The Essential Beginners Guide to Backyard Chickens.

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So, you want to raise chickens but you have absolutely no idea where to begin. In this post I will tell you how I began my adventure with raising chickens and show you how to begin your own chicken journey as well.

It was about 10 years ago when I first thought about keeping chickens. I had never had chickens before nor was I raised around them. My grandparents had a farm where they raised produce and pigs. I visited every summer but that was the extent of my country upbringing. I had a pretty good handle on how to garden and grow crops but as to livestock, I had to start from square one.

In a world where we can buy literally everything we need at the store I waned to have a say as to where my food comes from. I wanted to have farm fresh eggs and a garden where I could grow organic produce for my family. I did research on gardening and how to cultivate this hard red clay that we have here in Tennessee into something useful.

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I found through this endeavor that soil conditioning and fertilizer in the form of manure is a good place to start. I also found out that chicken poop in particular is the best from of fertilizer. Chicken as opposed to cow or horse manure does not contain seeds because chickens process everything they eat. Due to their grinding organ, the gizzard all seeds are broken down into usable fuel for a garden. Cow and horses’s on the other hand do not process all the seeds they eat resulting in fertile weed seeds for your garden. So in order to have the homestead and garden that I wanted I had to get chickens. Thus stated the adventure with my backyard divas.

Why do you want chickens?

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If you are reading this blog post you have already decided that you want to get chickens. This is the first and foremost thing to consider before getting your first flock. Keeping backyard chickens is very rewarding with many benefits but they do require daily care and attention. Knowing why you want to dedicate the time and resources required in keeping a backyard flock is very important.

Know your zoning laws.

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Before you even look at coop designs and hatcheries you need to find out what your zoning laws require. Every state has a different zoning law when it comes to livestock. Unlike a cat or dog, there are strict laws concerning pet chickens or as the state views them “livestock”. If you are in the city, if they are allowed, you will be limited to a small number of hens in your backyard, usually 6 or so, omitting roosters. Most city ordinances do not allow roosters per the noise issue.

If you live in the county or country in your particular state then livestock is most likely permitted. But still you need to check your zoning laws to be sure of any and all restrictions. For example, I live in a rural county in East Tennessee. Although I am outside city limits I still have to abide by certain guidelines when keeping livestock. Such as my coops need to be at least 250 feet away from my neighbors front door, my animals must be contained by either a fence or pen attached to their coop, and I need to have a good waste management routine implemented to reduce both varmints and odors that may bother my neighbors. I have meet the requirements of all these stipulations and more. My girls coops are in our backyard which is enclosed by a 6 foot wood privacy fence. Their coops and pens are cleaned and maintained daily and I practice good manure management which aids in both good health for my girls and odor reduction.

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Do your research..Breeds, temperament, disposition.

 

 

This is where you need to ask yourself what kind of chickens do you want? Do you want to keep a flock of chickens for eggs or do you want them for meat for the table?

Do you want to involve your kids in keeping backyard chickens? Do you want to keep them purly for the enjoyment and fun of owning backyard chickens? What temperament do you want in your backyard flock?

These are just a few of the questions to ask yourself. Of course chickens can offer much more then eggs and meat, they can be pets, forms of entertainment and as much of a companion as a family dog. The spectrum is so wide ranging when it comes to chickens that you can literally have your cake and eat it too.

Most people want to have a flock of chickens that are docile and friendly. If kids will be involved with caring for the chickens this is most likely of upmost importance to beginning keepers. Luckily there are many breeds that would fit this bill. I will list a few of the most friendly breeds for you below. I have most of the breeds or have interacted with them at some point and can vouch for these breeds as being very friendly. As with people, chickens have personalities as well, some may not be as friendly as others but when viewed as a whole these breeds will be great choices for a beginning backyard setting.

Buff Orphington

Silkie

Polish

Silver Lace Wyandotte

Australorp

Cochin

Easter Egger

Brahma

Sussex

Faverolles

Leghorns

Rhode Island Reds

Plymouth Rocks

If eggs is what you want some of the best breeds for egg laying are Orphingtons, Australorps, Easter Eggers, Rhode Island Reds, Production Reds, Leghorns and Plymouth Rocks.

