Getting new baby chicks on a farm in the spring is a rite of passage. This spring, we decided to get two separate sets of baby chicks. I could not resist some beautiful yellow leghorn chicks at Tractor Supply on Good Friday. Back in February, I had already ordered 30 chicks, 15 Plymouth Barred Rock and 15 Easter Eggers. They came a week early so the two sets are only five weeks apart.
Last week, we got new baby chicks. They were, in fact, supposed to be mailed out to us today from Ideal Poultry in Texas. I ordered them back in February and this is the first week that chicks would be available. We have not been able to find chicks in any of the farm stores like we have other years. We will be getting them at the end of May. In the meantime, I found nine baby Leghorn chicks at Tractor Supply on April 7, 2023.
So last Monday, I got a call from Ideal Poultry saying my chick order could be filled right then if I wanted it a week early. I said yes and the next morning, they arrived at the post office. My son, Matt, drove down to the post office because David and I were at the doctor's office.
Good Monday morning! I had a miserable night of not sleeping much. I started out in the bed and then I woke up around 2:15am with my toes itching something terrible. I went to the living room couch and could not sleep. That couch is horrible on the back when you recline. After about an hour, I got up and went to the couch in the den. The puppies started barking enough to wake the dead. I finally got into position and then Pamela tried to climb up on me. She finally went away and Sue Ellen laid down on my left arm. She licked my right hand somehow. After that, she was chill and just stayed there next to me but I couldn't fall asleep for the longest time. David got up and 6am and the dogs went wild so I got up and got dressed. Fun night.
Now it is almost 8am and I have fed all of the indoor animals. Matt is out back feeding everyone. The well water seems to be working partially now. David said there was a lot of sand that got into the pump due to the rain. I noticed that a lot of sand washed away out by the animal sheds so when it dries, they will need to put the sand back where it was.
I spent most of today adding information to all of our current listings. Actually, I have barely scratched the surface. We have about 1600 seed varieties. I am adding information about heirloom and open pollinated seeds and also about companion planting. We have companion planting information on our websites but now each listing will include it to make it easier for the customer.
We didn't get anymore rain today. It was very humid and hot.
When you plan on getting new baby chicks, make sure that everything is ready before you bring them home. Get some sort of brooder like a box or a galvanized tub. A cardboard box won't last long because the chicks will get it wet by going potty and by spilling their water.
Line the brooder with finely shaved wood pieces so the baby chicks will be comfortable. Buy some radiant heaters to keep your chicks warm.
Don't use a heat lamp for your new chicks. We did the first time and it was worrisome. It could fall off the clamp and burn up the chicks. Getting new baby chicks should not involve so much worry. Get one of the chick hot plates. They are marvelous. As the chickens grow, they get on top and poop on it but at least they are safe.
Plug the radiant heaters in and test them to make sure they work. Once they get warm, it is okay to unplug them until the night before your chicks come. Now get a chick feeding dish and water dish. You can find them at feed stores or on Amazon.
Before your chicks come by mail or from the store, fill the waterer and the feeder before they arrive (same day). You will need to get chick crumble, not regular chick feed, for babies to feed the chicks plus chick grit (not regular grit but special grit for babies). Chicks need grit to be able to digest their food.
Good Tuesday morning. I have to go to the doctor this morning so he can check on my blood pressure. Hopefully, the new meds are working. He will also go over my blood work with me. Fun times.
Right now it is 7am and 69°.
I went to the doctor at 10:45am. Good news! I do not have diabetes. Not so good news! I have to double up on the new blood pressured medicine as it is not lowering my blood pressure enough. I have to go back in three weeks for a check.
I got to see the Rossville Fire Department in action today on our road. It was interesting to see that the Poteet firetrucks, the Jourdanton firetrucks, and even one from Lytle showed up, as well as an Atascosa ambulance. We have donated to the fire department since we have been out here but never saw them in action before. We were impressed. My father was a volunteer fireman when I was little and he loved it. It gave him something worthwhile to do with his time. He felt like he was helping to make a difference. Then we moved to El Paso and their firemen are paid so he was not able to do that anymore.
