Growing Chicks!

The chicks are continuing to grow! Not that I expected anythin different, but life never ceases to amaze me. God designed creatures perfectly and watching babies grow is a perfect example!

The meat birds are of course growing much quicker than the Ameracana pullets, but that means things are going like they are supposed to!

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The chicks went on different feeds starting Monday evening, so they needed to be separated. This posed a new challenge… where to put the pullets? Big girls would be mean if i tried to introduce almost 3 week old chicks to the flock, and if I put some kind of partition up, it would crowd the boys. So my awesome Dad came to the rescue!

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Using a single sheet of plywood, 1 2×4, a piece of scrap chip board from the coop expansion, 2 hinges, 1 latch and some chicken wire left over from the stock tank brooder, I helped Dad construct this. The feeder and waterer are housed under the chipboard door to keep the bigger birds from leaving droppings in it if they happen to sit on the lid. I hung a thermometer from a piece of baling wire that I cut down so I can properly monitor the temperature for them.  The box is 6′ x 2′ so they have plenty of room to roam around even as they grow, which they are doing!

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These girls are also growing everyday! 15 new birds to introduce into the flock in the upcoming future. I cannot wait to watch how their persinalities develop. e3ach hen that I have now has their own little attitude or character and it keeps things very interesting.

The babies are always glad to see me as I bring fresh feed with me, and a couple of them, namely George, are getting rather tame. Spring time always brings many good things. This year it has brought baby chicks and baby plants, but more on those another day. Either way I enjoy watching things grow and thrive. There is a sense of accomplishment when your animals do well and healthy and happy.

Baby chicks are enough to brighten your day and your morning. It just makes you smile when you open their door and they greet you excitedly as waterers and feeders begin to be filled. Makes me smile to care for them and make them happy!

My Smallest Chick

I have enjoyed watching the chicks, especially the past couple days as they have seemed to grow almost constantly.  I noticed I have one Super Roaster that is smaller than all the rest, including the Amerucana pullets. I noticed the lil guy had a dirty bum today and decided I needed to investigate.

I am really surprised the little guy is still with us as small as he is, but I am glad to have him despite his size. I was extra extra small once myself, and I am still not a very tall or big girl. The little guy is healthy, just small.

I caught him when I got home from work, and carried the little guy inside. My mom dampened a cloth and I tried to soften the dirt and manure to get him cleaned up. When the dirt etc was persistent, I cut a milk jug and created a chick sized soak. I was surprised the little guy did not even complain when I submerged his bottom half in the warm water. He let me hold him in the water and after just a couple minutes, the dirt and manure easily came away from the skin all except one spot which unfortunately was stuck pretty good. I was worried about tearing his sensitive skin, so we gently snipped a small piece of his chick fluff and released the matt. He is now happily back with his fellow chicks eating and growing. I am hoping he grows more over the next couple days and gets closer to the size of the others, but if he doesn’t that is ok too.

I wanted to get a picture of him wrapped up in a rag as I gently dried him off before taking him back outside. He was cute sitting in my hand all wrapped up with his eyes closed. He did not have a care in the world as I cleaned him up.

It just reminded me as I held that chick that the Bible tells us to be good caretakers of our animals. That is what I did today and what I will do everyday I have animals. God has blessed me with the animals and livestock in my care, it is my responsibility to make the best choices for them that I can. I get a lot of joy from my animals and the farm, despite the expenses, the late nights, early mornings, hard days, all of it is my job right now. I enjoy everyday I get to spend with them!

Lost in Thought

Th past few days, I have neglected to post. Not because I did not want to, or because nothing has been going on at the farm, quite the opposite in fact, but because once again my thoughts are almost overwhelming. Just been a lot to take in lately let alone absorb and mull over.