As for meat chickens, typically any standard or large duel purpose bird will do. However,   Cornish Crosses are typically chosen to meet this need. I do not raise chickens for meat so I am not educated enough to speak into this. There are many youtube and other sources on the net to help you get started on this path.

Where to get your chicks? Hatcheries or Feed Store.

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After you have decided what purpose you want your chickens to fill you need to decide where to get them. I have purchased chicks from both feed stores such as Tractor Supply and Rural King and from hatcheries. There are pros and cons to both. I will list them below for your consideation.

Feed store chicks

~ pros: cheap, no waiting time, you can hand pick your chicks, usually older chicks typically a week old or more, don’t need to be picked up early in the morning at the post office.

~ Cons: usually only basic breeds, depending on store the care of the chicks can be poor, easy to purchase too many (I struggle with this one, I want them all), typically sold as straight runs (not sexed, you WILL get both hens and roosters), chicks tend to be more high strung and flighty due to feed store environment, sold during the spring months only (February thru April) although some locations may have chicks in the fall.

Hatchery

~ Pros: Chicks are sexed (you can purchase only pullets or hens omitting roosters), chicks are usually in better health, can purchase rare breeds, chicks are typically of better quality, can order your chicks to be shipped any month (except winter months).

~ Cons: more expensive (you will need to pay shipping which can be as much as $45 depending on location), you will need to schedule a time to be home to receive your chicks ( you will need to clear two days from your calendar to pick up your chicks at the post office, they can be delayed in the mail), chicks will arrive at your post office (you will be called early usually between 5-7am to pick up your chicks when the overnight truck arrives), some chicks may die in transportation (be prepared to open you box and find dead chicks, this has only happened to me once in 10 years), orders typically need to be placed in November around Thanksgiving for spring chicks.

Given both methods of acquiring chicks, I prefer to work through hatcheries. Yes, it is a bit more expensive but I have several reasons for this preference. I will list them below.

1.) I like knowing that I am the only one to care for them from the moment they arrive. Such things as the feed I give them to the quality of the water and vitamins I administer in their water.

2.) I  like the wider selection that hatcheries offer. I tend to gravitate towards more rare breeds not offered in the feed stores.

3.) I find that they are healthier and less traumatized than those purchased at the feed store.

4.) I have found that they are less flighty. Chicks sold in feed stores constantly have hands grabbing for them causing them to be more flighty and high strung. The chicks that I purchased from the hatchery despite traveling are much calmer and easier to hand raise. Chicks bought from the feed store are very skittish and harder to hand raise. Due to their exposure to the feed store setting they are often terrified of hands.

If you decide that chicks from the feed store meet your needs, visit your local Tractor Supply or equivalent in your area and begin your backyard chicken adventure.

For those who decide after careful consideration that hatcheries are a better route for you, do your research before you order. There are many hatcheries out there to choose from. Who you order from will have a lot to do with what breeds you want. Some hatcheries specialize in heritage breeds where as others offer more of the rare breeds.

I have ordered from several hatcheries all with good experiences. I will list the hatcheries below that I have personally done business with and can vouch for their service and quality of chicks.

Cackle Hatchery – I ordered my first clutch of chicks from Cackle. 9 years later, I still have 5 of the original 17 Buff Orphingtons that I ordered.

My Pet Chicken – I order all my Silkies and White Crested Polish Chickens from MPC. They are great outfit and offer some of the more rare breeds of chickens.

McMurray Hatchery – I have ordered some of my very rare Polish breeds through McMurray. They also stock some extremely rare breeds if you are interested in something a little bit different for your backyard flock.

Preparing The Brooder.

 

 

Now that you have ordered or plan to pick up your chicks at your local feed store or co-op its time to set up their brooding digs. A brooder is basically a heated home for your newly hatched chicks. In nature, the mother hen would be the brooder. She would keep them warm, teach them how to drink and what to eat. Since you picked up or ordered your chicks you essentially have to be the mother hen to these little ones. Don’t worry, it’s really not hard at all. There are just a few very important steps that need to be taken to insure the successful transition of your chicks.

     what you will need:

1. Enclosed container with sides

     2. Heat source

     3. Feeder and Feed

     4. Waterer and vitamins to put in the water

     5. Pine Shavings

     6. Other accessories such as perches or toys to keep them occupied.

For my brooder set up I use a Puppy Play Pen these can be found on Amazon and most pet stores. I like to use these for brooders for several reasons.