The last several times I was getting new baby chicks, they were always getting wood shavings in their water. This time, I put some wood pieces in the brooder and I put the waterers on top of the wood. They are still getting wood shavings in the water, but not as often or as much. At first, I was afraid that the day old chicks would not be able to reach, but they do reach to drink.
One problem with getting new baby chicks is trying to keep the wood shavings dry. They splash out the water onto the wood shavings so they are always damp. Scoop them out and put new wood shavings down often. The damp wood shavings are not good for the chicks' feet. This makes the chicks cold and they will stop eating and can die.
I have been keeping the brooders plugged in so they can stay warm at all times. Of course, it is May and most days and nights are quite warm. I am having to leave the screened windows open for a cross ventilation so they do not overheat, at least for the first week of life.
Once the chicks feather out and their down is gone, which starts happening the first week, they do not need the brooder any longer unless it is very cold outside.
On day four, the wing feathers started coming out on the chicks. It won't be long and these fuzzy little chicks will be small birds with feathers and they will be flying by week three.
I woke up around 3am and it was pouring! This morning around 6am, the decks were still wet but the rain had stopped.
It is hot and miserably humid today. It is now 11:30am and 83°. The humidity is 44% but it feels nasty out. Isn't that interesting?
We have already had several customers this morning and I only have three dozen eggs left. The citronella plants are moving fast.
We interviewed some teenagers this afternoon who are going to help us with weeding and other yard tasks this summer. We can always use some help with outdoor chores, especially in the hot summer.
Getting new baby chicks is a lot of fun. It is also a bit inconvenient at times. For instance, our new chicks are ten days old and one has already been hopping out of the galvanized tub. Their wing feathers are in so they are learning to fly. This means we will need to move them out to their coop sooner than usual. We moved our last chicks out at three weeks old and that was just three weeks ago. As long as it stays hot, it should be okay to move them out soon.
Good afternoon, readers! Today has been a very busy day. I went out early this morning and fed and watered all of the animals by myself. It takes a lot longer these days, now that we have two sets of babies. The leghorns turned seven weeks old today and the new chicks, Easter Eggers and Plymouth Barred Rocks, are now 11 days old. Their wings are feathered so they have begun to fly but they still have some chick fuzz on them so they still need the radiant heaters. That means I cannot move them outdoors yet. It gets pretty hot and I have two windows open for a cross ventilation breeze.
Two new teenagers started with us today. They will be helping us part time this summer. Our two Thursday teen helpers were sick today so they were not here. We also have another worker starting next Tuesday. He has worked here before.
My potatoes are looking sort of sad ever since the bugs got on them and they got sprayed about three weeks ago. Hopefully, they make a come back. Some have died. I am so disappointed.
I noticed that some of my peanut plants are getting yellow flowers on them.
My sweet potato vines came in today's mail. I rushed them to the house as soon as I could and opened up some smushed, dried vines. I put them in water so I am hoping they recover.
It is now 2:21pm and the temperature is 86° Fahrenheit. The sky has grown overcast. There is no rain in the forecast but I think we might get some.
UWR (Underground Water Resources), the people who dug our well, were just here again for something. David did not tell me they were coming. Anyway, they came in and got some snacks for the road and some chicken eggs. By the way, I have two dozen left.
Sure enough, around 3:30pm, it started sprinkling. I ran out back and fed and watered everyone and collected the eggs. By the time I was done, it was coming down pretty good. It stopped around 4pm.
I am going to make a pork tenderloin and vegetables for dinner. I will also bake some mini banana bread loaves, some of which will be for sale tomorrow in the Farm Store.
At 5pm, I closed the Farm Store and started chopping vegetables. I made a pork tenderloin with roasted potatoes, carrots, onions, and mushrooms. As a side dish, on the stove, I cooked together some yellow squash, zucchini, onion, and green bell pepper in olive oil. It was so delicious. We had garden fresh strawberries with whipped cream for dessert. I also baked mini loaves of banana bread to sell tomorrow.
