Friday, April 13, 2012


Yep, we finally did it.  We got CHICKENS!!  We have been wanting them for at least a year, but haven't been able to find a coop we could afford.  Building a coop was always an option, but we didn't want to drop a lot of money on materials when we aren't sure how well our carpentry skills would work.  Well I got a bunch of supplies from my wonderful uncle over Easter this past weekend, so I'm ready to tackle the project!

Sometimes we need a kick in the rear end to get things done, so I thought that if there were baby chicks in our home, just waiting for a coop, that I would have to build one.  LOGICAL, right?!?  So yesterday I picked up these beauties.
New chicks!

We got 2 Gold Star and one Rhode Island Red from the wonderful Egg|Plant in St. Paul.  They spent their first few hours with their new mama at work :)

They took a bus ride to their new home (yep, I had taken my bike to work, that's how unplanned this day was!) where I promptly went to creating them a new home.

Being the offspring of frugality itself, I went with a medium sized rubbermaid as their lodging for the next few weeks.  I made a waterer from a juice bottle and a plastic dish... just poke holes in the bottle as far up as you want the water to go, have an airtight lid and then the water will stop flowing once it gets to the hole level.

First home setup
This is what their setup looked like initially.  I quickly became a nervous mother and changed things around.  I went and got a heat bulb for the lamp since I didn't think they were warm enough (still dont, more changes to make), I put the food in a small ceramic seedling pot, suitably shaped like an egg!  I put a window screen on top and then covered most of the screen with a towel to keep the heat in.

With it now being the next morning, I have some concerns for my little chickies.  I dont think they're chirping enough or moving around enough.  They're sort of huddled away from the light, which would indicate they're overheated, but my thermometer in the bin says just 80 degrees, which is 10 degrees too low.  I had put one of those hand warmers under the paper before bed last night, about where they're huddled.  But more than 12 hours later, I can't imagine its still putting off heat.  I think I'll have to bring my mini heater home from work and aim it at them to make sure they're warm enough.  

Heidi told me that when she started singing to them, they started to chirp back at her!  I hope we get all of the kinks worked out in this brooding process so that we have three happy, healthy hens in a few months!

Oh yeah, I'm planning on starting the chicken coop this weekend.  I have a blueprint mostly worked out thanks to a Google Sketch program, and finishing touches stored in my head.  I hope it goes well!

I'm taking names for our little girls, so let me know if you have any great ideas!  Oh also, Gus met his new sisters yesterday.  It was confirmed that, although he's almost 12, he definitely IS a dog, and these are little chicks!  He managed to nab one, to my horror!  No damage done, however, but a lesson learned.


Well if you know me, you know that I get amped up about projects and then get too busy to follow through with them.  Like doing a blog.  Or owning chickens :)  Well now that we have several new additions to the family, I thought it would be good to start this up again as a means to track their growth and our experiment.

Before that, however, lets go with an update:
Last year's garden turned out ok.  The tomatoes perished in their late seedling stage, I believe it was a result of their re-used (and not properly cleaned) transition pots.  So that was a lesson learned.  Use new or really clean, bleached pots.  Got it.  So we had to buy tomatoes.  We successfully started a garden at our friends Rana and Hillary's house.  They live just a few blocks from us and have a huge lot with lots of sun time.  It stinks breaking new ground every year though! 

The disappointments
- our corn was ravaged by squirrels (it didn't taste good anyway)
- the tomatoes were only so-so
- Peppers weren't very productive
- Melons didn't turn out very well

The great successes
- Lots of wonderful and colorful beans, 2 varieties.  I still have bags full in the freezer!
- Good early peas
- Tons of soybeans
- Zuchini was amazing
- got a few good Butternut squashes

We were too busy to plant seeds this year, unfortunately, so we'll have to go with store-bought plants this year.  Major bummer.  We'll get back to seeds next year.