May 31, 2012

My pets make breakfast.

I love being a chicken mama! 
(not our eggs...but soon :)
Michael and I eat 4 eggs every morning so we are really excited to get our own fresh eggs in the morning. It is also very important to us that we know where our food comes from. Well this is about as good as it gets.


We got our four chicks just a little over a week ago and I already love them. Our chicks were about 5 days old. I had no clue that chickens were so full of personality!
January of this year Nashville passed a law allowing homeowners to own domestic hens. You can learn all about that process here:
It is $25 a year for a permit and we are allowed to have 4 hens.

Michael and I decided to name the chickens after our relatives (mostly grandmothers). We have Faye, Matilda, Jean and Doris. I have no clue what I am doing with these chickens but I am learning as I go.

 Faye is the sweetest. She doesn't mind being held. I think she is probably the most friendly of them all. She is growing really fast! She is currently the biggest chick. 

 Doris is the trouble maker and the loudest. She chirps the most. She escapes out of the brooder daily. We can always tell when she escapes because she has a special "I escaped but I really want to get back in the box" chirp. She puts up the biggest fight when I want to hold her. And in some ways is the leader hen. We will see if she continues when they are older. 

 Matilda can chirp so loud! Like piercing ear chirp. She is very curious and is often the pillow for the other chicks. She also like to stick her neck out funny when she sleeps. 

Jean is our smallest chick and probably the most photogenic. I love that she has feathers on her feet! She is sweet and delicate. I like Jean. 

This is how we started. We went to the Davidson Co-op and bought 4 pullets (female chicks) for $3 a piece. We then bought medicated chick feed. We will be giving them medicated feed for one more week and then change over to non-medicated feed. We bought a water dish, a feeder and a heat lamp. I learned that a red light is better than a white light because it helps them sleep. Not sure how much of a difference it makes but we went ahead a bought a red light. We took a big plastic bin and layered the bottom with pine shavings. Do not use cedar shavings, apparently that is bad for chickens. 
-Plastic Bin
-Pin shavings
-Water dish
-Heat lamp and bulb
-Chick Feed 

They always fight over the same opening. It is so strange. And they walk on each other. I seriously could watch them for hours...
Poor Jean, all by herself. Here are all the chicks in their brooder (this is before we got the red light). 

So in terms of caring for little chicks...right now we just make sure they have fresh water and food every morning. We also change their bedding every 2-3 days just because chicks are prone to disease. They do take a lot of monitoring just to make sure their brooder is the right temperature. If it is too hot they will sleep far from the light and even start panting. If they are too cold they will huddle under the light. It is important to watch their eating and drinking habits and to be sure they are at the right temperature.
Their first week the temperature should be about 90-95 degrees. Every week it goes down 5 degrees.
They will live in the brooder for 4-6 weeks or until their feathers grow in. Then it will be time to put them in the coop. That will be our next adventure!!

I love my cuddle bugs!