~ 1. They are completely enclosed, this means that all the shaving stay in the brooder reducing much of the mess. The screened sides allow for air flow and visual access to your chicks. Due to the fact that the chicks can see and observe their world outside of the brooder, I find that chicks that are raised in puppy play pens are more chill and less flighty.

~ 2. They have a top. This will become important when the chicks get to the flying phase of their development.

~ 3. They are easy to clean, fold up, and store easily.

Heat:

As for the heat source, I discourage the use of heat lamps. Most people associate brooding chicks with the big red 500 watt bulbs blasting the chicks with intense heat and light. This was the common way of brooding chicks during our grandparents day. As for todays chicks, brooding has taken on a better much safer route to supplying heat to your chicks. Brooder lamps as they are known are very dangerous. There is no way to safely mount a lamp around shaving (kindling wood) and flying animals as to not accidentally start a fire. I cannot tell you how many times I have had people tell me or I see on facebook coop, barn, and house fires caused by the humble heat lamp.

In lieu of a hazardous heat lamp I use a Brinsea Ecoglow Radiant Heat Plate . These heat plates mimic the heat from a mother hen rather than blasting the chicks with unnatural light 24/7. These are a much safer option for heating and do not carry the risk of fires, injury, and death that the heat lamp bulbs of years past do.

Feeders:

Next, you will need chick feed and a feeder. When it comes to chick feed there are two school of though. Medicated or unmedicated. Medicated chick feed has a medicine in the feed to prevent or give the chicks an immunity to coccidiosis. Coccidiosis is a disease of the intestinal track which chicks are very susceptible to. Coccidiosis contributes to a large percentage of deaths in young chicks. The medicated feed prevents this condition giving them a much healthier start in life.

Unmedicated feed is also a good choice used mainly by people who choose to give their chicks a more organic start to life. Either is fine, you as the caretaker just need to decide which route is best for you. As for me I am pro medicated chick feed. Since I switched to medicated feed I find that I lose less chicks and that they are healthier from the get go. As for the feeder, feed stores have a wide variety of feeders to chose from. Just pick the one that fits your brooder set up the best.

Waterers and vitamins:

The type of waterer you have is very important. The goal of the waterer is to give your chicks access to clean fresh water taking great care to make sure that they do not get wet. Once again when it comes to waterers there are two schools of thought, traditional waterers or poultry nipple drinkers.

The traditional waterers are widely available at feed stores, just make sure that you get a small one to prevent the chicks from getting wet. The poultry nipples can be found at some feed stores, but most of them have to be ordered. I do not use the nipple drinkers so I cannot speak too much into how to train your chicks to use them. I know that others use them with much success, I have just never taken the steps to train my girls to use them. I find that the traditional waterers work best for me.

Like people, vitamins are very important to young growing chicks. I put vitamins in my chicks water daily for the first several months. The vitamins insure that the chicks are getting all the nutrients that they need to get a good start in life. Some vitamins have probiotics in them which gives them an additional boost in the right direction. Most feed stores have poultry vitamins available, I typically pick them up at Tractor Supply.

Shavings or bedding:

Brooder bedding serves the purpose of absorbing moisture, keeping your chicks healthy and happy. The safest bedding to use around chicks is pine shaving. Most feed stores stock pine shavings, they can also be found at Walmart if your local feed store is out. An important note about shavings, cedar in particular is toxic to chicks, take care to make sure that you use pine shavings in your brooder set up.

The pine shaving should be cleaned out once a week and replaced with fresh, more often if you have a quite a few chicks in your brooder.

How to Introduce your new chicks to the brooder and teach them to eat and drink.