I started to post about the sermon Sunday. It was a beautiful sermon on the cross. Very appropriate with Easter approaching, as well as very fitting. The cross as awful as it was, was essential and vital for us to live! The greatest part of that is that Jesus is no longer o that cross, He is living again, interceding for you and for me. Giving us the freedom from our sins and the opportunity to live in heaven! What a blessing! I hope that you think about that the next few days as you are ceebrating Easter with your famillies.

Monday brought another full day. I helped a buddy with ongoing renovations in a house that he is flipping. I always learn when I am able to go help. This time I helped lay subtype flooring, staple up plastic and frame in a closet. For my help, hebrought me a barrel, which I needed for my chickens and gave me a scrap piece of PVC pipe to fix my waterer with! Expanding my knowledge in carpentry with hands on work is the best way to learn. I get to run power tools as I help work on the house, which has prepared me for several projects here on the farm.

The weather this weeken was beautiful! And I took advantage of it by riding the boys. Jim worked better than Bart the past couple days, and I think it is due to having time off. Jim is a lot more seasoned and I think Bart just needs more consistant work for a couple weeks and he will be right where I want him. I am so excited about this race season, I came home from work today and was looking at shows and schedules.

Then there is the chicks, which are growing of course! They turn 2 weeks old tomorrow. I will try to get pictures tomorrow for my next post, however, the meat birds are nearly twice the size of the pullets. The meat cockrels fill my hand when I pick them up! They are still cute yellow fuzz balls and are enjoying their more spacious area back outside since the weather is warmer.

Several things starting to come together. I have a place selected for the garden, just need to start preparing the ground. There is a good bit of clean up that needs done, a few things that need moved out of the way and then to prepare the soil. I have a good dea of what I want to grow. Hoping to start making progress on that soon.

So many things running through my mind the past few days, been nearly impossible to sort them out, but little by little, one day at a time, I inch toward my goals.

Cold Night Ahead

Temperatures in Ohio have dropped all day and will continue tonight. The change in temperature affects all livestock. The horses get fresher, the hens were acting like hooligans tonight, the ducks still did not want to go into the coop. Bernie, the littler brown duck walked up the ramp and halfway in the henhouse only to change her mind and turn around. I don’t understand, but as long as she is happy.

The change in temperature brought the babies back inside. This time in the living room, and my mom is being a good sport despite her dislike of baby chicks in her living room. I do not think they would have been warm enough even with the heater running constantly outside. So, Dad told me to bring them in the living room, and even helped me bring them in!

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They seem to be content so far in their stock tank brooder. The thermometer is reading 90 steadily, so that is right where it is supposed to be this week. The challenging part about this brooder compaed to being outside is the waterer. Outside I have a 3 gallon top fill waterer. Easy! But it does not fit in the tank and give the chicks any room, so it stays outside. When the chicks are inside, I use a 1 gallon gravity fed waterer that you flip over to fill. It makes such a mess, but it is only for a couple days.

With any luck this will be the last cold snap for the season and they can go outside for good. I want to do what is best for them, even if it means a little more work for me. They are growing strong and healthy! Means I am doing something right.

I get so much enjoyment from my little farm. Watching and listening to the animals play and talk to one another is so interesting to me. The donkey, Pete, talks all the time. He tells you if you happen to be five minutes late to feed.

Last night Dad and I were finishing the roof on the coop and Roy was perched on the roost when I went inside to help dad adjust the placement of the pieces. He watched me out of one eye, as he knew I was tempted to pick him up and hold him. He did not want to be bothered, at all. So, at first I obliged him and left him alone. When I had to go inside a second time to adjust another piece, the temptation was too great. I lifted him from the roost and held him gently stroking his neck and back as I carried him outside to show dad. Roy just watched me. It was very clear he was not enjoying being a pet rooster, but he has a nice enough personality he let me hold and pet him. I did not keep him long, before returning him to his coop. I just enjoyed him for a few minutes, my rooster, that I raised and watch everyday. He is such a nice boy! I can’t wait for more days ahead just enjoying the time with my animals!

