This blog is meant to be a chronicle of the (mis-) adventures of my family and I as we adjust to country life. I'm a hands-on kinda guy, so many of the posts will take the form of illustrated How-Tos.


Moving the Chickens from Brooder to Mobile Coop

May 20th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

A Feathered ChickenAfter about 4 weeks, Cornish Cross chickens are ready for the move outside. Cornish Crosses are very fast growers. Most other breeds take more like 5-6 weeks to reach this stage. What you want to look for is feather growth. Remember, the reason chicks are placed in a brooder is because they can’t control their body heat and need to be kept warm. Feathers provide the insulation for them to do this on their own. So as soon as your chickens look like the fine specimen on the right, they’re ready for the great outdoors!

(Note: actually, because of the weather… early May was unusually frigid this year… we put off the move about a week to a week and a half. The chickens in the picture are actually a little older than normal.)

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Posted in Chickens, Country Life, Healthy Food, Healthy Living, Organic | No Comments »

How to Run a Chick Brooder Properly

April 25th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

Our Chicken Brooder

Newly-hatched chicks, just like human babies at the beginning of their lives, cannot maintain their own body temperature and so are susceptible to cold or over-heating. This lasts until their fuzz is replaced with feathers, at the age of 4-5 weeks or so. In the wild, chicks are cared for by the mother. However, if you’re hatching eggs in an incubator or ordering day-old chicks, you don’t really have that option — not to mention the fact that domestic hens often make terrible mothers, because of breeding that focused on egg-laying rather than mothering skills.

This is where a brooder comes in. This can be something as simple as a big cardboard box you keep in your bedroom to a setup like we have: an 8’x9′ manufactured wooden shed. The principles are the same though. Read the rest of this entry »

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All Men to Battle Stations: Chicken Hawk, Incoming

April 8th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

Cooper's Hawk, also known as a Chicken HawkWe’ve had chickens for 2 full years now, and our only problem with predation had been our own dogs and passing coyotes. Coyotes are shy of humans and only come by night when the chickens are safely locked up. I’ve only seen one on our property during the day, and it was gone as soon as it saw me. The dogs are not shy at all, and it’s hard to convince them that small running animals should not be chased, but it can be done with a little gentle persuasion.

This Monday, we faced an entirely new kind of predator: Chickenhawk! Specifically, a Cooper’s Hawk. (Photo is courtesy of Wikipedia.) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chickens, Country Life, Guns, In Local News, Pest Control | 2 Comments »

Spring is in the Air (for us Farmers, that is)

March 6th, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

Though our fields may currently look like THIS (poor Tuna sinking in the snow up to the ears!) it’s the time to start gearing up for the growing season.

Tuna Sinking in Snow
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Posted in Chickens, Country Life, Winter | No Comments »

How to Make a Mobile Chicken Coop

January 2nd, 2010 by Blogging Farmer

Chickens!The finished coopIf you have at all considered raising chickens at home, you have probably heard of Joel Salatin. If you haven’t, then I just told you about him. He’s a highly recommended read for the small-scale farmer concerned with raising animals efficiently, ethically and without the use of hormones or antibiotics.

Tuna, the Bull TerrierShark, the Great PyreneesFor chickens, Salatin recommends using mobile chicken coops with open bottoms. These allow chickens to free-range (allowing them to be healthier and happier), while also protecting them from predators (we’ve two dogs that are not averse to the occasional chicken) and keeping them confined (ever tried chasing down a loose chicken?). These are step-by-step instructions on how to build a mobile chicken coop.

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Posted in Chickens, DIY, How To | 7 Comments »