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When you first arrive home with your new chicks, the first thing you want to do is teach them what water is and where to find it. After traveling for several days, they will be thirsty. To relay this important survival information to your chicks, dip their beaks in the water as you remove them from their shipping container as you place them in the brooder. Do this for every one of the chicks. You may need to dip their beaks in the waster more than once for them to make the connection. You will know that the connection has been made when they soon after drink from the waterer on their own. They will be thirsty so it will not take them long to appreciate the water.

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Chicks naturally have a pecking instinct, this means that they will peck at anything that is in front of them. It is your job as a caretaker to teach them what is safe to eat. The best way to do this is to line the bottom of your brooder with paper towels for the first few days. On top of the paper towels scatter some chick feed. The chicks will instinctively peck at the feed teaching them that “this is food”. If you put new chicks on the shavings they may eat the shavings mistaking them for food. After they learn to identify their food and the source by eating from the feeder you can remove the paper towels and expose the shavings. They will enjoy scratching in the shavings looking for food, much like adult hens do when looking for bugs in the grass.

Once everyone is eating and drinking on their own, you can take a sigh of relief. From this point on they are able to take care of their needs and will regulate their food as water intake as needed. The first week they will spend a lot of time under the heater and sleep a lot. Beginning in the second week they will be a lot more active and enjoy interacting with their caretaker.

Once the young brood is completely feathered out they can move into their outdoor digs. The time of year you acquire your brood will make a huge difference on when they can be moved outside to their coop. If you get them during the colder months say in February or March, depending on your location, you may have to keep them inside a bit longer. To get around this I typically request my hatch dates to be in May and June. During these months the temps are warmer especially at night. I do this so that I can get them outside a lot sooner. During these summer months I can even brood my chicks outdoors in a protected coop. I often resort to this method of brooding. I find that the chicks do much better early on if raised outdoors. Additionally, it frees me from the shaving mess and dust that chicks produce giving all of our allergies a much needed break.

I set up a brooder outside just the same as I would set up one indoors. I provide the essentials food, water, and heat. I simply purchase an industrial outdoor extension cord, run it to the coop and hook the power up. I am currently brooding a clutch of 6 White Crested Polish Bantam chicks in The Coop De Ville. All are doing well and are enjoying the coop life.

 

 

Getting the Coop purchased and constructed

Now that that you have your new additions home and brooding, if you have not already, it’s time to get their outdoor digs ready.

Once again, when it comes to coops there are two schools of thought, hand-built or prefab. I have done both and will link the blog post where I discuss this in detail here. Which ever method you choose is up to you. I really don’t think one is necessary better than the other, its whatever works for you and your family.

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I have 5 prefab coops and find with proper care they last a long time. I also have 2 hand-built coops that too with proper care are long lasting. Both prefab and hand-built coops will require care and maintance. My oldest prefab coop is 5 years old, my first coop, The Kuntry Klucker which I hand-built is 10 years old. What it really comes down to is your budget, skills in wood working, and time. It takes longer to build a coop as well as more money and of course the skills needed to conceptualize and execute.

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If building a coop is not in your wheel house that’s ok, Tractor Supply and other co-ops have a great selection of coops in their stores as well as online. I own three Tractor Supply prefab coops, I am pleased with all of them. They are holding up very well and make excellent homes for all my girls.

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I hope that is you have found this post helpful in staring your own flock of backyard chicks. It may seem daunting at first especially if you were not raised around livestock. It takes a bit of time and research, I can tell you that chickens once you get rolling with them are very simple creatures. They require little but give back a lot in return. Aside from the small amount of time they require, chickens really are lot of fun and are very rewarding.

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Here is a short video of my chicken yard. As you can see I have both prefab and hand-built coops. both make excellent homes for all my chickens.

 

Here is the link to my blog post entitled Bachelor Pens for Roosters that I mentioned toward the end of the video. If you need a solution for extra roosters that you want to keep a bachelor pen is a great option.

If you have any questions please post them in the comments, I will get back to you as soon as I can.

As always, thanks for reading! Till next time, keep on crowing, we’ll see you soon.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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They’re Here!!

It’s that time again!!! Chick days are alive and well here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. The girls are about to get some new neighbors. These little ones are going to call the Bantom Boutique and the Tardis home.

