Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chicks in the City

The carrots and lettuces are finally up. That’s the Romaine we sowed from seed on 2/22/09.

And the radishes and onions are doing well.

While the weather has been fairly awful all weekend, at least it’s raining. I planted more carrots and lettuce this morning in the rain (and 42 degrees). Marley joined me for a while in his new rain coat, but it was too cold for him, and he finally settled for watching me perched on the back of the couch where he could watch out the back window.

We went by Oakhurst Community Garden (OCG) yesterday and picked up some transplants: broccoli, lettuce (red romaine and oakleaf), collards, which I hadn’t intended to buy—I actually thought we were purchasing cabbage—but once home, in the ground they went. We also bought two additional strawberry plants. I also picked up a bunch of herbs, which I’m planting in pots on the patio.

This afternoon we took a crash course on raising chickens in the city, by the OCG. It was very informative and answered some of our remaining questions. Our instructor Jonathan discussed predators, breed selection, the unattractive “teenage” stage, coop maintenance...

Here’s some of what we learned:
  • If the floor of the chicks’ brooder is slick (e.g., cardboard or newspaper) the chicks can’t get traction and can end up with splayed legs and won’t be able to walk
  • Babies can drown in the their water, so it’s best to use a small bowl with rocks or stones in it
  • You should put the light/heat source in one corner so that the chicks can get away from it if they get too hot; slowing pull the lamp higher until they move away again. Eventually you’ll be able to take the lamp away completely
  • You have to use special chick feed until they are about 14 weeks old
  • Rats love chicken feed (YIKES!!!) so you should keep it in a metal trashcan
  • Vets don’t have any training for treating injuries to chickens
  • Chickens don’t lay eggs before they are 5-6 months old and for only 3-4 years
  • Once the first chicken in your flock lays an egg, the others in the flock will soon lay their eggs; chickens will make a lot of noise when they lay their first egg.
  • If you get a broody hen (one who wants to sit on the eggs until they hatch), you need to remove her from the nesting box

We also got to tour his coop; he has 7 hens and a great coop with electricity for light and a fan in the summer. We are considering purchasing older chicks so that we don’t have to go through having them in the house in a brooder. They aren’t very attractive at this stage as they’ve lost their soft fuzz but all their feathers haven’t come in. Either way, we are waiting until after we build the coop before buying chicks. Mr. Man downloaded plans from the web, which we can modify somewhat to fit our needs, and bought all the wood yesterday. Hopefully next weekend will be sunny so that we can get started.

I’ll post pictures as we go...

No comments:

Post a Comment