Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baby Chicks Coming to Town...

We placed our first, relatively large order, for day old chicks last week. 170 will be coming our way on Jan. 29th. We ordered a diverse flock to start, with several old heritage breeds that are good foragers and layers along with some high production layers. (A big thank you to Peach at Randell Burkey. She worked with us, knowing we are a start-up non-profit farm, and gave us some crucial discounts to help make the purchase possible.)

With all that said we spent all of yesterday getting ready for and setting up the brooder pen. Probably could have finished the whole thing, but I was in bed nearly all weekend only feeling better on Monday. Thank God for a great wife and long weekend! It also helps to have a great mother and father in-law helping us out. We will still need to work on it this coming weekend, adding a door and putting down a protective liner on the floor, but at least we have the structure.

After completion of the brooder pen, we will then turn our attention to gutting out an old Air Stream that "came" with our property. We debated for several years about refurbishing it but when a cotton trailer slipped through our hands at the last minute, we thought this would be a good fit. Plus, nothing to buy and ship to the property, just some back breaking work ahead of us.

This will come just in time for the chickens to get on the property and start working on the grasshopper population. I figure 170 + chickens and ducks will do a number on them and also help get my ground good and fertile before we plant our spring crop. Plus, it is must see "TV".

If you have ever watched chickens chase bugs, you realize why they call them bird brains. They can't just chase a bug and eat it. They chase the bug, grab it with their beak and let all of the other chickens know it's in its mouth. That starts a chase of chickens across the yard, sometimes resulting in the first chicken, the one with the bug, losing it to another. It is some great family fun watching these chickens do their thing.

Along with the chickens, we ordered some layer ducks (Khaki Campbells/Indian Runners). I don't think that is a technical term, but that is what we ordered them for. The layer ducks peaked my curiosity after reading several articles about the egg quality of duck eggs for eating and baking. Check out the chart below. I don't think this is for pastured duck/chicken eggs so you can imagine the nutrient content would be much higher if it was. I think it's time to create a duck egg market in our community.

Picture Source: www.duckeggs.com
"The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore."

–Dale Carnegie


  1. The Heilman family wants to come over to our "next door neighbors" farm (at least thru the woods) and see the chicks when they get here!

  2. Exciting times! Love watching the chickens and the bugs!!! Are you guys using some sort of feather netting once they are in the field? Hope you'll share how it works!

  3. We will be using poultry netting, thanks to our good friends at Kencove. When we bought our property, it "came" with an 1964 Airstream. We are going to gut it and make it the "eggmobile". I will definitely write and take picture during this process. It should be "fun" and "educational".