Honestly, we haven’t lost our minds. We are just working to grow our homesteading efforts to provide more home grown food for us and our community. That effort includes raising meat birds for the first time.
Two weeks after the arrival of our 24 new layer chicks, we received a shipment of our 60 Husky Red Rangers. I’ll admit that the new arrivals have me a bit overwhelmed. We’ve had some challenges with the new chicks and we’ve had a larger loss than we expected over the weekend. We currently have 40 live chicks here after week one, and 10 of those have pasty butt.
No one tells you that, as a chicken farmer, you’ll possibly have to clean chicken’s butts, but here I am, at least once a day, doing just that. Carefully cleaning hardened chicken poo off of these little guy’s butts to make sure their vents stay clear to try to avoid the loss of more chickens.
Well, chicken math got the best of us again. We are adding to our flock and now have 24 chicks in the brooder in our garage. If you’ve been following along with our chicken math, that’s 42 total.
I wasn’t the one who prompted the decision, but after Josh noticed most of our desired breeds at the farm store on Friday, he claimed we needed to make our move.
I was on the phone with my mom when Josh came home, rushing past me spouting phrases like “last week for Black Copper Maran”, “Easter eggers” “need more blue eggs” before disappearing into the garage. About 15 minutes later, loud noises are coming from said garage.
“Mom, I have to let you go. I think we are getting more chickens tonight.”
Stepping into the garage preparing to let my husband down easy about this addition he was planning, I find the whole left side had been neatly cleared out. Feeders, waterers and lights were lined up.
It was obvious he was determined and, you know, errrr, I didn’t want a fight.
And how could I argue?
The man had already cleaned out half of our garage which ticked away at our spring to-do list!
Smiling, I walked over to help him clean out the tub, which we use as a brooder, add pine shavings and set up the light so the space would be warm for our new arrivals. Before I knew it were were at the farm store deciding which chicks and how many were coming home with us.
They have this spacious fancy chicken coop and run, they get plenty of free-range time to forage for bugs and worms, they are fed Scratch and Peck Organic Non-GMO feed and they get treats here and there. They have it all, and still, they won’t lay in the nesting box.
We are more than a month away from spring, but the Ladies of Coop Mahal are laying around seven to nine eggs a day. And while I haven’t figured out my roadside egg stand setup, these eggs have to start moving out the door.
Because no one can consume over five dozen eggs a week alone.
While we have some big hopes for getting in some prime trail wandering this year, we also have plans to slowly expand our hobby farm. Add some rows to the garden, gates to the yard and chicken coop, and you know add some more chickens (with better rooster karma)? Maybe ducks by the fall?
Trying to balance our love of the trails with our love of growing a small farm can become difficult to maneuver. Trails can wait but planting and harvesting has to be carefully timed. I believe we can do both as long summer days give us expanded daylight hours to get it all done. Maybe.
Chicken math is well known among those who raise these birds. For most of us, something happens after you’ve watched your brand new chicks grow to pullets. The amount of chickens you intend to get doesn’t seem to be enough.