Tuesday, May 3, 2011
it is official!! our chicks are home safe and sound and i am now a chicken farmer!! mom and i drove to michigan on sunday to my brohter's house in new hudson. he owns grand river feed where on monday they held their annual chick day. they had over 1,000 chicks for sale, many of them reserved for customers who had pre-ordered the number and variety of their choice. we picked up our chicks yesterday morning and were home by 4:00. we had to keep the heat on high as the chicks need to be at a 90 degree temp for the first week. believe me, it was roasting in my car for the 4.5 hour drive!
ben and jenna were so excited to see the chicks. ben entered my mom's house chanting baby chicks baby chicks baby chicks. he was tentatively curious but jenna was enthralled with every aspect and helped me feed and water them.
we have 12 broilers which will grow very quickly and need to be slaughtered in 7 weeks. we also have a variety of egg laying breeds which will start producing eggs by early to mid autumn. i tried to explain to jenna in the most basic of words that the light yellow chicks won't be around long and she should not get attached. i am sure that this is going to be a very hard lesson for her to learn.
the broilers will stay in the house under the heat lamp for about 2-3 weeks, depending on the weather and then be moved to the shed. the hens will need to stay protected under the heat lamp longer, about 3 to 4 weeks if it gets warm and stays warm by late may.
i just came home from mom's and all the chicks are alive and doing well. they already seemed bigger, more active and voraciously hungry this morning. for some reason they like to congregate in their food bowls which is so funny. they are also curious about their reflections in the water bottle.
zoe and bella were of course very interested with lots of soft whimpering and scampering around the tubs. i want to introduce them to the chicks from a young age so they understand that these are not play things and are off limits. eventually the hens will free range at mom's and i want to be able to turn the dogs loose without any incidents. bella and zoe are soooo well behaved that i am confident i can train them to leave the hens alone.
this is jenna and me watching the royal wedding news on et. we were both pretty worn out as you can tell. already this morning, mom and i are talking about getting more hens and having eggs to sell. also i'm planning to order meat chickens so we have fresh meat every 7-9 weeks or so.
i've longed to raise chickens and gather my own eggs for so long. i am a happy, happy chicken farmer and i looove it!