Monday, February 22, 2010

Who the H@$# is Calling This Early!

6:30 AM and the phone is ringing off the hook. The kids have stolen my bedroom phone so I stumble out of bed and into the kitchen to look for it before it goes to the answer machine. Stumbling over the dog next to the bed and running into a kitchen chair I grab the phone about half a sentence into a message that someone is trying to leave. "Hello".

"Hi Sue? This is Ann from the post office. Your chicks have just arrived. You can come to the back door and ring the bell to get them."

"Oh my god! Really? Ok! Thanks"!

I Stumble back into the bedroom screeching and whispering at the same time for the Man to "Get up!" bashing into walls and trying to find clothes to put on.

"Oh crap! The heat lamps need to be turned on! I'm not ready! We gotta go get them! I gotta get the waterer's filled! Where are my shoes. I have to go turn on the lights so it will warm up!........."

Right about that time I think the man was thinking how he could just shoot me. He went out to the palace and turned on the lights to warm up the brooder box and started the jeep so we could go. He wasn't fooling me. He was excited too.

About that time our youngest teen slid into the kitchen rubbing her eyes and wanting to know who called. She always thinks its for her and it would be a crime if she missed a call. "The chicks are at the post office!" She ran back up the stairs screeching the news yelling at me that they where going to leave for school late today.

The post office is just a few minutes away but HE decided to take the long way around."Where are you going?!!"

"Will you just chill? I'm getting the jeep warm before we get them. Don't get your panties in a bunch".

OK so there was frost on the ground but we finally got there and rang the bell. Like an expectant grandma I snapped pictures while The Man accepted the box from the post mistress. Peeping all the way home I carried the box into the kitchen and into the waiting hands of two excited girls that were dying to get their hands on them. After about 15 minutes of holding and looking for the special chicks they had requested the girls went off to school and I was able to get the little peeps their first drink of water since being hatched.

Very few people know that these little guys are hatched and packed and sent off in the mail without food or water. At the time of hatch chicks absorb the yolk in the egg and that sustains them for up to 3 days. Guess the egg really is the perfect food.

The Man and I spent the rest of the morning adjusting lights, rearranging water fonts and food dishes and just watching our little charges. After lunch we were both ready for a nap. How can something so little be so much work. But instead The Man got busy building the outside runs and I got busy with the on going garden construction.

I went on with my day checking on them every half hour or so until the girls got home. At that point we had built in baby sitters. I find this amusing since one of them is old enough to drive and the other will be taking drivers ed next year. I'm sure it will be short lived.

Did I mention that The Man is a gadget guy? He bought an electronic thermometer with a wireless monitor that you can set a high and low alarm on. If the temp in the brooder box goes below or above a certain temperature a persistent alarm goes off. Hmmmm. Guess we wont be getting much sleep tonight.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Palace Comes Together

And just in time. It is getting down to the wire for the babes to show up but the man has all the windows in and the inside door separating the two halves of the building done.

Today I will go to the feed store and get supplies. Feeders, waters, chick starter, grit, and chips for bedding. I found an extra large box and the heat lamps to keep the little bugs warm.

The man is finishing up the building and will start digging post holes for the runs. One on each end of the building. My job is to paint. Thats always my job but it wont get done before the big day.

BTW if anyone would like help or advice on how to build or design a chicken coup I would be glad to help. Email or just leave a comment on this blog. This isn't the only coup design in the world but they all have the same requirements for keeping healthy happy chickens.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Moving right along...

We are moving along in our venture. You probably have noticed that the dates on this blog are also all in February. I was a little late getting the text started but I made sure I took the photos for the construction on the Chicken Palace. These pictures were all taken in January. I will be playing catch up for the next few days putting in posts that should have been done a month ago so hopefully you will be patient while I catch up to the current date. I also had the problem of learning how to use my new camera that I got for Christmas and downloading the software so I could post to this blog. So much to learn that I really don't want to know!

So as you can see The Man started shortly after the New Year and we now have a roof! Only five windows, a door, four walls, a covered fenced run, nest boxes, roost,.....uh.. ya. It will happen. I hope. I think. I HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THE MAN! I will help. I will go to the feed store and get The Man some inspiration.

The local feed store got their first order of chicks in today and I almost couldn't resist taking just two of the little fuzz balls home. One of the girls was really pushing to get two of them with promises of keeping them in her room. I don't know how I resisted but I managed to walk out without For now I will just have to be satisfied with getting my equipment ready for the delivery of my chick order. Tomorrow's another day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Spring in January and the Chicken Palace

A new year and with Christmas boxed up and sent packing my mind turns to more springlike endeavors. Seed catalogs are rolling into my mailbox along with catalogs from the many hatcheries that have tantalized me with pictures of heritage chickens, geese, and ducks.

I am bugging The Man to get out there and start the new "Chicken Palace" and true to his word he made the arduous (and expensive) trip to the lumber store. Of course he may have received inspiration when I told him I had ordered 26 chicks to arrive here in February. Guess he doesn't really want them in our laundry room.

The palace is designed to mirror the architecture of our house and will include a storage loft and potting area or hobby side with the chickens on one side and my stuff on the other. We also have plans to install an automatic door to close shortly after dark so if I am not home in time from some shopping excursion, my feathered darlings will be safely tucked away in their portion of the palace away from night time predators. (More on this later). All this of course will be neatly executed by The Man. I will put it on THE LIST.

Yes I really did order 25 chicks. (The 26th chick is a free one chosen and sent by the hatchery) Our girls wanted Silkie Bantams and selected 4 of them. One of each color. Black, white, buff, and blue. I selected 2 light Brahma bantams and added Buff Orpingtons, large light Brahmas, New Hampshire reds, Black Austalorps, and Speckled Sussex just to round out the flock with hens that will actually lay a respectably sized egg. Hopefully the 26th "free" chick won't be the ugly "turkey neck" breed. This is a really ugly chicken that looks like it got a head transplant from a small turkey. I can't imagine any self respecting rooster having amorous thoughts for this one no matter how desperate and if that one comes with my lovely ladies I will be desperate to unload it.

I have every confidence that the new digs will be ready and waiting for the babes when they get here but just in case I think I better go assist The Man.