Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chicks In A Box: The Next Big Thing

I picked a chirping box up Monday afternoon at the post office, to the shock of all the other people waiting in line.

H2 has been chiding me for several years that I should be raising chickens and until now I've ignored her advice, saying it was too much of a hassle for a few eggs.  In a sign of my changing priorities, I'm almost as excited about the poop as I am about the eggs.  Their "waste" will be put to good use in the garden.

Patrick, a fellow community gardener, and I ordered 25 (female) rhode island reds from Murray McMurray hatchery, and they showed up alive, mostly.  I'll take 8 of the 22 surviving chicks, Patrick has plans for the rest.  If you're interested in some, he'll pass them on to you at cost, roughly $3 per.

For the next 9 weeks they'll be inside in an expandable brooder I made; after that they'll go into a large run with coop that I'm building under my back deck.

There will be enough room for 15 chickens out there.  For now, I'll make do with eight.

I'm completely new at this -- Gail Damerow's guidebook has been a terrific help.  Backyard Chickens has good info as well.  I also follow a google group called  Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts.


This morning I noticed that about half of the chicks had what Damerow calls "sticky bottoms" or pasting up.   Warm running water, q tips, and some vaseline took care of it.


Carl and the chicks get along just fine.


Alison said...

Nice going! I can't wait 'til we have time to rehab the old chicken coop here. As for books, I'd add Keeping Chickens by Ashley English (gotta plug the Asheville authors....) to the list of helpful references. Good dog, Carl!

Debbie said...

How wonderful. I can't wait to meet the chicks and learn how you'll raise them!

Uli Westphal said...

Hi Bruce, chickens are great !
we had 4 of them last year, three hens and one rooster. they were as entertaining as they were useful, unfortunately a fox got them during winter...
I enjoyed listening to bucky buckaw's backyard chicken broadcast
(, a great source of chicken knowledge.
you can find all episodes at if you do a search for "bucky"

Homegrown Evolution said...


Congrats! You'll love the chickens. Very entertaining and the eggs are far better than the ones at the supermarket!

Bruce said...

Thanks for all the encouragement. I'm being sucked into the world of chickens... When I put a little bit of feed in my palm and lower it into the brooder, 4 or 5 chicks fight to sit in my hand and eat. Even when there is plenty of food in their feeder a couple of inches away. Pretty cool stuff.