What’s Going on at TBN Ranch

Sunday, Phoenix is expected to reach triple digits. It won’t be long and we’ll creep up to 105, 110, and by June, 115. As the temperatures rise, keeping chickens becomes a real challenge.

I’ve already started to prepare, but this time I will be tested even further with my older semi-retired flock. Not only are they compromised by their age, but they are all way too plump fat. This past winter was colder than usual and all my birds had a very late molt. So their naked butts didn’t freeze, I gave them scratch feeds and oats on top of their normal ration of layer pellets. Now they are huge.

Brooder Box
WATERMELON BIN

I found a gold mine a the grocery store that only a chicken keeper would understand. Certainly the produce manager didn’t, but although reluctant, he was accommodating. Ever see those huge octagon watermelon bins? Well my first thought was definitely not on watermelons, all I saw was a perfect brooder! The manager said they were supposed to be recycled and not to be given away. But when I explained what it was for, and that it was my birthday, he said ok! Happy Birthday to me!

The watermelon box is in the garage where it is being transformed to the ultimate brooder. If it’s sturdy enough to hold 50 watermelons, it certainly will accommodate baby chicks for years to come. I even have some left over ceramic tile for the floor, I feel like a kid at Christmas! When I have it done and moved to the feed shed I will take pictures.

Prickly Pear
MY PRICKLY PEAR IN BLOOM

I planted 70 sunflowers as a shade source for my birds, unfortunately the farm bunnies have eaten all but 10. Guess as a cactus gardener it slipped my mind that protecting the seedlings was crucial to their survival. Duh. But my Prickly Pear cactus are stunning! –>

I still haven’t bought a new chicken coop, but I do have a plan. Come Fall I would like to move all my chickens to one place… from three. Keeping in mind that I’m a complete novice to having a vegetable garden, I’d still like to give it a whirl. The most convenient spot for that is where my fancy polish hens are… so the ladies are moving.

As far as the new coop, I do have my eye on one. It was featured in a previous post, you can see it HERE. I don’t mean to offend the builder, but it looks like a fish cleaning house.. and that’s probably exactly why I like it! The real selling point on this coop is that it’s local built, no shipping! Building this structure means all my birds will be in a shady area just steps away from the barn. Then, I’ll be growing vegetables in the Spring? Don’t worry…  Google.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

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Author: amy elizabeth, TBN Ranch

amy elizabeth is a Backyard Chicken-Keeping Advocate & Consultant, Vintage Collector, & Author.

10 thoughts on “What’s Going on at TBN Ranch”

  1. Happy Birthday. I can just see the excitement in your face at saving the watermellon box.
    What I learned about gardening is don’t listen to anybody about what you can and can’t do. Just do it. We’ve grown things that people told us was impossible in Arizona. I didn’t get my garden in this year and I’m really missing it.
    Good luck with your new coop.

  2. Happy birthday! Great idea to use the watermelon box! It’s a shame about the sunflowers – I love sunflowers and 70 would have made a spectacular photo!.

  3. Oh no…I can’t believe you are already in for triple digit temps…that’s awful!!! I’ve been hoping that since we’ve had such a cool spring that maybe, just maybe we’d have a kinder summer this year. I’m still hoping…
    Love the watermelon box…I was thinking about using a metal watering trough, but I think I’ll ask at my grocer first and see if they have something like you got. Love hearing about what’s going on at your ranch.

    1. Yeah, those work, but I like something taller. I used a trough one year and I struggled with keeping them in it when they were a few weeks old. Then it’s time for chicken wire over the top… and that means my arms will be scratched or or bleeding from that darn stuff. I hate chicken wire!

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