April 15, 2015

Chicken Coop Addition

And a very classy addition at that!

Because of the coop's (temporary) proximity to the two busy roads at the end of our driveway and the fact that I spend the vast majority of daylight hours away from the house during the week (leaving for work at 7am, returning between 5:30 and 6pm), I've decided that until it moves to a more permanent location in the back, I'd put up an outdoor enclosure.

It's nasty, but it'll work!
Quick and dirty, my dad helped me screw a few pallets together to give the birds some room to go out and stretch their wings, find some dirt and munch on some of the new grass popping up.

This coming weekend I hope to build a tractor to help the chicks transition to outside life (I can't believe how much they've grown in just a few days!!), and hopefully clear some trees in the back so the coop can be moved there and the ladies can enjoy foraging in the bush!

I also built a roost for the ladies, but after forgetting about a 2" ledge around the inside of the coop, the top rung of the roost is too close to the wall. I have proof that one of the girls did jump up there but it does need to come out a couple inches before they're truly happy on it!

One chicken using the top, one using the bottom and a couple more checking out the production!
In other news, I may be acquiring a rooster this weekend!

Though the chickens have settled considerably in the couple days they've been here, I know they'll feel much better when there's a man looking over them. With any luck, Tracey will be bringing a gentleman home for them on the weekend... Then we'll really be chicken farming!

April 12, 2015

The gang's all here!

Well, it's finally happened! I'm a chicken farmer! 

Buckled up and ready for the road!
Thursday after work the Chicken Mahal was brought home the neighbour's farm where it was built and they boyfriend and I had a celebratory campfire with Claude and Tracey, and we watched the northern lights.

The next day mum and I made the long trek from Vermilion Bay to Thunder Bay to bring home six Brown Isa chickens, ready to lay, and all the essentials for keeping them fed, watered and happy. 

We left early enough (it's a four hour drive!) to hit my favourite sushi restaurant (don't judge, I love me some raw fish on rice) with my sister and her man. After we did a little "city shopping" (I got a little album to try and keep track of my farm animals! I can't wait to see how this develops over the years!), left my sister and her man at their apartment and headed out of the city to the feed store!

I had in the back of my CR-V, a German Shepherd sized dog crate and an oil box with a heating pad and some old towels. My mum had suggested that I leave the oil box at home since with the large crate in the back, space was at a premium, but I declined, claiming that if one of the chickens didn't take to the long trip, I'd need to give it chicken first aid. Well, that was my story anyway!

When at the feed store I paid for my six ladies, a bag of layer mash, a bag of oyster shell, some electrolyte, a quart sized chick water font (for the hens for the drive home, I told my mum), a heat lamp (for the next couple of cold nights for the chickens in the coop I told my mum) and when my mum was busy finding some de-wormer for the horses.... a bag of chick starter.

We drove down the road to the next driveway and a man wrangled some chickens from their shipping crate to our dog crate and we were on our way with six incredibly quiet birds in the back!

Mum had been saying that if there were any "extra" chickens or chicks that she'd be interested in picking some up, since my coop is more than large enough for the birds I was bringing home, but the way that feed store operates, only what was purchased was ordered... no spares.

We headed out along the bypass on our way to the main highway home when I saw a little side road I'd been keeping my eyes out for on the way into town... and turned down it. Mum had no clue where we were going, "It's a secret", I told her... time for an adventure!

I've been looking at property values for while, so maybe she thought I was looking to see what sort of properties were available in that area. I had mentioned I'd seen some ads for small livestock for sale, maybe she thought we were going to look at a goat! (but there was NO room to bring one home!). I've been keeping my eyes open for a good horse for the boyfriend, maybe we were going to look at one?

"It's a secret, mum!"

Five minutes down a pitted, muddy, bumpy road, we pulled up to a nice house with a couple small out buildings. We were showed into a small room at the ground level and there under the warm red lamp were 17 four day old Ameraucanas!

So many different colours!
Mum had said she wanted some "different" birds, how much more different do you want than green / blue egg layers?!

I picked my 6 favourites and after setting up the "chicken ambulance" (as mum thought it was going to be)aka chick brooder, we finally headed home with 12 chickens!!

My room, being the warmest in the house, has become the nursery and that first night was rough, as stated in my last post, I was exhausted. Driving 9 hours then not being able to sleep because one little guy (if it doesn't grow up to be a rooster I will be shocked!) decided to sing to me much of the night. Last night wasn't so bad though, everyone settled down pretty early and they even let me sleep in, what a nice thing to do on a Sunday!

This little bugger doesn't believe in sleeping in... you're lucky you're cute.
I have to go out and work on the coop now. I don't think the hens like my roost, and something has to be done about that. I don't know how much I like them sleeping on the floor! (even though it's raised 6 inches from the ground sleeping on the floor is not a habit I want them to get into!)