Chickens

The Chicks are Coming!

You may have heard (or felt) that spring is just around the corner (thank goodness). That means chick season! We were fortunate to receive an incubator and brooder from our friend at Anthracite Pavement Markings. A pre-made brooder just perfect for newly hatched chicks! Did I mention Tyler gave us a couple waterers and a feeder? #blessed. Our dream of Owlcatraz Farm is made possible by our truly amazing family and friends.

Back to chick fever.

We’ve spent the past couple of weeks gathering our supplies that include, but not limited to:
– Thermometer for measuring heat in brooder
– Starter chick feed (20% protein)
– Appropriate heat source (we are starting with a lamp)
– Pine shavings

Then you’ll want to spend hours reviewing chicken breeds online and in your chicken catalogs until settling on the perfect mix. Next, wait impatiently for several weeks until they arrive.

In the midst of waiting several weeks for your chicks to arrive, don’t go to Tractor Supply. For once there, you will get pulled into “Chick Days” and end up leaving with six bantam chicks.

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Chickens

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Our first real chicken “emergency” occurred on Friday evening after the kids and I returned home. The hen count resulted in a missing hen and after a few minutes of searching, Dirtbike (yes, she’s a she) was found sitting on the ground in a darkened corner of the coop. I picked her up and could immediately feel an (unnatural) large lump near her vent. I brought her inside and was (horrified) to find a bloodied, red and excrement covered lump under her tail feathers. I started a warm bath and began washing away the excrement in the hopes of uncovering the source of Dirtbike’s pain.

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The family gathered to help Dirtbike relax.

 

*Use Caution – following graphics are not for the weak of heart.*

She was obviously uncomfortable and had probably spent the better part of the day in pain. A tell tale egg was found on the floor of the coop (with some blood on it) and was probably Dirtbike’s final legacy left to the family.

In the midst of attempting to clean Dirtbike I contacted my chicken mentor, BigFootFarmer, who reiterated my suspicions that this occurred before or during her egg laying and there might be a need to ease Dirtbike from her misery. Next I checked out the Chicken Chick’s site (she’s basically an encyclopedia of all things chicken).

*Note, it is so important to have a “farm” first aid kit stocked and ready to go. If you don’t have one, get one. You’re going to need it someday.

I continued to clean the area while DirtbikeĀ remained rather sedate during all of the attention. However she continued to lose blood and was unable to stand on her own after a big. The decision was made to say goodbye to one of our founding hens and help her cross the rainbow bridge to that great big chicken coop in the sky.

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Photo was taken post bath, outside. Dirtbike had crossed the chicken rainbow bridge.
Chickens, Farm Life

Finishing Touches

The prized coop of Owlcatraz is still having some finishing touches put onto it. (Have I ever mentioned how handy my husband is?) There has been quite the adventure in ordering shingles (because they had to match the type on our house…which will inevitably have to match the type on the barn). Word to the wise, if you’re specialty ordering shingles, don’t be in a rush.

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I don’t think the hens could really give two shits feathers about the shingles, but they at least pretend to be interested.