I came across a Facebook memory from about six years ago where we were at a local feed store and they had tons of cute little chicks. My post said that we’d be getting them in about a year….feel free to laugh WITH me. Because my not yet 40 self was delusional. Here we are…in 2023, and we’re FINALLY ready (but are we REALLY?) to get chicks. Originally I wanted to get already egg-laying hens but apparently everyone else wants those too. And it’s chick season right now so why not? My excuse is that they can grow up learning about the dogs and the dogs can equally get used to the chicks. That’s the plan anyways. Currently. We’ll see how that changes once I’m done with this post.
But first, let’s get ready
Back when we started on the green house re-do, we agreed that chickens behind the structure was the best idea. We attempted to hire someone to build a coop for us but she ended up going back to a full time job instead of building coops with overpriced wood. I really don’t blame her. So instead, I found a group of college kids not too far that were starting up a business building and selling really cute coops. Because the cuteness factor totally matters. And we wouldn’t have to build it ourselves. And they’d deliver. SOLD! So we put down a deposit and continued working on the green house. Eventually it got delivered! And then it sat. Waiting to be paid attention to.
Thankfully when it sat through the winter snow and rain, we realized that the location of the coop probably wasn’t the best and didn’t really get enough sun. So we tweaked the plans and moved things around. The new location wasn’t ideal with the fencing but we figured it out. Then we had to sink the first post for the gate. One hole resulted in 324329723021093210 rocks. And like 4 bags of cement. Ugh.
But once the post was set, the fencing went up pretty easily. We just used 2 x 2 treated cedar and pinched the chicken wire in between. It took lots of bickering and convincing of the Jim to do it this way. He still won’t admit it turned out great. But whatevs.
Notice all that rock there now? Yeah, there’s another paver pathway coming atcha. But I did it all by myself! Minus the cuts. I shouldn’t be trusted with a grinder.
Ta da! And I think we had like 4 pavers left from my such a good deal paver buy.
And the fencing continued under and around the coop. Navigating the retaining wall was a bit of a pain. And it took yet some more bickering to decide where to put the back fence but we ended up butting it right up to the wall. This will keep the puppies and any critters out of the coop area along with the chickens inside.
Once we had the fencing done, we needed to turn our attention to the coop itself. Upon further inspection, it probably wasn’t the best idea to buy a coop from a bunch of college kids just starting up a business. So we had to fix the roof, redo the nesting box opening, and paint the trim because it wasn’t holding up very well to the weather. We also had to add roosting bars, nesting boxes and a ramp.
So far our improvements have held up over the rainy and snowy winter! So that means….
It’s chicken time!
In my little bit of chicken research I discovered I like chicken mutts. Mostly because they lay pretty colored eggs. So we went back to our original feed store (from 6 years ago?) and found out when they were getting Easter Egger chicks. We only had to wait a couple of weeks! Then 4 little teenie tiny chicks came home with us.
I’m not gonna lie…I was a bit worried we’d kill them overnight. But we set up the box and heat lamp and checked on them more often than we probably needed to. So by day 5 we were totally experts and needed to get more!
Enter the silkies!
Now these two were TINY compared to the easter eggers now. And we were worried that they were going to get a little bullied with 4 on 2. So we kept them in the original bin and put together a big one for the bigger ones. The one thing that I didn’t plan on having to do with chicks was worry about their poop. The silkies have pretty hairlike feathers and when they poop, they tend to get hangers. So the first weekend, I got super close and personal with them cleaning their butts. Thankfully this issue seems to have resolved after their first week. I don’t think I could keep that up.
And now that we are experts in sikies, a trip to the feed store for more shavings leads to….you betcha…more chicks! Because I really think the silkies needed buddies. It’s only fair to even them out with the easter eggers. 8 is a great number anyways.
So two more Ancona fuzzy butts made it home today:
So in under two weeks, we’ve grown by eight chicks! More to come as their personalities and names (and genders) are revealed….