Saturday, May 3, 2014

Getting Ready for the Chicks

Since we lost 4 of our birds last summer, and we didn't have much luck obtaining birds from local chicken owners (and didn't like just how long it takes for them to become hand-tamed...), we've decided to buy four chicks.  We're mail ordering them again because of the wider variety of breeds available and the small minimum.  (Local farm supply places do sell chicks in spring, but they were rather limited in the variety of breeds they offered and the minimum purchase they imposed were too high for backyard chicken enthusiasts within the city limits.   Too bad. )

So my daughter and I went over the breeds and decided on 2 Barred Plymouth Rock chicks and 2 Easter Egger chicks, mainly because the previous ones we owned were so sweet in temperament and smart, too -- just a joy to have as pets!  But these breeds were smaller than some of the others and tend to get bullied, so we got two of each... hoping that at least the Barred Plymouth Rocks will look similar enough to avoid being  too heavily picked on. ^^;

Since our two birds are already 1 1/2-years-old, we're building the new girls a smaller coop where they can grow until they reach about 16 weeks old and fully feathered in.  Chicks won't stand a chance against a big bully Dorito, who asserts her superior ranking to Fiona every chance she gets. ^^;

We bought a chicken coop kit from Tractor Supply Co. this time, rather than try to figure out an extension to the existing coop.  It's already pre-assembled into panels and sections, so it shouldn't take very long to assemble.  We read the customer reviews and some people were complaining about how the wood swelled after a rain and things fell apart.  So I'm painting the coop to match the big girls' coop (barn red with white trims).  We'll most likely reinforce some sections, too, based on what some of the customers said on the review.  We will also give the coop a base of pre-treated timber so that it won't be sitting on the ground directly.

Painting turned out to be rather tedious with lots of trims and hardware to go around. ^^;  But hey, better safe than sorry.  And even after the new girls can join the main coop, this smaller one will be handy as a quarantine co0p for new aquisitions in the future. ^_^

While I was painting the 'fence white' paint on the trims, I had to chase away Dorito because she tried to eat the paint, thinking it's her favorite Greek yogurt I feed the girls often. ^^;  Sometimes I marvel at how smart these birds are, and there are times when I just go, "Really?" when they try to eat paint or packing peanuts...  You've got to watch these babies.  They seem to think everything is food. LOL

Got a real late start on this year's boxes.  We've had freezing temperatures throughout April and on the first days of May!  Planting has been postponed for a lot of tender varieties.  Here in this photo, you see some onions carried over from last year, new pea seedlings, and some salad mix that self-seeded from last year's plants.

Violas I bought in April.  They're pretty hardy and survived multiple frosts and doing well in our Bees and Butterflies Flower Box.  :D  Nice to see some colors.

The flowers on strawberry plants in the Strawberry Box.  Some got killed by the frosts, but more are coming.  This is these plants' 3rd season.  They're looking really strong and I'm hopeful that they will have a fantastic year. ^_^

That's it for today.  Will have more shots of the chicken coop in progress in the next few days.

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