Monday, 17 March 2014

March break and getting ready for the hens and chicks

What a wonderfully busy week last week.  It was March Break for my girls.  We had my nephews for 4 nights and a good friend and her two amazing kids overnight too.  Lots of great memories were made last week.  When my friend is over she always insists that we continue with our farm work and not save it for another day.  So on Saturday I asked them if they wanted to help clean out the chicken coop.  I am always pleasantly surprised at a child's willingness to do manual work.  I had 4 kids and my friend helping and not one complaint.  Afterwards I bought them all hot chocolate at the local coffee shop to thank them for their hard work.  It made me happy.  Oh and we did get away from the farm for a show and lunch in the big city.

I planted my sugar snap (grocery store) peas for the sugar snap pea challenge from Jenna at Cold Antler Farm (soaked and put into planting mix in the window in indirect sunlight) and I received my little Marvel Pea's from Annie's Heirloom Seeds.  Planted March 12, no sprouts yet.

And Wednesday we are picking up 10 ready to lay chickens and 5 chicks.  We are reading a lot about integrating them into our existing brood of 9 chickens.  If anyone reading this blog has any advice, I'd be happy to hear it.  We are getting the new 10 from the same breeder and we've talked about quarantining them but have decided against it.

What we've decided to do is:
1.  Create a space in the coop where the new chickens can hang out and our current chickens can see and smell them on the day they arrive but they are separated.
2.  Hang a cabbage from the ceiling of the coop to distract the hens.
3.  Create hiding spaces for the new chickens so they can get away from any excessive bullying.
4.  Let the new chickens into the full coop at night.

Our chicken coop is not an outdoor space, it's indoors right now with a run to the outside of the barn.  The run outside needs to be secured and have some work done to it so coyote's can't get near the chickens since we have a lot in our area.  We figure our current coop can hold 30 chickens so the 24 we will have after the chicks have grown and we fix the outdoor space should be more than enough room for all of them.  The chicks I'm not so worried about.  Keep them dry / warm / fed / clean and with lots of fresh water and we should be fine.  We don't have a brooder for them and instead are going to keep them in the downstairs bathroom until they mature and then integrate them as well.  I just hope our home raised chickens don't get hurt or upset the pecking order too much.  Wish us luck!

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