2.23.2009

Pet Projects, Part 1

two of a kind

A few of you might have guessed the pet project I alluded to in my last post. Yep, chicks. Eight of them. We've been talking about raising chickens for a few years now, but kept putting it off because we didn't have a coop. Our local feed store received their first batch of chicks last week, and George promised that if I got the chicks he would finally build the coop.

Unfortunately all the Ameraucana chicks were sold out by the time we got there, and while I wanted to wait until more came in, the kids were not about to leave the feed store without chicks. So I caved and we came home with 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Delawares, 2 Wyandottes and 2 Rhode Island Reds.

then there were seven

In a sad turn of events, one of the Rhode Island Reds failed to thrive. Avery and I did what we could for her, but she didn't make it.

laid to rest

Aidan was absolutely crushed, and in between sobs insisted we return to the feed store to get a new one, "so then it will be like it never happened." How could I refuse? We needed some more pine bedding anyways. Boy can chicks poop.

brooding

Well all the chicks except for the new Rhode Island Red we brought home. I'll spare you the messy details, but let's just say she had some plumbing issues. Fortunately I had been doing research about baby chicks and knew what to do. I never would have guessed that on a Saturday night I would be sitting on the garage floor with a chick in one hand, a warm, wet washcloth in the other hand, and George by my side armed with a toothpick. But our procedure worked and now we fancy ourselves lifesavers.

So there it is - the first of our adventures in chicken rearing. We've got a few weeks to build a coop, and a few more months before we start collecting eggs; which is a very good thing because the price of our locally laid eggs just doubled. You might think we have our hands full with this pet project, but being the crazy people we are we've taken on a few more. Stay tuned for "Pet Projects, Part 2".

39 comments:

  1. good for you! that's so exciting! Someday I'm going to have chickens, too.

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  2. Congrats, Molly! The chickens at our local barn are Rhode Island Reds and they are so beautiful, and the eggs are amazing. Keep us posted on how they are doing!

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  3. The technical term is "pasted vent". ;-)

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  4. meant to add, now just watch out for spraddle-leg. :-P

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  5. hooray for the life saving! you'll be so happy you did this when those eggs start coming!

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  6. Congrats! This is so exciting:) I wish we could raise chickens. . .maybe one day when we move out of downtown!

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  7. Yay! I had to do that to one of my ameraucanas and it was a little gross. She's been all good ever since though! We also have 2 buff orpingtons (set #2 after the Great Chicken Fiasco). I'm calling around to find Rhode Island Reds or something else fun to round out our little flock to 6.

    I'm so glad we get to go on this adventure at the same time. Expect lots of email from me. :)

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  8. oh yay!!!! i'm having flashbacks. you're going to have so much fun!

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  9. I'm looking forward to hearing more :) I've been thinking about getting a flock, but we have a rather brazen family of raccoons in the neighborhood. They attacked a dog recently!

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  10. Yay for you! i've been working on convincing the man of the house that we need chickens for over a year now. i'm slowly wearing him down. buying eggs from a lady in my knitting group has helped tremendously (they are so good).
    can't wait to read more about you chicken adventures.

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  11. How exciting! I'd love to get some chickens, but that would require a move (unless we keep them in the basement). I look forward to reading the further adventures in chicken mama-hood.

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  12. hey you-
    buffs and wyandottes are on my list as THE BEST EVER.what lucky people you are - and good job on the minor surgery.

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  13. When we buy new chicks we usually buy 2 or 3 more than we want to raise. It seems like that many don't make it for one reason or another (sickness, dogs, racoons). Good luck! My Orpington is now 4 years old and still laying! Have fun and be patient for the eggs to come.

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  14. Oooh so exciting new chicks! and the freshest eggs ever. I will be watching closely I've been toying with raising chickens. I don't think it will happen because my husband is unconvinced, but the more I know the better armed I am for the argument. Sorry, about the first RI red. I guess that is nature.

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  15. oh, my skin has suddenly turned green with jealousy. How did you convince your husband? I'm not there yet with mine. We can only have 3 chickens where I live, are there regulations in your area?

