It’s that time again! 🙂 Today is the first day of fall and that means it’s time to prepare the brooders for baby chicks. They will be our fourth flock and ready to produce eggs in late spring of 2012.
Wasting no time, yesterday I cleaned the garage, evicted the mice, and sprayed for anything that crawls. That took five hours, but I’m fairly assured I won’t have to look over my shoulder while tending to the hatchlings over the next 5-6 weeks.
So what’s next? The brooders of course! I keep them set-up all year, so all that had to be done was a thorough cleaning and a few repairs. I have two brooders, one large enough to accommodate 30+ chicks, and a much smaller one in case of a problem or emergency. Next, there are some decisions to make… what kind of chicks to buy, and from where? Mail order, feed store, or from a local poultry keeper? I know what you’re thinking… yes, day old chicks are indeed ordered from a catalog and shipped directly to a nearby post office.
Go To Murray McMurray
So many to choose from! What I usually do is shop the catalog to decide what breeds I want, then look for them local. However, fancy and ornamental birds are difficult to locate and usually have be ordered.
This young pullet is a Polish Top Hat variety, I still have her, she’s from the 2010 hatch. They aren’t the best layers though, she is a white egg layer and only about one every three days. But she’s pretty to look at!
There are many breeds I like, but over the years I found that some definitely do better in the extreme heat than others. This season I’ll be staying away from the heavy or meat birds and keeping only hens under 5 pounds. Last season was my most successful season, only losing one hen and it was an 8.5 Orphington. I only have one left and she had two close calls in July and August.
The Chicken yard has been all stripped down and cleaned, the hen house and nests are all filled with fresh clean Bermuda hay. Water buckets all been scrubbed clean and winter feed is neatly stored in the feed shed. Another summer in ovenland has passed, that means paradise is right around the corner! Flowers will bloom, windows can be opened, and maybe, just maybe….. RAIN?