Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Let this be a Lesson...

To all the newbies out there, do not underestimate the importance of temperature control. When the experts say that new chicks need the temp to be 95 degrees, they ain't playin'!

We had a mild fluctuation in temperature on Saturday night, I believe it dropped into the upper 40's.
And although we had the heat lamp on the chicks all night, the early morning temp just got to low for the poor things.
I think about 8 died due to them piling on one another for heat, well the ones on the bottom became over heated and crushed essentially.
We've added a heater to the shed to make sure it stays nice and toasty and purchased another thermometer to keep an eye on the temp.
Now, two days later they seem to be doing very well! And growing at a crazy rate!

Ill snap a pic tomorrow with the ruler to show how much they have changed in just a matter of days!

We also are now able to just put wood shavings in as their bedding with nothing atop, they have finally stopped trying to eat the stuff!

So with approximately 40 left, we keep on and hope we do not lose any more.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


We lost one today. My older two girls were quite upset, but we again explained how this is part of the process. Plus one day in about 8-10 weeks from now, they must all meet their fate anyhow.
Im not sure what the problem was with the little chick, but the others seem to be doing well enough.

You can learn loads about life while farming that's for sure.

The chicks were acting a bit lethargic, I think they may of been a little too warm perhaps.
We must get a thermometer to get an accurate reading of the temp in their little home.
Its a beautiful day here in East Texas. 80 I believe, so maybe between the outdoor temp and the heat lamp it got a little stuffy in there.

We know that we could lose some more chicks, but never the less its disappointing when one dies.

Im sure that there are many people who are very aware of how NOT in control we are as humans. Farmers are surely one of them;-)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day 2 and First Night

I slept in this morning, which is a rarity.
So 2 of my girls, who are 9 and 6 yrs old, took care of the chicks. Changed the bedding out and gave them fresh water and more food.
This is the beauty of farming, children can be a functional and valued part of the operation.
They, of course, were reminded to wash their hands thoroughly afterwards.

All the chicks have survived thus far. We expect to lose some but are hopeful.
We put down burlap instead of newspaper on top of the litter.
The newspaper can be slippery under their feet and cause the chicks to become spraddle legged.

All look healthy so far!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 1, the chicks have arrived!

Everybody has to start somewhere when working towards a goal.

Our goal- to have a Family Farm. I believe there is many ways to start a farm and many different kinds of farms.
This is ours.
Right now we live on a large city lot.
Our first mission on our farm is to raise some meat birds. 50 to be exact. Here I will share the process of taking chicks and raising them to become dinner!
We chose to order our chicks from Ideal Poultry. As they are the closest poultry hatchery to us. We promptly picked them up from the post office.
Once home we put them in their new temporary home for the next 4 weeks. Their home is a horse trough from Atwoods, 150 gal I believe, lined with wood shavings, then news paper on top of that. A heat lamp is attached at one end of their home, to allow them to move away from the heat if they need to.
As I took each chick out of the shipping box they arrived in, I carefully dipped their little beaks in their water, then their food. My children are beyond excited about this adventure.
My daughter did ask if we could name them, but I told her no. They know that these cute fuzzy little creatures are destined for the dinner table. We do already have two hens who bless us with an egg a day that we have named and consider them to be pets. And we also have a loyal and gentle dog, Molly, who is a part of our family. The children have their pets, these chicks are not that.
A quick note on the water and food. We purchased electrolyte powder to add to their water and chick starter for their food.
On nice days when the sun is shining and it is nice, we plan on moving them outside to soak up some sun.

I looking forward to writing more about this adventure and I do hope someone will read this and be encouraged to take a hands on step towards self sufficiency and food production.