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  16. oh you will love raising chickens, it is really fun. Ours are so great. My husband has done an awesome job at making them human friendly. We bought them as chicks as well, and now they will sit on your lap and let you pet them, he even holds them to massage the food in the crop, which he insists is "very important" My husband wasn't interested in them at all when I first mentioned and told him I wanted them. The only reason I was able to convince him was that he could build something (a coop) and now he is a chicken expert, when we go to the feed store we get comments like "wow you really know a lot about chickens!" they are so fun, and the eggs are yummy!!!!
    P.S. we should meet up sometime soon if you want....I think I am heading up to the nursery on Saturday or Sunday.

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  17. If you need help check out Jackie Clay's blog at Backwoods Home Magazine. She's a terrific lady! Keep us posted.

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  18. We are trying to get set up to do the same...I am coveting your fluffy little chicks...ain't they so cute :o)

    ~simply~

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  19. Your chicks are SO cute -- and welcome to the world of backyard chicken farming! Looks like you've already gotten one drama under your belt. (Hint: Unless you want to pay about $200 and receive a sympathy card in the mail, do not take your sick hen to the animal ER!:-))

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  20. Congrats!!
    We can't wait until we can have some chickens of our own. Hopefully soon!

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  21. Aaack! I love this. We are getting chickens too. I finally convinced the husband it was a good idea. But ... he says we have build a coop before we bring babies home. Grrr. Anyway I bought coop plans and am fully intending to start building this weekend!

    Love your babies!

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  22. wow! sounds like you are going to have an exciting spring and summer. Have fun with those chicks!

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  23. What a great project! Eggs and photo ops galore. They are just darling. Enjoy them . . . they grow up so fast :)

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  24. This is just torture! I've been trying to convince Jeremy for YEARS that we need chickens, to a resounding NO.

    But THIS year, he has weakened, and conceded that NEXT spring I can have chickens. WOO HOO!!!

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  25. These are my new little babies!

    Love these little layers! We have two broilers and two Rhode Island Reds. This is our third round of Chickens.

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  26. How fun! I'm cracking up though. You don't have to massage their crop unless they do mostly free ranging to help grind up grains and vegetation. If you are balancing their laying crumble with their free ranging you shouldn't have to massage their crops. Or you can just buy some grit to act as their "teeth." Correct free-ranging and rotation takes a lot of acreage to do it properly so most of the time grit isn't necessary since we supplement with laying crumble. They need the calcium for good egg laying. Chickens are pretty self sufficient. The purchased food breaks down without "massaging". They are just chickens after all...unless you decide to take them to the vet...still cracking up...

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  27. How adorable and sweet they are. We love eggs! I think I'd like to raise chickens but where we are doesn't 'allow' it if you know what I mean. Hmmph.

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  28. AWWWW I have always wanted to have chickens! They are so cute when they are little. But they soon will be big and stinky! :)

    It will be nice to have your own egges!

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  29. oh, how exciting!! we've gotta come see! a little sticky poop butt, hmm? i really want chicks, but maybe when my own kids are out of diapers.

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  30. I'm so head over heels excited for you!! You are about to have the most memorable spring ever! It's amazing how important a toothpick can be! been there, with chick cradled in hand.Pasted vent. They get quite tough as they get older. I miss ours: Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks. Please keep posting pictures for us all to enjoy!

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  31. We love our hens, have been chicken farmers for many years. Plan to get more chicks this spring.

    Have fun!

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  32. i'm a smidge jealous, molly. we have talked about it, too. i am just afraid that we travel too much.

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  33. oh my, i think you've frightened me off the notion of raising chicks. Can't get that toothpick image out of my head now.

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  34. All these bloggers raising chickens has me jonesing to raise some too. Hubby's not convinced. Luckily the issue is currently moot, because I don't think raising them on our fire escape is really an option. Good luck with yours!

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  35. Definitely watching your journey with interest, as I've almost convinced husband we CAN do this. This year, however, is dedicated to a big garden...then I'll fight for chickens!

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