The Farm*Homestead*Garden Blog

All things farm, garden, homestead related from the Catsndogs4us family.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Two chicks for Miss Silkie

On October 5th, to our amazement, Mama Silkie hatched one of her eggs! I didn't think anything would come of this because she rather randomly collected eggs and was so young. She had 6 eggs total and on October 10th a second one hatched! The two chicks look completely different. We know they are half silkie because we let her sit on only silkie eggs but the roosters are of three different breeds.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The chicken coop

A few people have asked me about our chicken coop and the easiest way to show the progression seemed to be to do a blog post.

The coop is actually a shed kit from Lowes, you do have to buy flooring separately. Our order was 1 shed kit and 6 sheets of sub flooring.

Other materials that we needed to buy were vinyl flooring, 2 by 4's for roosting bars, nest boxes, a ceiling vent and several small round vents. Also one more window.

First step was to level the ground and put down cement blocks since the coop will be raised. The ducks enjoyed any part pf the process that involved digging and moving dirt, someone to find the worms for them!
Then we put down the floor a double layer of the sub flooring, 3 sheets per layer with a frame in between. Followed by assembling the walls, usually one of 4 kids in the family was called in to help hold up walls of pass tools as my youngest son Tristan is shown here.

 Then the roof went on, we had to buy shingles, they were not included.
Vents, some of them look like this:

A silkie was sized for roosting

Then everyone checked it our, ducks, chickens, kids....

Finally it was babies first night in the coop and I was nervous and barred the door with bricks but they did fine.

Because they were getting so big they moved in before the shingles were on and finishing touches were done. The birds enjoyed watching the building process and took advantage of ladders and such. They LOVE being under the coop on hot days, I'm so glad we made it a raised coop even though it's large.

The ducks have a section which at first was a large dog kennel on one side, this is still in the process of being finished off so they have their own little part (so they don't get the coop all wet at night, all the birds do fine together in the daytime and outdoors).

We've changed the roosting bars and added nest boxes, plus interior walls.

We added a second window and a pop door to the back fenced area. They have about 110' of 6' chain link for their secure area, it has been buried, reinforced with hardware cloth (more is being added)  and is in the process of having netting added to the roof. Their limited free range is much larger and is only secured by 4' welded wire fencing but a goal is to continue buying 6' chain link and replacing welded wire as we can afford and time allows so their limited free range will be bigger and more secure.

The chickens and ducks seem happy with their coop and runs and so far it is keeping them safe. We will continue to change and improve it as we can. I think this coop is great because there is room for this rather adorable next generation too.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Old, New and Maybe

The vegetable gardens are getting to the old, worn out stage, except for late crops. I still got a good amount of beans, enough for today's dinner, from the straggly end of season plants but most of what we'll harvest now will be late season crops like carrots, beets, some greens and winter squash.

The new chicks are continuing to do very well. I am so pleased with this group of chicks. Love to hear them peeping away and see them eating, drinking and playing. Tomorrow we'll move from paper towel bedding to pine shavings.

The older chickens are laying even more regularly now, a lot of our breeds have an average start to lay date of 20 weeks old and as they turned 20 weeks old today many new layers sounded their egg song. One hen even used the real nest boxes, after Hayley placed her there.

I had plenty of eggs to use in making this week's variation of dog and cat food. The ducks continue to be prolific and we got small cream eggs to large dark brown eggs and even a speckled one from the chickens.

As for the maybe, we candled the silkie eggs today, it would be day 10 for 4 of the 6 eggs and I just don't think I'm seeing baby chicks growing in there. It may be my untrained eye or if may be the eggs are not fertile. A broody silkie will sit either way, she just lives in hope, I suppose!

Candleing the silkie eggs on day 10.

Day 10 and still the silkie sits on her eggs.