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Last November I ordered 9 chicks for this springs clutch. I ordered 9 Silkies an 4 Frizzle Cochins, a total of 9. Unfortunately one of the little Silkies did not make it. Among the surviving members are 2 Buff Silkies, 2 Black Silkies, and 4 Black Fizzle Cochins which will be added to The Kuntry Klucker Farm.

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For my brooder I use a puppy play pen and for the heat source I use a EcoGlow heater. The puppy play pen work very well as a brooder because it has raised sides which keep the shaving mess to a minimum and a closed top which keep the chicks from flying the coop. As they age they reach the flying phase which can frustrate many chick owners as they try to keep the chicks in the brooder. This product, although made for dogs doubles as a great brooder, all issues are covered in one simple setup.

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As dictated by tradition, day three of their life here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm is picture day! Chicks only have their soft downy appearance for about three days, after that they start to feather out and enter what I like to call the ugly duckling phase. So as always, I grab my camera and snap pics on the third day. I will share some of these with you below.

The 4 Frizzle Cochins will be joining the Bantom Boutique Crew when they are big enough to move out doors. The BB Crew will be known as the “freaky feather bunch”. When the Frizzle cochins feather out they will have a bit of a frizzle feather appearance, hence the name “Frizzle”. They will fit right in with the Polishes who have a bit of a frizzle appearance with their white crown feathers.

The Buff and Black Silkies will of course be joining the TARDIS crew which consists of 3 White Silkies and 1 Black Silkie. Currently I have one of the white Silkies sitting on a clutch consisting of 3 ceramic eggs. She went broody about 3 week ago, I plan to allow her to raise the 4 Silkie’s chicks for me and introduce them to the existing TARDIS Crew when she feels the time is right. I will of course chronicle this adventure for you as Miss Donna raises a clutch of 4 Silkie chicks. I had a successful adoption by Miss Katie our resident Buff Orphington Momma Hen last year. She did a great job in bringing up Aphridite for me. I hope to have the same success with Miss Donna. I will have a post about the adoption and my method coming soon.

But for now, we welcome the newest additions to the Kuntry Klucker Farm where chickens live like Kings, living the sweet life.

Here are few of the pics from our morning photo shoot. Baby pics!!

Stay tuned for a post on chick adoption by an existing broody. Till then, keep on clucking, the girls and I will see you soon.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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Sometimes you just need a Momma.

Hi everyone, toward the end of my last post I mentioned that I had a broody hen Miss Katie. When I last left you she was sitting on a few ceramic eggs that I placed under her. In doing so I was hoping that she would adopt my chicks when they arrived. This was the first time that I had ever attempted adoption by a broody hen. I had done research on the topic but never actually attempted it myself. Well I am pleased to say that the adoption was a complete success, Miss Katie is thrilled to be a momma again. In this post I will detail my procedure which lead to this successful outcome.

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Miss Katie is the mamma hen of my flock of Buff Orphingtons. As far as she is concerned it is her calling in life to be a momma to as many chicks as possible. She loves to sit on eggs and loves even more to teach her little ones how to be a chicken. It all started about three weeks before my chicks were to arrive at my local post office. Miss Katie as years before went broody wanting nothing more than just to sit on her eggs. Given this opportunity I went ahead and let her sit on some ceramic eggs in the Bantom Boutique. If I could keep her in the broody mindset she just might adopt the chicks that were to arrive in a few weeks. So on a gamble I went ahead and let her sit. She was determined that she was going to sit so I just provided her a private space away from the other girls and gave her some eggs to tend for a few weeks.

Normally when a mother hen sits on eggs she will make this her life purpose till they hatch. Knowing that Miss Katie was sitting on fake eggs I wondered if she would accept a chick that did not hatch from one of the eggs under her. This is where some careful planning and luck came in to play.

When the chicks first arrived I placed one under her, she accepted the baby chick with no problems as if it was her own that she hatched. The following is my method which lead to this successful adoption.

  1. First when Miss Katie went broody I let her sit. Since I do not have a rooster any natural eggs that she was sitting on would eventually go bad which would cause her to abandon the nest. To avoid this I placed under her 4 ceramic eggs. They look, feel, and radiate heat just like a real chicken egg does. To her there was no difference.

