Saturday, March 8, 2008

I Google chicks on the Internet

Someone in my family recently challenged all of us online to write a 6 word story. There were many good ones and then there was mine: I Google chicks on the Internet. I am completely obsessed with chickens these days. I have placed an order with McMurray Hatchery in Iowa for 25 ornamental hens and they are due to arrive the first week of April.



I have converted a big shelf unit (which housed the kiln materials at my school since the 1960's, kiln post coming) into a brooder. This is sitting on the floor of my workroom, upstairs in the barn. I put it in there because I can close the door and I don't think any predators can get in. For extra safety, I built a lid that allows ventilation and viewing. I have heat lamps to keep the chicks warm while living in here. I hope they keep them warm enough. I DON'T want chicks in the house!! The chicks will live in here until they are feathered out. At that time, they will make the big move downstairs to the chicken coop.




The photos show how much work I need to do before the chicks can move into the coop! I need to rebuild the corner to enclose the coop and solidify the barn. I also need to add three Dutch doors.

Dutch door

I will build a wall and a door inside the barn to enclose the coop.

I am going to add a wall here so I can store feed, etc away from the chickens. This is where I will build several small enclosures for brooding hens, etc.


This picture shows how I need to add flooring/ceiling to the coop.


Lesley, my daughter, is going to help me redesign and relocate the nest boxes. I think they are too high and the openings too small for some of the birds I have coming.


I have twelve 4' x 8' sheets of insulation that I am going to put on this wall to insulate the coop from drafts, winter cold and summer heat.


This very old apple tree fell this winter and my wife had the idea of dragging it over into the chicken yard so they can play on it. I really like having excuses to get my Farmall B out and working. There is nothing like hooking chains onto something big and dragging it around with an old but powerful tractor!






Lesley's rendition of the FarmAll

I'm not an accomplished carpenter by any means, but I do know how to do all of the things I have to do to get the coop ready for the chickens. The nice part is that this is an old barn and in need of TLC and just about anything I do will be an improvement. I am surprised that the barn floor is actually level after over 100 years of use and abuse.

I have a lot of willing and able family members who will come and lend a hand. I'll bribe them with sloppy joes, cold drinks and good fun.

Wanna join us?

39 comments:

chickengirl said...

Your blog is wonderful! What kinds of hens are you getting? Other than Americauna's, all of the chicks we're getting ornamential!
That barn would make a great coop! I've always wanted something like that.

Ruth said...

It looks like a lot of work. :|

You know I'm pretty lazy, but I'll do anything you tell me to. You never tell me to do anything, that's the problem. Maybe you should start, and I'll get up off my *@^% and do something.

I could take pictures? I'll make the sloppy joes? Lemonade?

Don said...

Hey ChickenGirl, thanks for visiting! I too am getting the ornamental collection. I guess they don't tell you what specific breeds they are sending. It must depend on what they have at the time of "packaging" them up. I am hoping for a nice variety! I will take lots of pics and try to distinguish between the breeds.

Hey Ruth! You are an all-around great person and you don't need me to tell you to do anything. You do take nice photos! No doubt your photos will dominate my posts!

Ginnie said...

I am so darn-tootin' excited about this endeavor for you, Don! I can see your Child popping out all over. This is gonna be so much fun, from beginning to end. A project you and the rest of the family will never forget! I so wish we could be there to watch to put this together. I'd offer to do the.... Did anyone say painting? At least we'll see your posts!!

Don said...

Hi Ginnie, thanks for stopping by. I didn't say paint, but I am going to actually use whitewash on the inside. The same kind of stuff Tom Sawyer used, (I know it's a fictional story):). Paint can chip and the chickens will eat it, put whitewash doesn't chip. There are various recipes on the Internet.

carl h. sr. said...

Don,I like your blog already.
Hope your shoulder is doing OK.
In case you go out to the coop barefoot this summer,here is some advice.My Mom taught me(about 44 years ago)that chicken poop between your toes is no big deal!
Get a twig and scrape it out.
Good luck with your chicks!

Don said...

Wow Carl, I can't wait to try that out! Please keep those golden nuggets coming. I can almost feel that!

pablohart said...

