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2.18.2011

Chickens Chickens Chickens Chickens

...because that is all that has been going through my brain lately. It's like they're pecking around inside my head. It kind of hurts.

Here is a glimpse of the chicken madness I have been reflecting on lately:

-What breeds do I want? Do I want rare and interesting looking birds? Colorful eggs? Super friendly birds? Prolific layers?

-Where am I going to house my birds? How much work am I going to have to do to prepare for them? How much money am I going to have to spend?

-What am I going to feed them? Pellets or whole grain? Conventional or organic?

-Is my dog going to kill my chickens? Can I train her to protect them instead? What other predator threats are there in my area?

-What do I need to do to prevent diseases and parasites? Should I use Diatomaceous Earth? Apple Cider Vinegar in the water?

-What are the best methods to keep my coop and run clean? Deep litter? Poop boards? Rotating a chicken tractor instead of a stationary run?

-Probiotics, a self watering system, where and how to feed, where to place the roosts, how many nest boxes to build, how to heat the coop, the best source of protein, the most reasonably priced grains, oyster shell or limestone for calcium...

Ugh! It feels good to get it all out. Even though that list is far too long (and much over thought) for something as simple as a few chickens, it looks shorter on the screen than it feels in my head. In reality (where I choose to visit sometimes), my to do list looks something like this:

-Order chicks (check; 10 Buff Orphingtons and 10 Wyandotts, please)
-Wait for the ground to thaw
-Build a 30x30(ish) chicken run.
-Figure out what chicks need to eat (that isn't commercial chick starter, hopefully).
-Add windows, ventilation, roosts, and nest boxes to my shed.
-Buy basic equipment: feed troughs, waterers, heat lamp(s).
-Outfit my "brooder," which is actually my old wire dog crate, one that I bought that was WAY too big for my doggy. I really only need to outfit cardboard pieces for the sides to keep drafts out and add bedding.

I'm excited. And nervous. And excited. And a little scared.


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