brooder. They have two light bulbs to keep them warm. I am told to keep them at 90°. The lights are on one end of the brooder so if it gets too hot, they can move to the other end. If they are too cold, they will huddle under the light. I have put down newspaper for their lining. I wasn’t prepared so for the moment, they have a small bowl for water and the top of an egg carton for their food. I read that the bowl can be dangerous because they could drown, but mine aren’t tiny and I will get something better asap.

I put the brooder in a spare bedroom. It is very cold outside. The house is filled with the sweetest little “peep peep peep” sounds. And so begins our chicken adventure!

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