Matt is in Pleasanton getting some things done and getting more chicken supplies. It is now raining. As the rain started, I ran outback and took care of all of the outdoor animals. The baby chicks had their water filled with wood shavings again so I got them new water and food. I got the bigger chicks food and then took care of everyone else and collected the eggs.
We have been harvesting things like crazy today. We have green and purple bell peppers for sale in the store as well as multi colored carrots and some pretty big green onions. Come on by in the morning and pick up the fresh veggies that are for sale. Peppers are 75¢ each and carrots and Crystal White Wax onions are $2 a bunch. They are huge and you can use the green parts as well. They won't last long. While you're at it, pick up a dozen of my farm fresh eggs that my chickens really do lay here on the farm.
We also harvested some yellow squash, small tomatoes, strawberries, and Shishito peppers today.
Our Leghorn chicks are seven weeks old today and it looks like we have just one male and eight ladies. None of the rest has a comb and wattle red like our Foghorn Leghorn. Who knew that we would be getting new baby chicks twice in one spring?
Today, our baby chicks are 11 days old and they are flying up on the sticks we have in the galvanized tub and flying back down. One actually flew out yesterday but, so far today, they are staying in. Soon, we will have to put the netting up to keep them in.
Of course, their favorite thing to do is to kick the wood shavings into their water so they can't drink. I just ran out there again to empty the water dishes and fill them up again with cool water. The chicks are really active now, even the chick who is deformed with cross beak is peeping and moving around and eating and drinking so I guess she will be just fine. Her beak is actually sort of straightening so maybe it won't be so bad. I know it really hurt my heart to look at her when we first got them.
The chicks are about halfway feathered out already. Their wings are feathered and they are starting to come in on other parts of their little bodies. They are putting away a lot of chick crumble and chick grit. They actually all get up on the feed dish and eat. It is funny.
They poo a lot and they are getting up on the radiant heaters and pooping on them. I know I will have to clean them soon but I would like someone else to be in there with me. Thirty of them all at once is a lot. I decided to feed everyone a little early because it is raining and Matt is gone right now.
Here it is, Friday. Don't forget we are closed tomorrow. I have to get stuff taken care of at home. Everything is a mess because I have no time.
It is 72° already at 7am. I have to get outside and start feeding all of our farm animals.
All of the farm animals and fish have been taken care of. I took the new eggs to the Farm Store, along with the banana bread mini loaves I baked. I had to water a lot of plants out front so I am a bit wet right now.
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David called me in to find something for him and then I started emptying cabinets. It is a good thing I have a three day weekend because I have a mess to clean up!
We did sell some banana bread and some carrots. Very few customers came in. I get it. It is graduation and end of school time. Plus, this is Memorial Day weekend so folks are going out of town. I am going to get some things done in the house that I have been wanting to do for a very long time. I usually get a one day weekend so I am thrilled that I will be getting three whole days off.
Our goji berries, peaches, blackberries, and grapes were ripe today so some were picked.
Yesterday, I had to change out the chick water five times because they kept filling it with wood shavings. The water containers were up on blocks of wood. This morning, we added another block of wood. Hopefully, that will help some.
Meanwhile, the leghorns are really getting big and they are only seven weeks old. They are so pretty. Leghorns are not very friendly and they don't get broody. I read this about them online. I did not know anything at all about them except that they lay white eggs.
Well, another baby chick flew the brooder so we had to put the netting on today. They are almost two weeks old. They grow up so fast!
Saturday! My Saturday! I work every Saturday in the Farm Store. It is a rare day when I am not in the Farm Store and today is one of those rare days. We are closed until Tuesday. I got up early and fed all of the animals. Then I started watering plants. There are so many and no one is here the entire weekend to help. They should have watered everything well yesterday but a lot of plants out by the store are dry. So I got half of them watered and I will have to do the other half tomorrow.