Yo! I plan to bring (at least part of) our family to help out with the work sometime on the 5th of April. Can't wait! Wouldn't it be fun to do a time-lapse photo collage of the day? Maybe we can try it.

See ya then.

pablohart said...

I love the door in the space that's going to become the coop. Here's a photo I took of it.

http://flickr.com/photos/hartville/1129168415/in/set-72157601458030040/

Drowsey Monkey said...

I can just imagine the glee in your face when you say you google chicks on the internet...lol

It all sounds exciting, but I decline the kind offer of helping you. I'm rather lazy.

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

Hi Don. Thank you for the compliment on my blog. I have added ou to my hopping list since I have alread fallen in love from just 2 posts. The barn and laundry line pic is so dreamy. I love it! wish we were closer. I would come and help out with what ever job of the day needed done. I'd even bring some Mulberry mead to the table.LOL.

Don said...

Hi paul, Thanks for visiting and leaving comments. I love the photos you have taken.

How fun that you are able to join us at the barn-raising. I have some things in mind that Lydia and Eli can do to help them pass the time in a fun way.

I think we're going to need your engineering expertise!

Don said...

Hi Drowsey, Yeah, I think I have a little too much glee when I say that!

We have lots of things for lazy folks to do. Sit around with Ruth and me and drink coffee or some of "Unnusual's" Mulberry mead, or just sit around the bonfire and bask in our laziness.

You fit right in!

Don said...

Hey Unusually Unusual Farmchick! If you look at those first two words long enough, they don't look like English!

Thanks for stopping by and for your compliments. I enjoy your blog a lot and have become a regular customer!

Do you make your own Mulberry Mead?

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

We have 2 big Mulbery tress on the property edge that have been contributing to my triple berry pies for years now. Tried my hand at it last year with mulberries and have been waiting for the right time to indulge. My dandelion wine is goin on 2 years now. I hear the older the better- si I guess it has at least 10 years to go. Same for the mead, but I hope just 1 year will produce greatness. I have some sweet strawberry wine down in my "farmchick" cellar too. I will be trying my hand at lemon balm wine this year along with pear, peach,blackberry & more dandelion wine- build up a good supply so i can start enjoying it all gradually as i make new batches.I was not too impressed with my apple wine, but of course I was told i tried it to soon.I enjoy old time "farm house" wines. Nothing fancy or too scientific.I'm sure I will start up again my "Summer of wild wines" make along come Summer.I will do the norma ones, then be adding the new ones I mentioned above. I find people enjoy recieving a bottle with some homemade goodies as holiday presents or tote a bottle along for a "tasting" at Thanksgiving. If ya' havent noticed, I am a bit of a rambler...

Don said...

Wow! I feel like I am accomplishing something just making jams and jellies! Maybe I should try some blackberry wine!

Thanks for visiting! I am a regular at your blog.

Loring Wirbel said...

Chickengirl says she wished she were closer - y'all are spoiled, neighboring states and all. My friend that runs Venetucci Farm in Colorado Springs always goes down to help his "neighbor" in Trinidad, Colorado, which is on the Colorado/NM border. I'm not advocating wasteful use of fossil fuels, mind you, just pointing out the different perception of distances between Midwest and Rocky West. (Photos and designs for new coop are fantastic, as is Lesley's Farmall painting.)

Don said...

Loring you have a fine eye for detail and fine art. I agree that we don't have a clear concept about distance. When I tell people that Denver is about half way to LA from Detroit, they don't believe me! I think Europeans have the same size issues when they come here and realize how huge our country is. However, they do make excellent bread and chocolate!

Rauf said...

Never heard of ornamental chicken Don. i think you have placed the order for the chicken too early. Its difficult for you to work in cold condition with your injured shoulder. i remember seeing pictures of farmers auction in Ruth's blog last year. i think it was during winter. Some farmer must be selling the chicken coop.

the only predators we had were the foxes (i don't know the plural of a fox) This is my childhood memory. We lost quite a few. When ever a fox attacked rest of the chicken would keep screaming for half an hour.

Don said...

thanks for your concern Rauf. I think I will be ok. I have some good helpers coming. Ornamental chickens are chickens that are fancy looking, not necesarily the best egg layers. I chose them for Ruth and her photography!

