Monday, June 13, 2011

Our New Peeps: Green Acres Weekend Update

Sometimes we procrastinate because we want to.  At other times, because we have to.  We knew our new peeps (chicks) would be arriving this week, but amidst other projects we kept pushing the brooder/hen house aside.  So when we got an e-mail from the hatchery on Sunday, we dropped all other projects to prepare for our new arrivals.  Here's the play-by-play:

Sunday, June 12, 5:05 a.m.: E-mail sent from the hatchery to Byron, announcing that 73 chicks are coming SOON (like, tomorrow) to a post office near us.

Sunday, June 12, 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.: The nose-blowing and drilling commence.  Amidst a bad cold, Byron starts building a hen house/brooder for the chicks.  He gets the framing done and maybe one panel of the roof (thanks to our friend, Don, for the metal roofing)!

Sunday, June 12, 9:00 p.m.: Byron crashes and I start ripping apart cardboard to construct The Ultimate Indoor Jimmy-Rigged Brooder.  I also make sure the heat lamp works.

Monday, June 13, 6:00 a.m.: Byron's cell phone rings.  It's the post office asking us to rescue them from 73 annoying, peeping chicks.  Kidding, but not about who called.  Who knew the mailman got to work that early??

Monday, June 13, 8:35 a.m.: The kids and I pick up our new peeps.  Said peeps peck at me with their diminutive beaks from the holes in the box.  The kids can't get enough of that kind of naughtiness.

Monday, June 13, 8:45 a.m.: We get the chicks home, exile the cat from the house, and open the box.  Yup, everyone is alive.  The kids watch as I put the box of chicks under the heat lamp and take them out, one by one, to dip their beaks in water so they can get a drink.  The chicks then took it upon themselves to traipse about in the waterer and run up and down my legs.

Monday, June 13, sometime in the afternoon: Byron resumes work on the brooder/hen house. 

Monday, June 13, 6:00 p.m.: Neighbors visit the chicks.

Monday, June 13, 7:00 p.m.: Byron and Charlie go to collect river sand, which the chicks need for grit.  You can buy it at the store, but Joel Salatin says the real deal is better (and free).  And when it comes to all things chicken, he's the man.

Monday, June 13, 8:00 p.m.: I begin writing a blog post on the rain barrels.  Seriously.  It's there; I just need to add a couple more photos, spell check (because I'm a horrible speller/typist), and hit "publish." 

Monday, June 13, 11:24 p.m.: That would be now.  I decided I couldn't pass up blogging on our new arrivals.  These two-day-old chicks have mesmerized us all day with their chirping and antics, and it's been a fun experience for the kids. 

Cornish Cross...our 50 broilers.  I know, I've heard horror stories.  But we're going to try our hand at them and see how they do in a mobile coop.  Hopefully that will keep them from blimping out too much.

A Rhode Island Red sneaks into the photo.  We ordered 20 of these hens and one rooster, but they threw in an extra rooster for good measure.  Or maybe they thought we'd enjoy a good cock fight.

The little black chick with the yellow spot is Mystery Chicken.  Anyone know what kind of breed this is?  He/she/it is smaller than the others and seemed to be the runt at first.  But tonight it developed short man's (or woman's) complex and started pecking the other chicks.  If it's a boy, we're calling him Napoleon.

Chicks in the indoor brooder.  They'll be here for a couple days while Byron finishes the outdoor structure.  Here they're under the lamp, but we think they got a little too warm in the middle of the day because they were congregating near the walls.  I moved the lamp up an inch, and that seemed to help.

Am I telling this backward?  Here's the box they came in.

The Ultimate Indoor Jimmy-Rigged Brooder.  Notice the rounded corners; apparently 90 degree corners are a no-no because the chicks will swarm there and suffocate each other.  They're not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Outdoor brooder/hen house.

Hopefully these will hold lots of eggs in the years to come!

Non-operable, chicken wire transoms around the top perimeter...for our high-class birds.
I hope to share with you what we learn as we raise our first batch of chicks.  And remember to click below and visit some other blogs on Homestead Revival's Barn Hop!


  1. Wow, I'm so impressed you all ordered so many! We're wimpy and only do about 25! Can't wait to find out more about the mystery chick :-) Elvis our black polish top hat chicken was our mystery chick.

  2. You're not wimpy; we're nuts. Mystery Chick will be getting his/her own post due to some very anti-social behavior. ;)