Farmer Thoughts Today

Last week, I watched a college friend eager with excitement that her long awaited, and overdue foal was coming. She soon realized that she had major problems and ended up loosing foal and momma both.

I have been asked for pics of my chicks, so I am including one with this post. But there is something I hope you all think about as you see them. The past 2 nights I have gone almost sleepless. Sunday night, I woke up cold myself, and I ran to the bathroom to check on my babies. Of course they were cold too, all huddled in one big ball. I started working, mind you it was 2am. It took me almost an hour to bring the tiny bathroom up to a temperature that was comfortable for them. Then I was up additionally once or twice an hour to check on them and make sure they were not too hot or too cold. Their precious bodies have such a small window of tolerency, and I as their caretaker had the responsibility to ensure they are taken care of.

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I was very blessed all my chicks made it through the night, and the heat bulb was replaced as soon as I realized it was the problem. Everything was fine Sunday night. I was so glad things went well and smoothly, I prepared to move them outside. As I posted yesterday, the chicks did make it outside yesterday with a heater and a heat bulb working together to keep them comfortable.

Last night, I had been asleep roughly half an hour when I was awakened. My dad came to tell me that the power flickered and we had a storm coming. We talked about the best measures to take to keep the chicks warm in the even that the power did go out and I made it back to sleep a bit later. As 1:30 this morning approached, I was startled by rain pounding outside. It sounded as though it was coming down in buckets. I checked my clock, and the power was on, but there was no way I could go to sleep wondering if it was going to stay on or if I would be needed to tend to the chicks.

I have said all that to say this, farming is not an easy job. Livestock management is no easy task, as tough decisions must sometimes be made and death on a farm is dealt with all too often. The lightbulb I replaced let me loose a couple chicks, and unfortunately, I held 2 in my hand when they took their last breath. Some say it is just a chicken, or it is just a horse, or a dog, or whatever the case may be. I have lost all of the above listed. The bottom line is it is life, and life is precious no matter who it belongs to. I cherish everyday I get to spend with those I love, both humans and animals and I really hope you are encouraged to do the same.

One Year Blogging Anniversary!

Today makes it exactly a year since I started my blogging advenure! Just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to my readers and followers! I have learned a lot about this in the past year, and hope that I continue to deliver helpful, encouraging and uplifting posts for you to enjoy. Thank you for your interst in my little farm!

Today is a big day for this shipment of chicks! They moved to their outside coop today. For those of you that are curious as to if it is warm enough outside for that, the answer is no. However, they are under a 250 watt heat bulb and I have a thermostatically controlled ceramic heater that is currently keeping their coop a comfortable 95 degrees just for them. They are grateful for the extra room to run and play as the bathtub was not very roomy for the now 38 chicks. They are already noticably growing! The Super Roaster cockrels are already surpassing their pullet companions and so far everyone is playing nicely.

I would have liked to keep them in the bathroom brooder for a few more days, or maybe even another week, however it was just too much. There are currently 4 of us sharing the same bathroom, and it was absolutely crazy to pull that off with chicks in there. Not to mention for the chicks to be comfortable, 95 degrees was a little warm for the humans of the house.

While we are on the subject, I just want to take a minute and say how awesome my mom is. There was no hesitation when I came dragging the supplies from last year and sat the chick brooder up in the bathtub. She never complained, or fussed or even suggested alternative ideas, only encouraged and supported my endeaver. How many moms do you know that would really encourage their children to move the chicks into the bathroom? Mine did! Not only that, she even suggested turning on an additional heater to make sure they were warm enough. Moms like that are hard to come by and I am just lucky enough to call this one mine!

It was a busy week last week, as many of you saw, and it ended with a busy weekend. Now that it is all over, I look back and realize how much we got done and how many things I was able to mark off of the never ending, and infamous, to-do list. I never could have done it without my family!

