I am so excited to announce that we have baby chicks joining the homestead! I love that sweet sound they make. There are two main sounds; one is a calm chirping kind of chatty sound, that says;” I am good. Everything is good. I am secure. All is well with my world.” Then the other sound is an alarm call, which is surprisingly LOUD. This call says, “Where is everybody? I am in trouble, or at least I think I am. MAMA! My whole world has been turned upside down! HELP!” I am going to have to include a video so you can see for yourselves. Video included at end!
If you are not allowed to have chickens in your city, then I am so so sorry. Here is a link to a very determined, smart young lady who took her city on legally. She worked social media for support, concerning her chicken ban and won! See her story here.
If you have put down roots, and really want chickens, then you might be just the person to change the ridiculous and outdated laws in your city. If you live under the oppressive rule of an HOA then my recommendation is to move as quick as you can. If you live under both, well then honey get the hell out of there! If it will help spur you on, you can come visit my egg laying divas whenever you want. They are a beautiful group of girls to be sure and their eggs are divine.
I have to say raising a feisty group of feathered girls is amazing. However, when I first got them I had a different expectation of what it would mean to be The Crazy Chicken Lady. Yes, they call me that. I don’t care. In fact, I embrace it! Hey, I never claimed to be sane. The neighborhood kids called me that until I turned my whole front yard into a garden. Now they probably call me The Crazy Garden Lady. The Crazy Urban Farmer would be more appropriate, thank you very much! Here is a link to an article I wrote at the very beginning of my adventure with chickens; A few things about chickens I wish I had known BEFORE I got them! It will give you a realistic idea of what it means to have your own flock.
Let me just stop here to answer one of the most frequently asked questions I get as a Crazy Urban Farmer. NO, CHICKENS DO NOT NEED A ROOSTER TO LAY EGGS! Don’t feel bad, I asked the same thing. I am a city girl after all. The other misconception, that would be chicken owners have, is that they are going to get eggs from their chicken pets forever. No, sadly your beloved chicken will only lay reliably for about 3 years. After that it is your decision whether to keep your girls, eggs or no eggs, or to move on with new chicks.
For those of you who are allowed to have chickens, here is a peak into my chick raising set up. I keep a few composite scrap boards in my garage for 2 of the walls of my brooder. I go every few years to a home improvement store for the other two boards. What I am trying to get at here is, you can use any old scrap of plywood to make this. Once I have my boards screwed together in a 3 x 4′ area, I need a heat source to keep my baby chicks warm, we are talking 95 degrees warm. I know! Simulating the cover of mama’s wings is not easy! Basically you need a warm place for the chicks to get under and a place that they can get away from the heat if need be. One end of my brooder has the heat and the other is for the chicks to cool their jets if you will. I put my food and water in the middle. The place where you purchase your chicks should have heat lamps, bulbs, feeders and waterers to help you get started.
There is always the question, What do you do at night? Yes, having that bright heated bulb burning down on the chicks 24/7 is not good for them. They sell a red bulb at most feed stores, which you can screw into your lamp at night. This reduces the stress of that bright light on the chicks, but still provides life giving warmth. If you are like me and have a son, who loves all living creatures including reptiles, then you have a ceramic heat lamp. This device was purchased for a bearded dragon, which heaven help me I am soooo glad has moved on. Her name was Lizzy and she required the regular purchase of crickets for her well being. Crickets are loud at night, just sayin. She also required a weekly bath in which to soak up needed hydration. She would always get all relaxed in the bath and let her bowels loose, which resulted in a disinfecting of the bathtub before the human 3 year old could climb in for a wash. The day Lizzy passed, I had to comfort my 10 yr old and then go do a happy dance in the privacy of my closet. There will be a time when every teenager questions the love you have for him. Oh, child, the purchasing of crickets, cleaning the bathtub, buying ceramic heat lamps so that you could come to me one day and say, “Mom I think I would like to raise exotic animals in a zoo.” That my son is love at it’s finest! Any hoo, fast forward a few years and I have a ceramic heat lamp for my chicks. Who saw that coming?
No matter what you choose, you are going to have to learn a boy scout knot in order to be successful. Hang with me here, we can do this. I call it the slippy up and down knot, but I am sure my boys have a much more sophisticated name for it. The point is, your heat source is tied to it, so up it goes when you want cooler temps and down it goes when you want warmth. I hang it from the rafters of my garage and plug it into my handy garage door opener electric outlet. My garage door no longer goes up and down at all, but that is a whole other story. Teenagers, wish they could fix things as quick as they break them or at least earn the money for someone else to fix them!
Just in case you don’t have a boy scout handy here is a tutorial on how to do this handy knot: Two half hitch knot video For me the rule was to crack the garage door in the day time and turn on/lower the heating device at night, but I am in Dallas Texas so it is pretty warm here. I am changing up a few things this year.
I will let you watch the video below to find out the things I am doing differently this time around, which includes fermenting my chick starter feed. Or if you just need your daily dose of cuteness watch and listen. Enjoy!