July 24, 2022
we got chickies and what we're doing to keep them thriving!
I feel so giddy writing this blog post! Its my first blogpost for the homestead & by golly WE'RE DOING IT Y'ALL!!!
In true Shelby fashion I purchased 15 chickens from Valley Hatchery online & 17 showed up ... WHOA. So here I am taking care of and nurturing 17 chickies as quietly as I can in our rental garage and bribing neighbors with snuggles to keep quiet until we move next weekend.. oops.
I wanted to share some thing I have been doing to keep these ladies [and possibly men :/ alive and thriving!].
First lets chat what breeds I got and why I purchased them from a hatchery and not the feed or tractor store. I am in a lot of facebook groups for homesteading/chickens and I have heard some horror stories of chickens from tractor supply stores or feed stores. A lot of times they aren't the birds they say they are are they are weak and will most likely pass shortly after you purchase them. So I went with Valley Hatchery becasue they have the birds the quickest available for us and so far I am very impressed! We got 17 and all are still alive and thriving so fingers crossed it stays that way!
The breeds I got are:
3 Blue Ameraucana: they lay blue eggs which is so cute but also they are very docile sweet birds when grown! So far they are growing the fastest in our little home! They are the chubbiest little chickies!
5 Jubilee Orpington: These will lay light brown eggs and are docile & sweet birds to be around
4 Barred Plymouth Rock: These birds are good for a rooster if you'd like a rooster. We got [hopefully] all girls but hawks and other flying creatures are scared of crows so having a black rooster is hopeful to keep your flock safe. These little ladies are the actual SWEETEST birdies! They come right to me and our favorite we have named Toby.
4 Buff Brahma Bantan: this was a 'sexed' run so there could be some roosters. So far these chickies are the most scared of us and absolutely loathe being picked up by us so I would assume we have some roosters. From what I have read they are supposed to be the sweetest little ladies as they grow though so only time will tell!
Heres my tips on what to do when you get your chickies to keep them healthy!
- have a space for them. we used a black plastic storage container we had from moving but now I have them in a large mesh dog pen that has a zipper top so as they grow they can't fly out but will have ventilation! here is a link for the dog pen
- I chose not to get medicated feed for our chickens. I got organic grower feed for them to eat
- I hyped up their water for 3 days after they came to us: 1tb apple cider vinegar, 1tb raw local organic honey, and 1 clove of garlic minced to help boost their immune systems. Now I just add a little ACV for probably a few more days
- We added small rocks from our yard into their water because chickies are known to drown themselves from playing in the water so this helps prevent them from being able to do so
- I did not want a heat lamp as I have heard horror stories from it getting too hot or it dropping and lighting the chickens on fire so I splurged the $40 for a heat plate from tractor supply to help keep them warm. They are so happy under there and it keeps them perfectly safe. It adjusts heights and can be standing up as they grow and won't need to go under it
- I chose to go with puppy pads over pine shavings as chickens like to eat pine shavings when they are little and it can get stuck in their bottoms and kills them
- We make sure to clean out their brooder daily. We change their puppy pads [they poop A LOT] clean their water and food for them
- When we take them out of the brooder to clean it we always check their butts for pasty butt. Pasty butt is their poop getting stuck to their bottoms and making their vent unable to breathe so they die. We have had a few have pasty butt and all you do is let them soak in a bowl with warm water and lightly wipe it off with a towel. Then we snuggle them in a paper towel until they are dry and back under the heat plate they go!
- Make sure you handle your chicks gently and calmly as stress is a another factor for them dying at a young age
They will be in their brooder [now dog pen] for up to 6-7 weeks before they will go into their coop so making sure they are healthy while in their brooder will help set you up for success in their coops! I will share some pics of their living situation now and then what our plans are for their coop on their land!
Heres our hope and plans for the coop we will finish over the next few weeks! We got a 10x10 shed from home depot and will add a plexiglass window in it for ventilation for the chickens and then a very large run on the side. We have a lot of hawks and I'd assume wildlife in our area so free ranging makes me too nervous during the day but we do plan on letting them out before sunset at night while we are out with them. I will try and make sure I document the process for the run and coop with our plans to make it as predator proof as possible!
So .. this is what we have been up to! I cant believe after years and years of praying for this life WE ARE HERE! Now let's make this homestead our H O M E!