We picked up our day-old chicks six days ago…that makes them almost a week old now….so very cute. So far so good, we set them up in one of the dog kennels with a heat lamp, non-medicated starter crumble and vitamin-enriched water. We’ll be using wood shavings that we get for free at a small local mill as well as raked up leaves for their bedding…so that is what they are on now. I’ve been laying a dug-up dandelion in there as well as fresh worms from my flowerbed weedings daily to give them some “natural” food too. It is so funny to watch them scramble after those worms…such a rich delicacy to a chicken!!
The chicken coop is coming along nicely. We have a couple of more weeks to keep the chicks in the small kennel enclosure…cozy and warm…they need to feather out first to be ready to go into their coop. By that time the coop will be all ready for them too. We researched on how to keep the chickens healthy using natural free range type means…our book of choice is “The Small-Scale Poultry Flock” by Harvey Ussery…the author has shared all of the mistakes he made before and the good solutions he has discovered so we don’t have to make those all too common errors. The floor of the coop is natural earth, protected from predators with a layer of 1/2 inch hardware cloth, covered with gravel. The bedding will be a layer of raked up leaves, covered with 14 inches of wood shavings and topped with more raked up leaves. We’ll protect them from the dogs and predators in the yard using an electronet fencing system which we can move to different areas as the grass gets worn down. I am so excited about this project and looking forward to fresh eggs in a few months too.