We too have foxes here and also coyotes. The biggest problem I think I will have is with racoons. They are sneaky and very smart. We also have weasels and oppossums and they will eat chickens as well. I am going to surround their outdoor "day" yard with an electric mesh fence. This will keep dogs and the above mentioned predators out. I will lock them up in the coop each night. Hopefully I will find all of the sneaky entrances before they do!

Don said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickengirl said...

We have had several birds taken by hawks, raccoons, and our neighbor's dog! Our chickens (for now) are in a pen. We put chicken wire over the pen and haven't had many problems!
Don, when I said we're getting ornamental, I didn't mean the collection (though it would be fun!). We're only going to keep about 13 chicks. Among them are Polish, Cochins, and a Faverolle. It would be so fun to get the ornamental varieties, though! Good luck with them!

Don said...

Chickengirl: Those are all very cool birds! Nice choices. I want to get some marans one of these days. I think the dark brown eggs would be nice.

chickengirl said...

We were going to get a few Silver Spangled Hamburgs, but after a little reading, it sounds like they're better in open range, which we may not be able to provide all the time, because of the neighbor's dog. Marans sound really cool! In the eggs carton you could have light brown, white, green, blue, and chocolate colored eggs if you had different varieties!

Don said...

That's what I love about the Ornamental Collection. I think that is what I will have. I don't know about the dark browns tho. I'm thinking about adding some Cuckoo Marans chicks to my order.

chickengirl said...

We're getting the "Free Rare Chick" with our order, and from reading a couple product reviews, it sounds like they're mostly Hamburg roo's! Oh well.

lesleyanne said...

can't wait can't WAIT!! i think you are a very accomplished carpenter! everything you build is quality and beautiful. even the brooder is...and i especially like it because you recycled something old into something new and functional! you make a daughter proud. :)

i'll be there Memorial day to help help help! i was just thinking too....wondering if there's going to be a cottage clean-up day that weekend...isn't there usually?

i gotta start sketching! wish i was there to take measurements and do some renderings. if you give me some parameters, i can come up with some ideas for the coop!
love yous.

Don said...

Chickengirl: Sounds like your G'pa is getting another broiler! Does he process them himself? Do you help him?

Don said...

Lesleyanne: Hey daughter! How cool would that be do have some renderings of the coop and barn. I don't remember what day we are doing the cottage.

Another chicken farmer said to leave the nest boxes where they are, so I may do that. They look kinda cool being all old.

chickengirl said...

What do you mean by that? He only wants Ameraucana's for their eggs.

Don said...

I meant that maybe your G'pa would end up with your "rare" chicken as it wil probably be a rooster. Do you want a rooster? Oh, I get it, he isn't having you raise the large order for the freezer, but for the eggs! I am a bit slow on the uptake!!!

chickengirl said...

That's what we're planning on doing, if it is a rooster. We got 9 roosters last year and still have three; we don't need ANY more! We actually gave him several roosters, and one of those is an Ameraucana. Yes, he wants green and blue eggs. I think he'll actually give 12 of the hens to a friend of his and keep the other 12.

Don said...

The different colors of eggs make it more interesting doesn't it? I hope I get some Ameraucanas in my batch!

chickengirl said...

They're so cool to have, and great layers, too! We wanted colored eggs, so we bought four Ameraucana chicks last year, and three of them turned out to be roosters! We only have the hen left, but we get a green egg every day!

Sandy said...

Love the photo of the tractor.

sandy

Don said...

Sandy: Thank you. It's a 1941 Farmall B.

chickengirl said...

Guess what the "free rare chick" is? A buff-laced Polish! And we have a Polish pullet, so even if it is a rooster (50-50 chance), we could breed them, if we wanted.....

Don said...

Do you have an incubator?, or will the polish set?

chickengirl said...

Well, we don't have an incubator, and it's hard to tell now if she will set, but we have three Silkie hens that could do it for her. Oh, I forgot to tell you, we bought two gorgeous white Silkie hens from a guy who raises, shows, and sells several different varieties. He has nearly 100 chickens as of now!...or more than that!!