Adventures with Millie continue

This morning I received a call from my local Post Office that my chicks were here! Needless to say, I did not think it best to take Miss Millie with me on that errand, so I brought the chicks home and got them settled in to the smaller coop with chick starter, fresh water, and their brooder bulb. I checked on them about an hour later, only to realize they were too cold. Bathroom brooder here we come!

I quickly dig out the smaller feeders and waterer along with the tote and got my lil guys set up in the bathtub. It did not take them long to settle in and decide the bathroom brooder was much better than the chicken coop.

When I was confident they were warm enough and taken care of, I ran the rest of my errands.  As soon as I grabbed my boots and coat, Millie was ready! I had not originally planned on taking her to town with me today, but it did not take much persuasion for me to let her ride along.

Our first stop was the local farm store of course. It stormed this morning, and still was as I started in to town. With horse feed to pick up, I was in need of a tarp. In addition to my tarp, I picked up 2 thermometers for the chicks so that I can better monitor the temperature in the brooder, be it in the bathroom or in the coop.

It was still raining, so I elected to return the screws that I picked up at the hardware store the other day that I ended up not needing. Millie waited patiently in the truck for the few minutes it took me to return the hardware. She is always glad to see me, but at least today she was not trying to climb out the window as she was yesterday.

Finally, our last stop was the feedmill  where I got my horse feed for the next few weeks. My older heeler, Wrangler used to ride with me just about every time I went to the mill. I was glad to get to take Millie with me this time. It was nice to purchase a pig ear for her, like I used to every trip for Wrangler. One of the guys on the dock was nice enough to help me load my batch of feed, and he asked about her. I let her out of the truck and she stayed close as I answered the couple questions he asked. Millie jumped right back up in the truck and I gave her the pig ear before I brought her back home.

No sooner did I make it in the door from unloading feed than mom told me the feed dealer from town had called and my pullets were in. So, back in the truck I got to pick them up. I brought home my 15 Ameracana pullets and introduced them to the Super Roasters, which were fast friends.

Once everyone was settled, I decided I needed to finish the barn chores that I did not get done yesterday. Of course, Millie came right back to the barn with me and played while I stripped the rest of the stalls. She would venture around the barn and then come back in and check on me every few minutes. I absolutely loved watching and spending time with the new chicks today, but even more than that, I enjoyed getting to spend time with my girl. It has not taken her long to become part of my family and hold a special place in my heart!

Little Moments

I have had the luxury of being on vacation this week. I enjoy my job thoroughly most days, but the past few mornings here at the farm have been wonderful. It reminds me how much I look forward to being able to spend more mornings on the farm someday.

Mornings have always been my favorite part of the day, many of my friends have thought for a long time I am crazy because of this. When I was in school, I enjoyed spending mornings in the barn before I started work, and today was no different. This morning was a little harder getting started, I was still a little stiff from yesterday, but the morning dawned clear and I had a lot I wanted to accomplish.

The promised rain for today had not started yet, so I started my morning by working both boys! I have no doubt that is the best way to start any morning! Jim wanted to play before he worked, but he completed his workout without too much complaining. Bart was full of energy also, but he made nice circles and rode pretty well. I always feel better after I ride and today was no exception.

Had a couple errands to run this morning, and decided to take Miss Millie with me! We surprised my coworker which was a lot of fun before going to the farm store and the lumber yard. When we got home, I got the coop ready and Millie came outside while I painted in the chicken coop.

I heard water splashing while I was in the barn cleaning stalls and looked out to see Millie in an old cooler that I used to use as a water trough. When she got out I dumped it, but my girl enjoyed playing in water several times today. Trying to give her a bath you would never know that she liked water!

Yesterday as dad and I were working on the chicken coop, the white duck, Bonnie, was playing in the puddle beside the barn. I watched her for several minutes dunk her head, then her tail, flap her wings, and just enjoy the water.

