Sunday, February 23, 2014

# 503 - Replenishing the Flock - Twenty Chicks!

Last weekend, I went to bed with a heavy heart after putting my only surviving chicken in the coop, for her to roost alone for the night since the rest of the flock was attacked and killed.

For the next few nights, I found it very difficult to sleep as I was constantly listening for the one surviving chicken to suffer an attack as the predator somehow would steal into her secured coop. I kept the .22 at the front door, just in case. But, so far we have made it through each night with "Survivor" still intact.

It is likely that a large predator with a hearty appetite found our chickens, perhaps the coyote that Sgt. Dave has seen running past our acreage made his way here for a feast.

But, we decided to not allow the predator(s) to win, so the day after I found the chickens...this past Monday, Sgt. Dave took me for a day out on the town with a trip to the feed store to buy chicks. He does sweet things like that, knowing I truly miss my chickens and am concerned about the one chicken being left alone.

No, these are not boxes full of fast food, but they are holding
twenty chicks ready to enjoy their new home.

Knowing the hard truths of raising chickens because of three years of experience with small flocks, we decided to go ahead and buy the largest flock to date for our farm. After all, we have acres of land and want to put it to good use.

I ended up with 20 chicks.

The funny thing is...we went to the feed store and made our first purchase, but we ended back there at the end of the day to get a second batch of two additional breeds.

With this flock, I will have five different kinds of chickens:

1. Rhode Island Reds
2. Barred Plymouth Rocks
3. Buff Orpingtons (same as I had before)
4. Black Australorps
5. Ideal 236 - also known as White Leghorns

If my long-time readers remember, the first batch of chicks we bought were kept in our master bathroom garden tub until they were big enough to move to the outdoor coop in the backyard of our suburban home located in the Greater Houston area.

My niece, Shaye, helping with the chickens that we kept in
our backyard.

They are sleeping in a special cage built by Sgt. Dave that is solid and with tight woven galvanized wire to prevent any predators from breaking in. The cage has a heat lamp shining upon it so the chicks will have warmth and the cage is inside my secure metal shed that I use as a laundry room.

Every day I am in that laundry shed multiple times and the dogs LOVE their "babies."

They sit against the cage with big grins.

The puppy, Gracie, is leaning that we protect the chickens and live peacefully with them.

A few chicks have the beginnings of feathers, so they should be growing fast. Over the next few weeks, we hope our lone, surviving chicken will become acclimated to the chicks so they can peacefully co-exist. Truthfully, I just want that surviving chicken to keep surviving. Her being the only large chicken puts her at a disadvantage.

But, she is laying one nice-sized egg per day. I can't believe we are only getting one egg per day! For three years, we have had an abundance of eggs being laid just a few steps from the front door. I cannot imagine having to BUY eggs from a grocery store. Yuk!

During our trip into town, we also stopped by Lowe's to get more supplies for an expanded chicken coop and to reinforce the one we now use.

No make-up and with laundry in background, but heck, it's a good moment.

Perhaps we bought too many. I don't know. If so, I will try to sell a few as full-grown laying hens in a few months. But, it will work out. I think I will be end up with a considerable amount of eggs. Having extra eggs won't be a problem. Our dogs love scrambled eggs and having too many might help us cut back on the cost of dog food!

Sgt. Dave might have to start taking some ultra-fresh eggs to people at work in downtown Houston

The Circle of Life just began, again, at point "A." And I am happy in spite of our recent farm-loss, even though I miss Beaker with a pang of anguish at her demise, but that is part of Farm Life Lessons that mirrors the ups and downs of reality.


Mike said...

It's a sad day when all your kids are taken. Due to air and ground strikes, I was down to one hen. (The one I least liked)

I made a deal with Hidden Haven Homestead and swapped my rabbits for her some 'friends'.

I had to BUY store bought twice. When mine started laying again, I was reminded just how GOOD a REAL egg is.

I'm sure someone close to you has some REAL eggs you can buy, instead of using the STORE.

The Kelly's Adventures in KY said...

Hooray Hooray! I'm so glad you got some babies!! The Leghorns if you handle them a few times a day will be calm, otherwise they are spazzes. They are awesome at laying a white egg a day. RIR's are fantastic at the brown eggs, and will probably start laying before the others. I'm so excited for you!! said...

Mike - that cracked me up about you saying the one left was the least liked...isn't that how life goes? Lol. Truthfully, I know you also get attached with your chickens, as we can see with all the commentators here that also know what it means to like chickens. I am glad you keep going too with trying to replenish the flock. I know you've had your bouts with predators.

The Kelly's Adventures in KY - Thanks for the information! We have never had those breeds before, so their character will be a new thing for us to experience. I am glad we will have different breeds. Next, we will have to find the breed that Beaker had been because she was a great laying hen with big brown eggs and the Buff Orpingtons we've had a great layers of brown eggs as well and are docile chickens so nice to have around the farm or in your backyard! Thanks for sharing in the excitement!


The Kelly's Adventures in KY said...

I believe Beaker was a Golden Comet ( Red Star,Gold Sex Link, they have many names ). They are generally crosses between a Rhode Island Red and a White Rock. I have 5 of them, and they are amazing! I'm actually looking to expand ( yes, even more ) this year and the base will be from these Comet's and a few Orpingtons. You are going to be rolling in eggs again in no time!! :)

Rae said...

Congrats on the new babies, and that is a beautiful brooder pen! Nice mix of breeds too! We have an australorp in this year's replacement chicks. Can't wait to see how she does. Also can't wait to see how you do with your new flock! :)

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

bummer about your chickens being killed :( So sorry! I am glad you got some new ones!

Karen said...

Oh, WOW, you've got a big flock now. You'll soon be able to sell fresh eggs with that many Girls producing! All of my hens are getting old and I'm amazed they're still laying eggs, even through this extreme cold weather. I hate buying store bought, too. They just don't taste the same.

Love how your dogs are so protective, you've got some loyal canines there.

I bet the chicks have grown by leaps and bounds already!