A country girl at heart living in a small river town I have dreamt of raising chickens for years and this year it finally happened.
About six weeks ago I finally went and had a friend hatch me some chicks, But we figured out the rooster didn’t cooperate much, For we only had two chick that hatched and a week later they both died. So on to a farm supply store I picked my new chicks from ages two weeks to 4 weeks as good as the help could tell. I was so excited and had been reading up on articles and blogs to prepare myself for this awesome adventure finally coming true! I know it seems a little silly but since I was a kid I wanted to live on a farm with lots of animals, But I married a city boy and then the kids came and life but my dream never died! I’am a little bit country a little bit rock and roll as they say. So back to the chicks; I purchased ten chicks some Leghorns, Rhode Islands, Bantam and cute black ones I can’t remember what they were called! So I bought all the food, and containers for water and feed, pine shavings, cages, electrolytes, coop freshener, natural spray for mites and such, snack feed, and a heat lamp then brought my babies home and set them all up in my craft room due to the cold spell we were having which lasted forever! I lost one of my Bantams I think because it was too hot even though I was keeping it around 85-90 degrees. The rest were doing fine but then I had to move the older ones the Leghorns (3) to their own cages for they were growing fast plus more active and bossy! I spent a lot of time in with them due to all their scratching a flinging shavings into their water and feeders and because I just wanted to! I would hold them talk to them and even pet them through the cage, This crazy chick mom even decided to play the piano a couple times and they all would get real quiet and fall asleep!! Crazy huh?
Chicks inside house
I also would talk to them like I do my dogs and cat I thought it only natural I love them too right! I know, I know, I’m crazy their just chickens man!! But they’re MY CHICKENS!
So today was a BIG DAY today I was finally ready to move those chicks to their new coop for all was completed in the coop with electricity, ceiling fan, heat lamp, bedding, containers, flooring, windows, and fresh paint and decor outside along with fencing and netting to keep the predators out! We have a lot of hawks and eagles here being next to the Mississippi River! My son and granddaughter helped with the moving of the chicks and supplies and man was I excited!! Like a little kid in a candy store! I tried to contain it so everyone wouldn’t think I was too nuts!!
I will continue to study and ask questions and learn as I go down this path of the chicken mom and all it entails and I’m only in it for the eggs and fun exciting times plus the work that comes with and not to mention it keeps me more active!
Here is some pictures of the chickens new home.
Moma Marston Chicks
I will tell you the coop was revamped from a tea -house then a shed and now the coop!
My son built the gate out of wood he salvaged from the flood in the river along with the metal on the bottom edge of coop and my other son and us built the inside boxes and ramp for the chickens also this past week I put the linoleum on the floor and painted the outside along with some touches and chicken wire along the bottom edge of fence run plus I made to roost areas out on the run so all in all I have had a lot of fun doing work daily and preparing for these little ones and don’t regret a bit of it! The Coop Is Done
So if you ever think about getting chickens I hope I inspired you and gave you a little of what to prepare for and any ideas. Am I crazy? Yes a little, crazy about animals and would have more if I could so I do what I can on this little urban homestead and love every minute of it a day long time coming and finally here was a success and a dream come true!
Family time working together to help with self-sustaining goals.
Still working on the coop and fencing for run area, and must say it was great having family helping us and all working together for a common goal!
I never felt so proud of them all stepping up to the plate helping their parents meet our goal with the gardens and chicken preparations plus we have fun teasing each other, and listening to them teach each other or give guidance and help, makes me smile thinking we did something right! Our Third son made a gate with all refurbished wood and his added little touches! He’s a true junkie red neck!
The inside coop is done all but a plug in and other son will finish that up this week plus he built the nesting boxes and walk ramp. Everyone had a hand in the projects from first son to last with garden boxes to fencing; A good day for us all and pizza for the hungry crew!
Mamas eggs are still in the incubator and will be hatching .
One hatched 2 Days ago now waiting for some more baby’s to keep my little one company! A few finishing touches and things to get ready!
update on chicks! My 2 little ones passed and now have 6 new ones waiting to get big enough to move outside and when weather cooperates!
Feed, bedding, water and food containers, light, to keep babies warm for they will be inside house till it warms up more here plus get a little bigger.
This is a new adventure a long time coming for me and I couldn’t be more excited having a little touch of farm life or another step towards more self-sustainment in our little urban homestead!
Back to the gardening; I have starts to transplant to larger containers now and within a few weeks can harden off and transfer to garden boxes! Thanks to Mary’s Heirloom Seeds! And I have starts coming up in the garden now from Marys seeds also!
