Tag Archives: Daily Chicken Chores

Meat Birds – 3 Weeks Old

Time is flying.  Our meat birds are not.

All is still going well, and our routine remains the same with them.  We empty the brooder of all of the dirty pine shavings, replace with new, fill up water and food.  Done.

Except, they have been knocking down their feeder and waterer a lot, so I have ordered a new feeder and waterer off of Amazon so that we can hang it from the ceiling.

I ordered two of these feeders:

This feeder holds 3 pounds of feed, and should last a little longer.  The fact that I can hang it up should prevent and spillage of food.  I ordered one for the brooder inside and one for the Chicken Paddy Wagon outside.

I also ordered one:

I already have one outside, and I only need one inside.  It is only 5 quarts.  This seems to be a complaint for many, but I think having a little less water is good.  That way, you clean it every time you change it.  This should prevent it from getting too yucky.

Also, I’m only raising 10 baby chicks at a time.  If I was raising more, I would want larger food and water containers.

I will let you know my impression of these purchases once I use them for a bit.

Our chicks are feathering out nicely.  Their feathers are coming in on their wings, and now on their tail.

IMG_0516

We also bought 10 “Miscellaneous” chicks.  We got 3 black ones, 3 light colored chicks with stripes and 3 orange-brown ones.  The orange brown chicks are about 2/3 the size of the other chicks.  I have no clue what kind of breeds they are, but they are all clearly different. The size difference is quite obvious in real life, but a little more difficult to capture in a picture.IMG_0515

Raising meat birds is so much fun.  I think this is something we will continue doing in the future.   I’m excited (kind of) about tasting these guys.

3 week old Chicks-progress

The journey continues…

Weekly Video:

 

Meat Chickens – One Week Old

Our meat birds are celebrating their one week birthday.  It has been a relatively easy week.

Notice the chicks are starting to feather out.  They start this at the tips of their wings.

Notice the chicks are starting to feather out. They start this at the tips of their wings.

The how-to’s of their first week of life is pretty easy, and not very time consuming.

What is the daily chores for week old chicks?

I check on the boys (as we ordered cockerels, all male) at least once a day, and usually twice a day.

Once a day I pick up each chick to check for Pasty Butt.  Pasty Butt is when the chick’s back end (poo hole?) is clogged with poo.  This can actually kill them.  So as soon as you find it, take a warm, wet rag, sponge or paper towel and gently clean it.

The bummer about this condition is that if your bird gets pasty butt once, they are likely to get it again.  BUT it’s super easy to take care of.

I check to make sure that they have plenty of fresh drinking water and that their food is full.

The chicks eating their feed.

The chicks eating their feed.

Then, I add in some more pine shavings to keep everything clean and smelling fresh.

Why Pine Shavings?

I like pine shaving over other bedding for the brooder because the high acid of the pine neutralizes the smell.  Also, the chicken droppings are high in nitrogen, while wood is high in carbon.  This makes the perfect combo for fertilizing your plants when it’s time to clean out the brooder.  While the  nitrogen in the manure is good for plants, it can be a little too much in the fresh poo and burn the plants.

Be Careful NOT to use:

  • Cedar Shavings – the oils from this will hurt the chicks lungs.  Avoid this throughout the chickens entire life span.
  • Newspapers – the newspapers create a slippery base.  Chicks also have a natural desire to scratch and dig.  Please let your chicken express his chicken-ness, and give him something to dig in.

So far, so good.

It’s been amazing to watch these guys grow.  They have two or three more weeks in the brooder and then we’ll be moving them out to the chicken paddy wagon.

Left: Chick One Day Old Right: Chick One Week Old

Left: Chick One Day Old
Right: Chick One Week Old

Here’s this week’s video:

Daily Chicken Chores

Keeping chickens is a lot of fun.  I enjoy watching the girls run around.  I enjoy them searching for bugs.  And one of my favorites is when one of the girls finds a big juicy bug, and the others chase her around the pen.  After providing all this entertainment, they still provide eggs, pest control and fertilizer.  What a wonderful animal.

So what do I do on a daily basis to keep the coop running?  Quite frankly, not much.

  • I check their food and water daily.  If I know I’m going somewhere for an entire day, I make sure everything is topped off before I go.  If it is really hot out, I go out several times throughout the day to add ice cubes to their water.  If it is super cold, we add hot water to prevent freezing, so they have water to drink.
  • I use a deep-bedding method.  So every day  (or every other day) I add some fresh straw to the coop.  The straw (wood chips work even better, but I have more access to straw) soaks of the nitrogen of the chicken poop.  This become very yummy worm food, and gives you super healthy soil.  I clean this out every 3 to 6 months (this takes an hour or more)  As this composts down gives you girls some heat in the winter.
  • I collect yummy eggs.
  • In the winter, I shut the coop up at night to keep the heat in, and in the morning I open it back up.

These are the only things I do.  So maybe 15 minutes a day, at most.  But it is every day.  This is also after everything is built (which took a lot of time).  I also really enjoy my girls, so I will go out just to spend time with them and watch them be chickens.  When they see me coming they actually run to the fence to greet me (or maybe they are looking for some kitchen scraps I usually bring).

I have plans to move them to a shifting paddock system in the future.  (I will write more about this in the future). This will take a bit of time every week, but not much.

If you want to take a step toward simplicity, and you want to get closer to providing more for yourself, I recommend chickens.