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2. Next I placed her in a private space separate from the girls. Since the Bantom Boutique was ready for the new arrivals I went ahead and put some shaving and the eggs in this coop. She then made her nest the way she wanted. After that the rest was up to her.

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3. I made sure that she was sitting for at least 2 weeks before the chicks would arrive. A natural incubation time for a sitting hen is about 20-23 days. From the time that Miss Katie went broody to the time that the chick would arrive was 21 days. Given the time frame this would align perfectly to a natural hatch as seen by Miss Katie’s perspective. This would make sure that she was sitting and in the broody mind set for at least 2 weeks. This time also gave me a good indication that she was ready to sit for the term of the incubation period.

4. When the chicks finally arrived I placed them in my brooder inside. After their long trip I wanted to make sure that they were all healthy and had something to eat and drink for a few hours before I introduced them to Miss Katie.

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5. Since I was not sure if she would accept a chick that she did not hatch I chose just one chick to give to Miss Katie. When the chicks arrived I noticed that there was one chick that was a bit smaller than the others and was really struggling to eat and drink. This is the one that I chose to give to Miss Katie. I knew that if Miss Katie would accept this chick that it would do much better under and natural mother hen than in the brooder with the others.

6. Late at night, well after 10 pm when it was really dark and Miss Katie was asleep I made my approach. I took the chick, wrapped it securely in my hands and opened the coop. Miss Katie heard the chick and started clucking as she had in the past with the other chicks that he had raised. When I heard this I knew it was safe to try to place the chick under her. I placed the chick next to her, she immediately tucked it under her wing and was thrilled to be a momma again. Once I was sure that she had accepted the chick I took an egg from under her. In the morning all she knew is that there was one less egg and I chick under her. It was a complete success!! I was so excited that Miss Katie accepted the chick and she was ecstatic to be a momma again. Since this little chick was having a bit of problems with life giving it to Miss Katie was the best thing I could do for it. Within 24 hours she had it eating and drinking just like the rest of the chicks were doing in the house. She was able to help the little chick in a way that I could not. Sometimes you just need a momma.

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7. Now that this was a complete success I was sure that Miss Katie was all in on being a momma, so the next night I took the rest of the eggs. After about three days or so the momma hen will abandon the eggs that did not hatch. In order to encourage her to put all her efforts into raising this little chick I had to take the rest of the eggs. So once again after it was nice and dark I snuck out to the coop and took the rest of the eggs. As far as she was concerned they were just gone and now she could concentrate on raising her little one.

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Miss Katie has helped this little one out so much. If it was not for her I am pretty sure that it would have died. It was a lot smaller than the rest of the chicks in the brooder and was not eating or drinking well like the rest of them. Since it was struggling with life the others just seemed to run it over in their scampering around the brooder. For this reason I chose to give this chick and only this chick to Miss Katie. If I had given her the entire clutch of chicks she would have noticed that this one was struggling and as nature usually does she would have killed it. But since she had just this one chick and nothing else to compare it too she gave it her full attention and brought it around in a way that I could not. She is definitely my ally in the chick brooding department. This was a win, win, win situation. The chick survived, I am able to say that all the chicks that I ordered survived, and Miss Katie was able to live out her life mission, to be a momma. She has definitely lived up to her reputation as the momma hen of the flock.

I am so glad that this adoption was a success. The experience that I gained from the situation is very valuable. Yet again, this is one more thing that my girls taught me. Chickens are amazing creatures, I am privileged to care for a small flock of these magnificent wonders of nature.

Thank you for take a little time and dropping by, we are so glad that you did. Till next time take care and keep on crowing.

~ The Kuntry Klucker & Bantom Boutique Crew ~

 

 

Country Chicks

 

As spring approaches, and the hatchery catalogs start to appear in the mail I get so excited, Why? Because spring means one thing, CHICKS!!!

I originally purchased my flock from a breeder. As we built the coop we were expectant parents in every sense of the word. It was almost like building a nursery and waiting for the baby to arrive. Instead of being pregnant with a tiny human I was awaiting a stork (mail) with my little peeps.