As I was seeding the pasture field yesterday, Millie was outside with me. She explored the treeline and the pasture field and finally ventured into Pete’s lot. I looked up to see her trotting through his area where he is turned out and I thought to myself, ‘This is going to be interesting.’ Sure enough Pete saw her and came toward her ears up, almost frollicking across the lot. As he got closer, his ears pinned back and his head came down. He did not like her in his lot at all. Millie scurried under the fence as low and as quickly as she could. I laughed as she darted under the fence.

I was thinking today, about these little moments on the farm just this week. Listening to the rooster crow while I was having breakfast the other day, the duck and Millie playing in the water, the donkey telling me I was running late getting the evening feeding started. All those moments that I do not take the time to think about, or to cherish. I loved each and every one through this week.

Part of my focus has been to make more memories, this week not only am I making more memories, but I am enjoying as many little moments as I possibly can!

Happy Wednesday!

Wow what a day! I always know it is a good day when I am totally bushed with a sore back. Stayed busy today and got a lot done, was even able to make memories with my Dad and made progress with Millie. My day was full, but totally enjoyed.

Millie has been having a hard time with housebreaking unfortunately. This morning she did very well and we did not have a single mess in the house all day! She spent a lot of time outside with me while I was working, but she did pretty well with listening while she was out with me. She even got to play with Pete for a minute! As he chased her across the lot where he was turned out.

The goal for today was to expanfd the chicken coop. Dad helped me, and we worked together to get it done. The coop is now 8×8 and except for paint and a roof, is totally ready for years of service. As I am writing I hear the birds singing and chattering with each other. I just enjoyed being on the farm today. While i was out working with Dad, the little white duck, Bonnie, played in a puddle down by the barn. I watched as she thoroughly enjoyed dipping her head then her body and splahing around.

Millie went out with me while I finished seeding bare spots in the field. She roamed the field and wandered in with Pete who decided would be fun to chase her. Millie did not agree and needless to say did not stay in with him long!

When dad and I were finished for the night, we came in and were eating dinner. Pete started carrying on because I was late to feed tonight. I was going to ride this evening, but worked later than I originally planned. Wonder what Pete would have said if I was another hour later?

Several things marked off my list today. Several more to accomplish before my vacation is over. Just taking one day at a time and enjoying as many little things as I can. I am looking forward to the chicks arriving tomorrow! As well as finishing the roof on the coop over the next few days and getting to ride more. So many things to enjoy!

Productive Weekend

The weather in Ohio this weekend was beautiful and I spent a good bit of time outside! There is always plenty to do on the farm, and when you get the weather to do it, all the more reason to jump in with both feet.

I have plans as I have mentioned, to put out a garden this year, and raise meat chickens. Our family freezer is on the small side, so I have been starting to look for one. I was lucky enough to find a used one that I picked up this weekend. My brother in law helped me get it unloaded and put into the basement, so that was one thing off the list!

I put the first coat of paint on the short chicken coop a week or so ago, but the weather this weekend was too nice to stay inside, so I finished up the second coat in order to continue getting it ready for chicks to arrive this week! There was another thing off the list! On my way home from work, I stopped at the local farm store and picked up a few things for the chicks. A bag of fresh shavings and a heat bulb were on the list.

So I got home, dawned some old work clothes and went to work. I took out the 3 nesting boxes that were on the floor for the ducks, since the ducks no longer go in there. Then i got a shovel and I scraped and cleaned all the old manure out. Finally I spread the clean shavings out so that the chicks have a fresh and clean place to sleep.

I decided it best since I was already dirty, to go ahead and clean out my henhouse. Boy that was a dirty job! It is done now though. Wednesday begins the expansion to the henhouse so that when the 15 pullets are ready, so is the henhouse.

All the chicks are due to arrive in 3 days, and my goal is to have everything ready when they get here! Want the babies to have a cozy comfy place to relax and grow. Can not wait for them to arrive!