Category Archives: Chicks

Saturday at the Farm

Saturday was a productive day. We accomplished several projects at the farm.

Blueberry Patch

We made great progress in the blueberry patch – a project that we had been working on for a few days. Our soil at the farm is mostly clay and despite working straw and other composted materials into it each year we have yet to turn it into an ideal garden loam. This year we decided to add some sand to the soil. A couple of weeks ago my husband had a truckload of masonry sand delivered.

We decided to use some of the sand in the blueberry patch for weed control. Two years ago we put black plastic down between the rows and bushes and while it was largely effective in keeping weeds down it tended to slide out of place or was easily moved by a hunting dog, (Ranger) who had picked up the scent of a mouse hiding under the plastic. (He is relentless.) Water also tended to pool on the plastic creating puddles that took a long time to dry up. After putting the plastic back in place we covered it with several inches of sand.

The blueberry patch project is not completely finished as we still need to put up the plastic fencing around it and the netting on top to protect our crop from hungry robins. We hopefully will get that done this week.

Planting

We put our first plants in the garden on Saturday.

My husband had identified an area that was dry enough to till the soil and that is where we decided to plant potatoes and cabbage – both cool weather crops.

He broke out the rototiller he bought a couple months ago. It is a Champion 19-inch, rear tine, tiller. After tilling up the patch where we would plant the potatoes and cabbage he reported that he is very pleased with the way this machine preforms. We spread a layer of sand on the patch. He then mixed it in as he tilled the area.

We planted six 17-foot rows of of potatoes.

and 12 cabbage plants.

I saved some of the cabbage plants to plant in the raised beds we are making. Since the ground is still very wet, and still having much rain in the forecast, I’m not sure how well things will do that are planted in the ground. You may remember last year we had many vegetables that were lost because the ground was just too wet. This year we will be making some raised beds and I hope to plant at least a portion of some crops in the raised beds that will be better able to drain excess water.

When the Hen’s Away

The chicks will play. The chicks still sleep in the nest boxes at night, while the older chickens sleep on the roosts. During the day while the older hens are out of the coop or using the nest boxes for laying their eggs, the chicks like to spend some time playing on the roosts. Perhaps they are practicing for when they too are old enough to sleep on the roosts at night.

Breathtaking

From a distance to forsythias create a stunning array.

But standing in the midst of their intense brilliance is mesmerizing.

I forget to breathe.

If only my photos could capture that feeling.

Thanks for visiting.

Moving Day and More

Hello and welcome!

Tuesday afternoon the sun came out and the weather warmed up. It was a good day to move the chicks to the farm.

My husband had set up this small, temporary enclosure near the coop. The sides are made with 24-inch chicken wire to keep the chicks in and then netting is put over the top to keep overhead predators out.

He gave them food and water and left the crate in case they needed shelter.

They seemed happy.

He also sectioned off a small area inside the coop for them to spend their nights. (I didn’t get a picture of that.)

Ranger (on the other side of the pen) was quite curious about them. I’m sure he still does not realize that these critters will grow into chickens like the ones that roam around the farm. After being told to leave the babies alone and that he could not get in their enclosure he decided to move on.

He knew there was a rabbit hiding in the rock pile, so he spent a lot of the afternoon trying to flush that bunny.

You should see how fast that tail is wagging.

Despite his best efforts the rabbit stayed put.

The cabbage seedlings that my husband started a few weeks back are doing well. Since it’s too early for planting we put them in bigger pots and then put them in the small hoop house my husband set up (sorry I didn’t get a picture of the hoop house).

Other seedlings were started a bit later than the cabbage but are most, if not all, have sprouted.

They include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, parsley, petunias and believe it or not stinging nettle. I have been trying to establish a stinging nettle bed for some years now but for some reason the few plants I have do not spread. This year I purchased some seed and will start a bed in a new location. If you think I’ve lost my mind you can check out this article which explains both the nutritional and medicinal benefits of nettle. They are a very healthy herb.

These seedlings will remain in the house for a while yet while they continue to grow and temperatures continue to warm up.

I did a bit of clean up in the prayer garden on Tuesday. Our daffodils and other flowers are taking their time. No flowers yet, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. We often get late spring frosts and freezes which can be detrimental to anything that flowers early.

While I am awaiting the first blooms of spring, I am thrilled that the geranium that I over-wintered in my living room has begun to blossom.

Its bright pink flowers make me smile.

Thanks for visiting.

Spreading Their Wings

We moved the chicks to their new dwelling on Monday. Having raised chicks several times over the last 10 years we knew it was time for the upgrade, or stage two as we’ve called it in the past. Being in the stock tank is fine when they are very young, but eventually, within a couple of weeks, they begin getting curious and more active. We see them craning their necks – wondering what is up and out there. They also begin using their wings to fly up and sit on top of their feed or water dishes. Past experience has taught us that before long they will fly up to the top rim of the stock tank, and from there the sky is the limit (or they could get into some serious trouble anyway). These chicks are just too young to be out exploring the world on their own – that will come in due time.

Chicks 2018

For stage two we set up this hutch where we can still keep them contained, but they have a view of the outside world. The lid assures that they can’t fly out, and we put a roost inside because even at this age they like to roost. Since the weather is still too chilly for these chicks to be comfortable outside, we covered it with a large piece of canvas and set up the heat lamp inside. This provides sufficient heat to keep these young ones alive and well.

White Jersey Giant and Black Jersey Giant Chicks 2022

The chicks first huddled together under the heat lamp.

Wing feathers grow in first then tail feathers begin to come in next

Before long they began to explore.

The roosting instinct begins early
Curious about the outside world

The chicks are now content in their new digs where they will spend the next few weeks while their feathers grow in and the weather warms up.

Thanks for visiting and Happy Spring! 🙂

New Arrivals

This morning my husband received a call from the farm store – the shipment of black Jersey giant chicks was in. He was soon on his way to pick up our six chicks.

When we put the new ones in the brooder, the chicks we brought home on Friday no longer looked so tiny.

Though only a few days older the white Jersey giants are about double the size of the black ones.

It was interesting to watch them get acquainted.

The bigger birds kept pecking the beaks of the smaller ones.

I’m not sure what they were saying, just establishing the pecking order perhaps.

Ranger also wanted to get acquainted. I am sure he has no idea that these little things will someday become part of the flock he has become so friendly with at the farm.

I dipped all the beaks in their water and these little ones were eating and drinking within an hour of being in their new home. We now have this year’s dirty dozen.

Six Chicks (Something to Make You Say Aww)

We decided we would like to add more Jersey giant hens to our flock this year. Our second choice was buff orpingtons. We like both breeds but have found the Jersey giants to be a bit more cold-tolerant than the buffs.

When my husband went to the farm store Friday to see what breed of chicks they had in stock he did not find the black Jersey giants like we already have. They also did not have any buff orpingtons. They did have some white Jersey giants and told him they would be getting some black Jersey giants sometime this coming week. We decided we would get 6 white Jersey giants and he would return this week to get 6 of the black.

I would guess they were only 1 or 2 days old when he brought them home. Other than peeping, all they wanted to do was huddle under the heat lamp to stay warm.

Even though I dipped their beaks in the water, they ignored their water and food and pretty much stayed in their huddle.

The following morning, after I again dipped their beaks in the water and showed them their food, they began eating and drinking.

We discovered the smallest of the group had pasty butt (dried feces stuck to its butt). We had to soak it a few of times in warm water in order to remove all of the feces. If not taken care of that condition can quickly become deadly for the chick. Thankfully this little fluff ball seems to be doing well.

Thanks for visiting.