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Day 37: The Care and Feeding of Chickens

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Chicken Feeders:

Yesterday was a bit of a sad day for us here at the ranch.  We lost our first baby peep.  She clearly wasn’t doing as well as the rest of them, and it was sad to lose one of the cute little puff balls.  One the plus side, almost all of the rest of the peeps seem to be doing really well.  In just one day I can see more of their wing feathers forming, and the patches on their wings are growing longer.  They have calmed down on the eye pecking, and are now enjoying the attention from Momma Peep (Jenn).  In fact one of the Welsummer chicks makes it her mission to get picked up and petted, which is hilarious.

As I said yesterday, I would show you some of the care and feeding techniques we are using.  Here is their little feeder.  Rather than buying one, as you can see, we reclaimed a cottage cheese carton.  They are a little young to figure it out now, so is also sitting on a plate of loose food.  Once they get a little smarter though, they will be able to use it.  Jenn just took the container, and cut some holes in the bottom about the size of a dime.  This allows the peeps to reach in and eat, and it allows us to refill it from the top, with a minimum of hassle.  We already salvaged a 5 gallon bucket from the Safeway bakery to use for the adult chickens once they graduate to the yard.

Something interesting that I learned in this process, is that chickens are born with no bacteria in their digestive system.  I guess people probably aren’t either, but I never really thought about it.  So on the first day, we had to mix yogurt with water to let them eat some nice tasty bacteria.  Which, by the way, is why people should eat yogurt or raw milk every so often, especially if you take lots of anti-biotics.

We came up with several water bowl type solutions to allow them to drink without drowning.  Unfortunately, they are too small to use them yet, so we just put some water on a plate for now.  This water is almost constantly guarded by this helpful little girl that I tried to capture in the act.  She likes to stand in the water.  Constantly.  Its really cute.

Chilean Mesquite Tree:

I have discovered over the last several days, that I enjoy being able to come home from work and do something around the yard.  Its much more Zen for me than what I do every day.  Yesterday I planted a Chilean mesquite tree to replace the shade lost by the Oleander.  I dug out a small hugel bed for it, and popped it right in front of where the Oleander was.  It only took about 20 minutes to dig it up this time, but it was actually pretty relaxing.

This is just a picture of chalupa in the goat house.  Its a non-sequitur, but very cute.

Paleo Portion:

Breakfast:

Cottage cheese and strawberry preserves

Although delicious, this didn’t keep me going all day.  At least I remembered to buy eggs to make up for it.

Lunch:

Small Bag of cashews

Dinner:

2 country style pork ribs

Sauerkraut

Salad w/ Ranch

Dinner was delicious of course.  Jenn friend up the sauerkraut in butter, and it was amazing.  The pork ribs were pretty tasty as well.

Weight: 235

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Day 29: The Chicken Brooder is Ready

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Today was a busy day, for at least one of us here in the Ayers house.  Jenn spent the day getting our baby chicken brooder ready to receive our baby chicks.  We have, hopefully, only 4 days until ship day, when we will get our baby peeps.  We are both very excited.  I am sure they will be super cute, and pretty darn funny.  Here is a cool shot of our chicken brooder.

As you can see, we used our dog cage, and covered the bottom to protect it from chicken poops.  We just need to get some cardboard to protect the sides as well.  Food and water bowls of course for the chickies.  Also the heat lamp for them, shining on only half of the cage.  This allows the chicks to self regulate their temperature.  If they get too hot, they go to the shady side of the cage.  I think this should work out well.  I mean, although these are our first chickens, we do have experience raising dainty boned sedentary animals.

Note the highly successful chihuahua brooder in the exact same bedroom.  Pudgy little spoiled so and so.

Paleo:

Breakfast:

1 cup of coffee with cream and cane sugar to go

My company wanted me to come in early for a network install that didn’t happen until 10.  So I didn’t have time for my coffee on a day I really needed it.

Lunch:

Nothing, although unfortunately I was really hungry today.  It doesn’t happen often, but I developed a craving for bacon at like 1pm.

Dinner:

Chicken leg quarter

Salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, bacon and ranch

cauliflower

Dinner wasn’t anything super unique or special tonight.  Mainly I was exhausted after a long day.  I browned up the chicken quarters in olive oil, then covered them with lemon juice and fresh black pepper.  Baked them in the oven at 425 for 45 minutes.  Tasty lemon pepper chicken.  Pastured chicken leg quarters are much smaller and tastier than regular chicken legs.  There was a big difference between the two.

Also, the bacon was epic with the ranch dressing.  I fried up some bacon while I was cooking everything else, then we crumbled it on the salad.  It was awesome.

Dessert:

Smoothie

Once again Jenn made us awesome smoothies.  Strawberry and banana once again.  My favorite.

Weight: 233