Friends! We’ve made it through the depths of Winter and every single day we are blessed with more and more light - hallelujah, amiright?!
As many of you know, my partner and I sold our house last Fall and moved to a much older and smaller home in Vancouver. It was absolutely the right decision for us and it was absolutely gut wrenching to leave both my garden and my flock of 9 chickens back at the old homestead.
When we moved I knew it wasn’t the time to try and scramble to get a chicken coop ready to move over a few of our current flock. It was November, the holiday season was approaching quickly and I just needed to let go completely. This is new for me. Normally I’m the type of person to try and get it all done and this lesson in being honest with myself and what my capacity really was, and is, felt refreshing and truly liberating. Nevertheless the move was brutal, but we survived. And now - it’s time to start planning the garden!!!
So we have this sort of alley space near our “garage”, which happens to butt up against where the vegetable garden will be and it’s PERFECT for three (or four…five) small-ish chickens! I thought this would be a great opportunity to share with you our plan for getting some baby chicks, taking care of them indoors for the next few weeks while we build their new home and maybe answer some questions for you in the meantime if you’re considering this yourself.So! I know lots of folks will do this sort of thing in their garage or laundry room but between an all-too-curious doggo and two mischievous cats at home, that’s not going to fly. I’m lucky to have the shop and the girls there to help me with the task of caring for these little babes because chickies need care, Every. Single. Day.
So here’s what we’re starting with:A brooder: A brooder is essentially a container in which to keep the chicks so they are safe while growing up. In this case, I’m using a large plastic tote that I use to store my seed starting stuff. It’s perfect that these two things happen at once so once the chicks are grown and ready to be put outside, I’ll be able to pack up my seed starting stuff for next year and put it away.
I’ll be lining the bottom of this with lots of cardboard and paper material we have lying around as well as pine shavings to make sure they have plenty of space and a good footing inside.A source of heat: Heat lamps are definitely a thing of the past. They’re perfectly fine because using what you have is best, but because I’ve fussed with them in years past, this year I decided to go for a brooder plate. It’s basically a floating heat mat for them. They can get under it, like they would under mama and it doesn’t overheat them or risk fire. Plus, it store flat so I can keep it around. *smirk*
Food & water: We’re starting with four chicks so I’m not too worried about getting really fancy with this. But this does need to be changed every day - thanks Emily & Lexie!
The main thing I’ve learned is to keep it clean above all else. Otherwise, feed them, handle them, love them and enjoy their sweet little cheeps. And of course, keep an eye out for any signs of illness, in which case consult a professional.They’ll be ready for the outside world very very soon. This is pretty weather dependent - it needs to be decently warm for them so I’ll wait for at least 6-8 weeks. In the meantime, come and visit them! They’ll be in the shop by the end of the week, eeekkk!