The Chicks Are Coming!

Spring is on its way; we’re beginning to see its cheery head trying to pop up everywhere! When I think of Spring the first thoughts that come to mind are bright images of flowers, bunnies, budding trees, greening grass, and, yes, chicks! The trees might not be budding just yet, flowers aren’t blooming yet, but the chicks are on their way!!! This year we ordered 2200 layer chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery. But before all those little babies arrive we have quite a bit of work to do… We’ve got to get their new home ready for them – so here we go.   0215141426Our brooder is now empty and ready to be refilled with sawdust. Remember last time when I said that we leave 18” of the old sawdust in the brooder when we cleaned it out? 0215141436 Now is when you’re going to re-use that. The old sawdust gets spread out on the concrete floor of the brooder. This old sawdust serves two purposes. First, it inoculates the new sawdust and starts the composting process. Second, when you re-fill the brooder you don’t want to “skimp” on this first layer of bedding. Saving and using the old bedding gives you more depth to your new bed and you don’t have to use your new fresh sawdust. We went to get sawdust in our dump trailer and on a day that wasn’t too windy we backed up to the brooder and shoveled it into the brooder and spread that around. The next steps are a lot more fun… 0218140758After we got the new bedding in place we needed to lower the heaters and lower the drinker nipples (remember, these are going to be day old chicks). We also turned the gas line on and fired up all 6 heaters to make sure the gas lines were open and the heaters were heating properly. This is also the time to repair anything that needs it. 0218140754 0218140755 Next is getting feed ready for the new babies to eat right when they get here… We have chick feeders that we filled with feed. It’s the same feed that our broilers will eat when they arrive later in the year. The chicks also need grit so that they can digest their food. To teach them to eat the grit we put it in a pan and sprinkle feed over it so that they’re encouraged to eat both.   Now we’re ready!!!!! The chicks will be here soon!!!

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About Hannah Hale

Hannah hails from McComb, Mississippi, where she farmed with her parents and three sisters. Home-schooled all her life, she grew up helping her grandfather on his Black Angus farm and working with her family to raise dairy goats, laying hens, and bees. Her love for animals blossomed through her involvement in 4-H and cattle showing. Hannah discovered Polyface through a lecture by Joel, and while reading his book You Can Farm, she realized that her life-long dream of farming could become a reality. The summer of 2013 saw Hannah a Polyface intern, and she was subsequently chosen to become an apprentice. Now married, Hannah helps her husband as they work as Polyface rental-farm managers. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the Polyface team and learn from the best. In the future, Hannah wants to farm full-time and keep Jesus central in her life.
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7 Responses to The Chicks Are Coming!

  1. Katie Benz says:

    How exciting! We got our first chicks last spring for our small backyard coop. It’s hard to believe those puff balls grow so quickly into round laying hens.

  2. We have always paid the $$ to use bagged pine shavings in our brooder area as we were afraid they would eat too much sawdust! Good to see it works for you. Sawdust is so much cheaper!

  3. Olivia Persinger says:

    How wonderful! I love watching the growing process of how baby chicks grow up into nice, young laying hens! I cannot wait to see more. How much feed do you give them each day? Thanks!

  4. Kristin says:

    New chicks are pretty exciting! I’m hoping we can do meat chickens in our neck of the woods again this year, hopefully some to sell! There surely is a difference between meat you raise yourself and that you buy in the store.

  5. jesse says:

    are they all the same breeds

  6. susan lango, ny state says:

    Do you get your geese as goslings? Visited in the fall, but didn’t find out what breed you have in with your pastured hens. Would love to find out so I could get some for my 250 pastured hens. Thanks!

  7. Brandy says:

    My chicks are coming soon too! Do I stand a chance against this? How do I even sell the birds themselves with a law like this?