Barn Love

Friday, February 28, 2014

What's that noise in your kitchen?

Last week I told you how to get started if you really want to raise your own chickens and have fresh eggs by late-summer.  This week, a funny story about how they wound up in our kitchen.

First, a bit of back story:

When my husband ordered our chicks, he assured me that the post office would call him and we would have to drive there and pick them up. We weren't quite sure when they would arrive but he had the "stuff we needed" in one of the farm's out buildings.  The phone never rang, but to my surprise, here comes the mail truck with what appeared to be a chirping munchkin box.

At the time, our son was 6 months old and I completely freaked out at the prospect of dealing with the new chickens alone. I called Jeff's grand mom and asked her to keep an eye on Kooper while I collected both my composure and the "stuff" for our new babies. I returned to our house to check the munchkin box (which was on the counter) only to discover that one of the chickens HAD JUMPED OUT OF THE BOX!!  I frantically called Jeff and said "BUT JEFFREY, WE HAVE A CHICKEN RUNNING AROUND IN OUR KITCHEN!".  To this day he can't keep a straight face when telling the story…  and little did I know, those darlings would eventually have a temporary home in a crate in the kitchen.

Brand new, hovered on the heating pack that they were shipped with.
*Note* This is NOT food..boy was I glad that I didn't feed it to them!  


They need to be kept at 95º in a place that isn't drafty.  The best way to do this is with a heat lamp. However, they will need to be in a place where all of your chicks can be under the heat lamp, yet still be able to move around enough to cool off if needed.

A rubbermaid container, old cardboard box, or an old laundry sink would be perfect.  These are all ideal places for the chickens to spend their first weeks. Once they are big enough to start jumping around you should place chicken wire over the top of your container to prevent escapees.

And when you are finished using the laundry tub for chickens it makes a great prop for a spring photo session!  Isn't my son the cutest?!


The chickens also needed to be in a place that was free of predators.  Naturally, we decided on our kitchen - I mean, isn't that what you would have done?  Oh..  did I mention that our son had just started sleeping through the night and the baby chicks chirped what seemed like ALL night?!

WEEKS 2-4:

Each week after the first week, the temperature can be dropped by 5º.  The idea is to keep them warm until their feathers are completely filled in.  In our area, the weather isn't warm enough for them to be outside until about mid-April.

Hanging out under the heater. 

This was simply trial and error. We were nervous first time chicken parents. The second year that we ordered chickens I made it clear that they would NOT be welcome in our home. Jeff constructed a brooder. Basically a box  made with a old pallet and plywood. This is where the chickens lived in the farm's out building until they were ready to be outside in the coop.


Heat Lamp
Food - Chicken Starter
Pine Chips or Newspaper

In our next segment, you can read more about feeding/watering/and caring for your chickens.  Sometimes caring for your chickens can mean rubbing olive oil on their butts - I KNOW that you want to hear that tale!

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