I did plant some seeds this week such as lettuce, sugar snap peas, and one row of green beans.
My goal is to plant only what we can eat, can, dehydrate and freeze! Along with kitchen herbs and some medicinal herbs. It’s a great feeling when you can grow and produce your own food!
What are you all growing this year? Mine will be Tomatoes, Green Beans, Potatoes, Green Peppers, Garlic, Cucumbers, onions, and Herbs.
Having said all this leads me to where are all my supplies to get this all done?! Well I must admit mine are all over!! So it’s time to organized these tools for canning and more in one place and don’t forget the jars and supplies for dehydrating and freezing. It’s so much easier to have these similar supplies together for when they will be needed! Check, goal accomplished plus this way you will know what you need to purchase prior to harvesting your food.
So planning and setting goals to accomplish makes life a little easier plus when the family comes together to help makes it all worth it and a little entertainment!
All electrical in coop is finished all left to do is paint out side, chicks to young and too cold yet to be out but maybe my 3 bigger ones in a week or two . So now more planting to do plus some of my first seeds planted are up such as sugar snap peas, lettuce, green beans and that’s it for now. yard decorations a few to do!
So now we have to decide what kind of chickens we want ; Laying Hens or Meat chickens, But for me it’s going to be Laying Hens plus they are a good first animal for your new homestead and if you’re an Urban Homesteader that’s about all you can have!
Things to buy before you have those babies are a must and if your new to this adventure as I’m then I will tell you it’s a whole different world unlike dogs, Cats, and such! I’ve never seen so much Chicken stuff in my life! I was in heaven! food, toys, water- containers , feeders, vitamins, worm meal, aprons, boots, signs and much more! Chickens have become a big Trend! Makes me wonder what animal is next? But that’s ok with me I Love animals and I would have more on this urban homestead if I could!
Did you know chickens are attracted to red and when their peeps the red feeders and water containers great for the little ones and don’t forget to show a few how to drink by sticking their beaks into the water bowl and the rest will follow.
It’s a good idea to purchase some electrolytes to add in their water if you notice their getting sick or preventive care my friend has some good info for that!
Don’t forget their feed starting out , they need Chick feed with the vitamins and Antibiotics this will help give them a good start in life. Now you can’t let the babies loose yet you have to keep them in a warm safe environment until their old enough to be out in the coop on their own, So think of them as toddlers and watch over those peeps and protect them! After all your their mommy now!
That brings us to a container and heat lamp for warmth and containment. Some use totes, wood boxes, empty swimming pools but just remember keep them safe and where you can check on them frequently!
Oh and they do pee and poop so you will want to put some straw, shaved wood chips or such in the bottom of their containers plus it will add to their warmth. You will have to change it occasionally but you got this! After all you’re the mom the head clucker of the coop! Speaking of poop theirs this thing they may get that’s called “Pastey Butt” on their little rectum that gets crusty like with poop and you will need to wash it off gently or they can’t 💩 another mom job!
It’s a good idea to also purchase chicken powder for lice and such to have on hand along with bedding, feed, scratch and some grit. A big must is to protect them from predators with fencing and netting plus around the coop where smaller predators can dig under if your coop sits on the ground or low to ground a good idea is put metal up against the coop or chicken wire.
So what kind of chickens do you want?? With over 200 varieties theirs a lot to think about huh!
You Should include your climate, egg production, and breed temperaments. You can combine all breeds they will eventually establish a pecking order.
Did you know Hens can produce eggs without a Rooster?? You only need a Rooster if your hatching your own eggs!
Check their water and clean /refill as needed: Keep it clean a lot of straw, poop and shavings can mess it up. Use soap and water and a little bleach to sanitize them.
Feed Chickens: You can schedule feed them or Free feed them with a large feeder.
Collect Eggs: Check daily it minimizes cracks and keeps the eggs cleaner. Check twice a day will keep them clean and prevent them from eating them also. Keep their nesting boxes clean and change out monthly.
Watch and Observe them: Spend time with your chicks to check on their health such as bright eyes, active, smooth feathers and not being picked at from other chicks.
Every six Months: Clean and sanitize coop. Wash it down with one part bleach to 10 part water plus adding diatomaceous earth (DE) in the coop will cut down on mites and keep those hens healthier. (safe for them to eat).
Don’t forget Winter prepare for that also! Heaters for water, light to keep the hens laying and a place to roost.
So there are a few basics for you to get started or maybe excite your interest in chickens and there is always books and internet to gain more knowledge plus I will be keeping you posted once my babies get here!