Raising Spring Chickens
Spring is time of renewal and new life. I see new life in the form of buds on each of my orchard trees and witness baby animals of all kinds emerging from the woods behind us. Raising chickens is a unique experience that is linked to my life on the farm as a kid. I can’t resist the baby animals so have not been immune to the need to raise new feather babies. Raising chickens has quickly become a part of my families goal to be more self sustaining and it’s as enjoyable as it is rewarding.
Last spring, my wonderful hubby built a large coop with a spacious attached run so we could begin raising chickens for eggs last spring. It’s really important to me to know where my food comes from and so I’ve entered into the role of raising chickens. I raise our own chickens for eggs so that I know that these happy hens have been treated well, are able to roam their run and in our yard freely eating their natural diet and therefore providing more nutritious eggs for my family.
These hens have stolen our hearts. My three kids lives (and mine) have been positively enriched by having them around. Raising chickens teaches the kids respect for nature, responsibility and about the food cycle. These happy hens are great therapy when you need a break from reality. They entertain us with their antics as well as generously provide my favorite breakfast food. Chickens lay eggs whether you want them to or not and their egg production increases when the amount of sunlight increases so I’m currently getting plenty to share with family and friends.
I told myself I didn’t need any more baby chicks this year but there’s a phenomenon called chicken math where once you have one they seem to multiply in number. I now have 14 laying hens from last year (I was only going to have 8 total… I don’t know what happened!) and now we have six adorable new baby chicks. I blame my chicken loving daughter for these last additions as she wanted baby chicks for her birthday. And so it goes. I set up our homemade brooder made from a plastic tote bin and some hardware cloth, added pine shavings and dug out the heater from last year. I use the Eco-Glow heater instead of a hanging lamp as I didn’t want the risk of starting my basement on fire. I started them in just one bin with the food and water in the same bin. Now that they’re getting bigger and need more room to roam, they have a second bin expansion with a tunnel to get to the other side.
These spring chickens are between 2-3 weeks old and are eating machines! They are beginning to get their real feathers (replacing the fluffy down from being a baby chick) and will be able to be slowly introduced to their other friends and join the “big girls” coop in about 4-6 weeks. Mora, my feather friend below with a fluffy hat, is totally excited to meet them when they’re ready 🙂