Happy Thursday everyone! In our last post we mentioned plans of adding to our homestead. Yesterday, we were fortunate enough to add 12, one day old baby chicks giving us a new total of 20! That’s right, 20 baby chicks all growing in our basement making themselves right at home.
Sunday, will be two weeks since adding our first batch of 8 and boy have they grown. I’ve never had the opportunity to assist with growing chickens during the early stages, actually not at all. So this has been an amazing learning experience. Austin, uncertain if I’d be able to accomplish such a task was surprised when my instinct kicked in. Admiring their spunk and cuteness, he made me aware that they do go through a ‘ugly phase’. Me being me, I have a hard time believing such a thing.
He explained to me the purpose of a brooder, as we set up a area for these little babes. We laid out a 70 gallon water trough filled with shavings along with a feeder holding Green Mountain Organic Non-GMO starter feed, as well as a waterer that contained ‘Magic Water’ which I made right in our kitchen. Magic water – warm water added with honey, chopped garlic cloves and apple cider vinegar, is suppose to aid with building and maintaining the immune system. Thank you Mr. Justin Rhodes (Abundant Permaculture) for such information. I’ll post the receipt below.
After gathering this batch, I knew raising these beautiful creatures is what made me happy. It all clicked. Sitting at our dinner table, I was certain that we needed to add more, but played the side of caution. Originally, our goal was 32 laying hens. That has now decreased to 20, giving us the final total of hens for this year. With this being our first year building our homestead, we didn’t want to go over board and get too crazy. There was still plenty for us to learn and raising chickens was one of the things Austin knew lots about. I, on the other hand still have quite a bit to learn.
Wednesday morning, we woke up with the sun bright and early. Had ourselves some breakfast and out the door we went with both boys (Hunter & Mack). It was our goal to be at Agway (our local feed and supple store) as early as possible to avoid missing out on the chicks. Arriving around 8:30, we walked around gathering a few more supplies noticing there were no chirping sounds. According to one of the staff members, they had not received a call from the post office – pick up was scheduled for 7am. It wasn’t until 9:30 when we made contact with our new flock members – Rhode Island Reds. Only a day old, these tiny things of light dusty brown/red color showed great personality.
Why did we choose this breed you ask? Rhode Island Reds are known as a heritage breed, developed in the late-19th century. They are cold hardy and have the capability of withstanding extreme temperatures. They’re also known for being dual purpose – egg laying and delicious tasting in a stew, so they say. To us this was a win, win. As far as production, this breed is exceptional, laying roughly 250-300 large brown eggs annually. That’s 3,000 eggs a year combined.
During the ride home, these chicks were verbal making their presence known. With they’re brooder all set up with fresh magic water in place and a clean bed of shavings, they were introduced to their new temporary home putting they’re beaks one by one into the water. Just like any other living thing, chickens have a tendency of becoming stressed with transport and new environments. These babes however did not show signs, nibbling down feed and even attempting to take a swim in their waterer. In two weeks, our newest members will be introduced to the Black Sex-Links where they will be kept together. I’ll keep y’all posted!
|Magic Water Receipt:|
1 gallon warm water
1/2 cup honey (we use local)
2 TBS apple cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves
Collect warm water
Add your ingredients
Stir together & serve
*give this for the 1st two weeks
of the chicks lives, when there is a
sick chicken and once a week to