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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chicks!

Every spring since moving to Davis I've thought about getting chickens. But we've never gotten around to making a coop in the yard and by the time we've gotten enough free time to build one it is too late in the season and the feed stores no longer sell them (since they are usually shipped via USPS they are only available before it gets too hot).

This year, however, I decided to just get the chickens and then worry about getting a coop built. (Irresponsible, huh?) I figured if I didn't get them now then I never would. For the first 6 weeks or so the chicks will live inside a box in the garage with a warming light so we have time to get ourselves organized.

After doing some reading online and in my chicken book I decided to make a "warming box" out of an empty Rubbermaid tub I had in the garage and a garage work light with a 60 watt bulb. All I had to buy at the feed store was food, bedding material, a feeder, waterer, and the birdies. I also bought a cheap reptile thermometer just so I could reassure myself that my girls weren't too cold (it is totally not necessary since you can just watch what the chickens are doing to see if they are too cold--huddled up = cold and standing by the edges of the tub = too hot.)

So last Thursday I bought 5 female chicks (referred to as pullets)--two of one kind, two of another (I can't remember what the lady said they were), and one Rhode Island Red. If baby chicks weren't so dang cute I probably would have only purchased 3...
Eddie and the dogs are intrigued by the chicks. I think Eddie want to squeeze them, Potatoes wants to "nose" them, and Ruby want to eat them. Once the birds are big enough to live outside I'm going to let the dogs be outside with them--under constant watch--and reprimand the dogs whenever they try to get near the birds. That way they will learn that chickens are "paws off."

For now Dave and I are the only ones to touch the chickens...everyone else gets to look only. And look they do! Potatoes and Ruby stare at them for minutes on end trying to figure them out. This weekend the weather was really nice so we brought the chicks out on to the patio for some fresh air.
Bird's eye view of Potatoes:
My dad is coming for a visit (to help us get stuff done around the house) this coming weekend and I'm hoping we'll get a chicken coop constructed at the end of the garden yard.

I'm fully aware that 5 birds will give us WAY more eggs than we'll ever need (about 20/week) but that's okay. Finding people to take fresh eggs from me here in town shouldn't be a problem. What I really need is a pig so it can eat all the extra eggs I can't eat or give away...too bad Davis doesn't allow pigs in residential neighborhoods! (I can hear Dave sighing with relief!)

2 comments:

steph.kelley said...

Oh jealous...ohhhhh jealous! If you don't get around to the coop construction, you can buy an Eglu (just Google it) — they're supposedly ingenious. As to excess eggs: we have discovered that hard-boiled eggs last weeks and weeks in the fridge, so you can always try that for an injection of longevity until you find a use for them. Love you Julie! xoxoxo

mu rye uh said...

Neat, I heard that you can boil them in vinegar and they will keep in a dry place?