Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thug Chicks

I don't know why, but I think these chicks just look like a bad ass posse. Maybe it is just me, but I wouldn't want to mess with them. There are like 60 of them there visible in the picture. The outer portion of an internal brooder box is pictured on the left. The idea was that if there was a draft the chicks would have a secondary structure to go inside. I think it turned out to be excessive, but does allow the whole flock to have their living space sectioned. I'd put money that that alone can help with the chick stress. It'd be like if I fart in one room, the you could simply walk into say, the kitchen! to get a knife....I tend to linger.

Anyways the chicks are fine. We had a couple more than I expected die within the first week. (5 out of 208). I noticed one had curled over toes so tossed them some rabbit liver for the deficiency. Not sure if it was the Glycogen or the Riboflavin, but they spunked up. Fun watching little chicks play tug-a-war with little pieces of liver. (liver is high in Riboflavin which is a common deficiency in chicks. So beside a little patte our chickens do not get any other meat.)

I made the brooder a little too tight, so made some adjustments today to help it air out better. I am probably being too cautious with keeping them warm, and should probably open the brooder up to air a little more.

Puzzle for the week. Take 7 words that rhyme with blue, take the first two letters of each of those words, rearrange them to spell a car company. The remaining letters will spell a type of fight. Good luck.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

First Week Chicks

The summer flock came in this Thursday. I had a couple long days at work, and unfortunately had to spend into Wednesday night making sure the brooder was at temp, and with a proper cooling spectrum. It cools down to 70 a little to quickly. *What I mean is that directly under the lamps it is 100 degrees, but 1.5 feet away it is 70 degrees. So the chicks tend to spend more time than I like huddled under the lamps. They still run around a bit, and look healthy, but would have been a bit better if it was a few degrees warmer on the periphery. With that said I am not changing anything. Do not want those lamps lower. They are at 18inches off the floor- closer can be a fire hazard.

We got 208 chicks in. Had one dopey guy that passed, everyone else is looking great. 100 golden comets, and then 100 factory choice: partridge rock, white rock, rhode island red, black sexlink.

The brooder could have held another 100. I wish I had purchased another 100, but it cost $$$, and 200 is all the eggs I want to pack in the summer. The benefit of having another 100 chicks is the cost of heating the brooder is spread out over another 100 chicks. I have 700 watts going 24/7 right now. Next week one of the lamps gets moved away from the other two. You do this to acclimate the chicks to slightly cooler temps. Then the next week one of the 250 watts gets dropped to a 100 watt bulb, then the 100 watt bulb inside the center brood chamber gets dropped to 60 or 40, then take away one of the 100's, and start giving the chicks day access to an unheated extension of the brooder. Soon they'll be on pasture clucking and squawking when I take an egg!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Spring Ledge Farm has been buying eggs for their winter market on Fridays. Has been very nice of them, and enjoy seeing the eggs sell at retail for a good price. (They still cost less than cage-free eggs from H*n*fords down the street, and on top of that they are two or three days old at the most).

Been playing with horsey. Not last week though. This Monday.

Working on house today.

200 chicks coming in next week.

No garden this year. Wilmot Farmers Market will have chicken, milk, eggs.

Lydia freshenned. Giving 5 gallons of milk a day. One hell of a cow.

Got to remember to order bees.
Happy hens. There is supposed to be a compost pile underneath them. I add 50-100 lbs a day of vegetable scraps, and then hens run out and scratch it apart looking for whatever they want to eat. So the leftover rinds, etc. decay rather quickly because they are turned over.. In the winter they do not decay quickly because it never heats up, but the hens are happy. They get to run around outside, and scratch and peck like a chicken should. There were more hens on the pile, but I decided to make an odd, screech. Anyways, all the hens heads went up, and they went darting inside. You can see part of the field in the background. South sloped, and happily snow free. Oh that is awseome.