May 26, 2010

Travails of a Newbie Chicken Rancher

Nothing serious, really, just a few minor worries for the nervous novice.
Worry Number One: baby chicks grow really fast! The Girlies have been here for a month and they are looking like miniature versions of official grownup chickens. They have outgrown their original rent-a-brooder and expanded into larger but still temporary housing.

Here are the two side-by-side, taking up almost the entire floor of my small greenhouse. My tomato starts are also growing at an alarming rate, but it is darned hard getting at them to water, stake, etc. Plus everything is starting to be coated with the fine reddish dust that seems to be exuded by chicken feathers. Ick.

Worry Number Two: The nights are still cold -- near or below freezing, and my official chicken quarters are still under construction. The Chicky Day Spa is still working ok, but it is not secure against night-time predators, so I have to move them back and forth between it and the greenhouse morning and night. Today we had a thunderstorm, and I hastily ran out and added yet more unattractive layers of protection to the already homely contraption.

Worry Number Three: Carnage in the Hen House. Due to overcrowding, boredom, nutritional deficiencies, basic chicken orneriness or all of the above, one of my chicks is getting pecked by the others. I found her one day last week, standing dejectedly facing into the corner of the day spa, with her wee chicken bootie bloodied and her nascent tail feathers sadly diminished. Oh Oh Oh. A quick trip to the feed store for some

I tell you, this is some excellent stuff. Thick purple glop that you slurp over the wounded area, it contains such ingredients as pine tar, aloe vera, tea tree oil and more. It is an all-in-one cure-all, serving to soothe raw bloody tissues, taste bad to would-be peckers, fight infection, promote healing and dye the area a nice dark color that doesn't attract chickens' eye. They are drawn to the color red, alas. This is Betty, my only reddish chick. I guess she is just different enough from the other chicks to cause them to peck. Bad chickens!

But it's working and I am keeping an eye out for further cannibalism. You have to love the brand name 'Rooster Booster', don't you? I bet it would be champion for all kinds of human ailments as well. I may add a bottle to my bathroom medicine cabinet. It would probably cure athlete's foot, head lice, hangnails, cold sores, possibly even malaria and cancer. Get yours now.

We are waiting with bated breath for the official housing. Our builder is finishing it up, and hopefully it will be delivered this weekend! The chickies are excited too, even if they don't know why. Here is a link to the place that is making our henhouse:

Tomorrow I head to the paint store to look at paint chips. I'm thinking deep purple with green trim .......... forest green with brown trim....... It's going to be a yuppie hen house, so why not enjoy myself?

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