I cleaned out the pond and refilled it. It is looking dark in there. The UV light went out so the algae is taking over. We need to get that replaced. You can barely see the fish and I am cleaning it out twice a week now.
Then I watered all of the trees and plants in my plant area. Another dipper gourd seed came up this week so I took it out back and planted it with the other gourd plants.
I harvested the last of my orange hat cherry tomatoes and pulled up the plants. They were all dead. They are determinate patio plants that make so many tomatoes and then die. The tomatoes are pretty but not very sweet. I bought those seeds a few years ago from another seed company as we do not carry them.
Then David said we had to go to the firehouse to pick up some briskets. This is a fundraiser for the Rossville Volunteer Fire Department. We bought four and gave three away. The brisket is tasty and huge. We will eat it all weekend.
My plan was to make a peach cobbler with our peach harvest but David wanted a chocolate cake so I made that. I will make the peach cobbler for Memorial Day.
I went in the pool after David got it clean, except for bugs. I don't understand how there can be any bugs left alive after I scooped out what seemed like millions of them. After about an hour, I actually got to swim. The water was 85° and it felt amazing. Dark clouds gathered above so I thought we would actually get rain. It passed.
Then it was time to take care of the animals and collect eggs. I think the girls know it is a holiday weekend because I got just seven eggs. I only had a few left in the house. I got cleaned out of eggs on Friday. Every carton I had in the store got bought for $4.95 a carton.
Svengoolie was another replay so we watched something weird with zombies off of Amazon Prime. David and Matt enjoyed it. I slept through it. Then we watched some Perry Mason.
Well, our beautiful baby chicks are now 12 days old and they can fly so we had to put up some shade cloth to act as netting to keep them in the galvanized tub. They need at least another week to completely feather out so they can get away from the heaters and live outdoors in the heat. Of course, if it were fall or winter, we would keep them in the brooder a lot longer but since it is hot outside, they will be fine as long as they are fully feathered.
They are still splashing their water out and filling where they drink with wood shavings. It is a constant battle with me. I want them to have fresh water to drink and they are having fun playing with wood shavings.
Good Sunday morning and Happy Memorial Day weekend! We had a beautiful pink sunrise just a little while ago. Alexa says we may get thunder showers today. I hope I can use the pool again. I really need that exercise.
Well, it is now 6:30pm. We did not get a drop of rain. I have taken care of all of the animals for the evening. Of course, I will still have to go back out and put them away for the night at 8pm. I got 11 eggs today instead of yesterday's seven. It has stayed fairly cool with a nice breeze and is currently 81°.
We went to church this morning. It was a good service but with our sweet neighbors missing since their home was destroyed by fire this past week. They are fine but no longer have a place to live here so they are staying with family. I cannot express how much I miss them but they say they are fine.
We are preparing food for Memorial Day and watching Perry Mason. We are on the last half of the last season, second disc. Then, of course, we have 14 movies to get through before we say goodbye to Perry and Della. Paul Drake did not survive to make any of the movies. So sad.
This is my third set of chicks where I am using radiant heaters instead of the dangerous heat lamp. I bought a second larger radiant heater because this set of chicks is so large. I ordered 30. So far, all 30 are alive and well, even the defective little one whose mouth doesn't close and is missing an eye. I feel so bad for her.
I emailed Ideal Poultry and told them they should not have shipped me a defective chick because it makes me feel so bad. I heard back that they are refunding me and they apologized and said it was a shipping error. That really doesn't help. It is not about the money. It is about me feeling horrible about this poor chick. So far, she seems to be eating and drinking because she is walking around and growing like the rest of them. Still, I feel like I should not have to feel bad every time I go in there...
I got my Ideal Poultry refund for the defective chick but I think she will make it. As she has grown, her beak top and bottom are getting a little closer together and she chirps just like the rest of the chicks. She is the same size and eats and drinks and clogs the water up with wood shavings just like the rest.
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