Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Big Move Outside

Chicken tractor

The guys had to get outside. The garage was starting to smell pretty ripe. I would do a few things different about the brooder--make sure the waterer does not leak and use shavings instead of hay. The hay got so matted and refused to dry out. My auto waterer had a small drip that turned into a problem the last week and a half they were in the garage, so we all just roughed it out. I built the tractor from roof tubes were given to me by a local fruit stand owner. Half of it is covered with a tarp and the other half with 1 inch wire. I put a 2 by 8 skirt around it, but forgot to fix the tubes to it, which means I can't move it yet. A great twitter contact, @RFamilyFarm encouraged me to put some draft protection in the tractor, so I used a scrap piece of tin to "fence" off some of the covered section. Check out his site:

They have been outside for almost a week and are doing well. They are eating twice as much and drinking like crazy. I had a heat lamp on during the first two nights-- we were having freezing weather. I suspect the lamp was more for me than the birds. I was so worried I would find them all in little ice cubes:)
They have way more personality than I was expecting. One bird likes to come up to me and look. I have no idea what he is looking for, but I'd like to think it he is trying to buy some time.
I recently reserved the scalder and plucker for May 21st and I am looking forward to seeing the process come full circle. I like chickens and so far I would do this again.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Garage Chickens Video Tour

Here is a quick tour of the garage chickens. They are 16 days old and I am going to move them outside soon.


The heat lamp was just find. We have only lost 3 birds. One died at day 5 and two others at day 10. I think the three died from trying to sleep near the feeder--they were a bit smaller. So that leaves us with 23. They have been going through about 10 gallons of water a week and about four red cup fulls of food a day. I had to expand the brooder to make room for the guys. I took one side off of the box and added another one.

Chicks at Day 4 and my auto waterier:

Expanded Brooder: