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Tuesday
Oct212014

First Time Out

When the chicks were about three weeks old we decided to take them outside for the first time (while I was busy scrubbing out the brooder). We have a small outdoor pen we had used for our dog when she was a puppy that I pulled out of storage to accommodate the chicks and keep them safe (although we soon learned they could squeeze out the bars). At first the girls crowded together, initially I thought they might be too chilly (despite the 80+ degree weather) since they were huddled together so tightly, but after a few minutes they slowly started to poke around.

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Tuesday
Oct212014

Cleaning the Brooder

I am sure you have noticed a theme here; the baby chicks are awesome, wonderful little ladies full of cuteness and adventure. However they are messy. Keeping on top of the mess is the only way to make this little experiment pleasant possible.

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Monday
Oct202014

Where to Keep the Chicks

We had a hard time deciding where to put out little ladies. Our storage room? The guest room? Maybe on our back porch? All of these ideas had merit but also cons, in the storage room they had plenty of places to hide if they got out. The guest room would be very uncomfortable for guests when they visit. The back porch, while enclosed, would be either too hot or too cold depending on the day. In the end we sacrificed the children's play room in the basement to become baby chick headquarters.

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Tuesday
Oct142014

Bedding in the Brooder

Amazingly I have read all kinds of things regarding brooder bedding, the stuff the chickens, walk on, sleep on, oh and poop on. I have now tried several kinds of bedding as well. There is a ton of information about brooder bedding online and all of it seems to contradict one and other. Of course I wanted something free, but apparently newspaper can cause problems with the chicks legs and feet, because it is slick. Some sites suggested hey, some the eco friendly paper type of stuff, and other pine shavings.

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Monday
Oct132014

Budget Friendly Brooder

I am frugal. I ultimately picked our chickens based on cost. It should come as no surprise that I didn't order a complete brooder kit. Not only do I want to avoid wasting money, but I think it is important and more sustainable to reuse what you already have. There are several plans on the internet and in the books I checked out of the library to build brooder boxes. We have some wood on hand and I could always hunt out heat treated pallets if I needed more, but even building something from the ground up seemed wasteful. All you really need is a draft free secure space, where you can regulate the temperature.  I saw pictures of brooders made out of wading pools and fish tanks, but I didn't have anything like that on hand. I wandered my house a few times while trying to think of what I could use to make a brooder.

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