When they arrived, they were a total of 17 all huddled in a small box for warmth. They were the cutest things, and so helpless. I feel in love with them at first sight.

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I placed them in a brooder and thus the adventure began. They had the best care and were looked after day and night. We also had two volunteer brooder supervisors who happily watched over the chicks for us.  Indy and Tabby my cats did an excellent job of keeping watch. Don’t worry, the cats could not get to the chicks and only served at overseers of their care. There were so enamored by the brooder, bird watching at its best.

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So as any excited and proud mommy does I took baby pictures of my flock. I will share a few of them with you.

Who can resist a basket full of chicks, not me!

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Then you have the all american approach.

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However, I had the most fun with the few chicks that posed well. I had a few naturals when it came to posing for the camera. You have no idea how hard it is to take pictures of chicks that are scurrying in all directions. But I had a few hams that made the process easy and fun. Here are some of the pics that I took during that fun fluff filled photo session.

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“I think this is the place”.

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“Best buds”.

I had a good time taking pics of my girls. I am so glad that I did because they are only cute like this for a few days. After that they enter what I call the “ugly duckling phase”. This is when they start to loose their cute fluffy yellow down feathers and start to grow their mature feathers. The are actually kind of cute during that phase too, it is almost like they cannot decide if they want to be a chick or a chicken. All the stages of a chicken life are precious, just like the stages our human children go through as they mature.

The adventures of keeping chickens are both fun and exciting.

Till next time take care and keep on crowing. The girls and I will be back soon!!

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

 

 

Deck the Coop.

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The girls and I had a little fun today as we decorated their digs today for the holidays. They were not too sure of the lights at first, but they thought that the bows tasted quite good.

You see, they get excited whenever I come out to the coop carrying something. They think that I am brining a yummy treat for them to devour. With my hands full, I could not manage a treat, so they decided that the decorations would be just as good. yea… not so much. They pecked at the bows and finally decided that they were not as good as they looked. Anyhow, after a few nasty looks from the gang they realized that I was up to something else fun. Thus the onlookers began to assemble.

This is the first year that I have decorated their coop with lights. I usually put a wreath on their door and a stocking for Santa to fill with treats on their coop. But last year when the wreath fell down and they decided that it was a good thing to lay eggs in. So, I did not try to argue with that kind of chicken logic. After all, now I know where I can expect to find all the eggs that they layed for the day. Most of the girls lay them in the coop, but I have one or two girls that like to think outside the box so to speak. They like to make me work for the eggs and send me on an egg hunt. The Christmas weather kind of solved that problem, but this year I decided to step it up and bring some exterior illumination to their digs.

Their reaction to the light strand when it lit up was quite entertaining. I had it stretched out on the ground while I worked the tangles that most lights are in when packaged in the box. I got the extension cord drug out to the coop and attached to the pen so they cannot peck at it. Anyway while I was away they inspected all the lights, but when I plugged them in they were startled by the sudden illumination coming from the dead thing on the ground. This is their first experience with Christmas lights so we will see how they take to them.

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Roy as always is not impressed when I mess with his digs. Even a good spring coop cleaning is something that he actively protests with a serenade of crowing. I am not too sure if its the leaf blower that I use to get all the dust out, the water that I spay in the coop to clean well, or the fact that I am rearranging the furniture. But anyhow he is not a fan of me messing with his pad. So of course he was not a big fan of decoration day. After all was said and done, he inspected and decided that the lights were not a threat and thus acceptable. His expression in the pic is just precious, he is a character like none other. The girls however are cool with the festive decor like any women would be.

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With the coop decorated and the girls officially ready for Santa, we hope that he finds that they have been good this year. Last year Santa brought them a bag of knock out scratch and a package of meal worms. We will see what Santa leave for them this year. Santa has a soft spot for chickens.

Well that is it for our adventures for now, I hope you enjoyed our story.

The Girls want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and an Egg-celent New Year!!

Thanks for following our adventures, see you next time. Till then, take care and keep on crowing.

The Kuntry Klucker Crew