Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 2012 in Review, Part I: Chickens and a Lost Toddler

My goodness, March has been a crazy month! In the midst of even more than the usual chaos (and a whole lot of basketball watching - we are a family of rabid college basketball fans) we managed to get quite a lot accomplished. In fact, I have so much to talk about that my usual monthly review post grew outrageously long. I realized that no one would read a blog post the size of War and Peace so I decided to split it up in parts. Here's part one. 


We had a few misadventures along the way, but our chicks arrived in mid-March and we've settled into an easy rhythm. We completed the final bit of the chicken moat before the little buggers even arrived. Hopefully it will keep our chickens secure because a coyote has been sighted around our place recently. 

The north end of the chicken moat finished and attached to the coop

Of course it will be a little while yet before the chicks leave the security of their brooder and are allowed to roam the moat. At two weeks of age, I moved their brooder out of one of our bathrooms and into the coop. I really enjoyed having them in the house - it was so delightful to hear their antics while I was doing school with my children - but they were starting to produce quite a bit of dust. Thankfully the unusually warm temperatures we've had this year meant that the coop was plenty warm for the little chooks. I even turn off their brooder lamp during the day because it has been getting upwards of 90 degrees in the coop. 

Brooder set up in the coop. 

Unfortunately, the little runt chick we named Ora (short for "Ora et Labora", which means "Pray and work" in Latin) ended up dying three days after the chicks arrived. I think she never fully absorbed her yolk sack and was doomed from the start. Ora's death combined with Meyer Hatchery shorting me a chick meant that we were two chicks down, so I went to Tractor Supply Co. and bought two replacements. Apparently TSC has a policy of selling a minimum of six chicks. I managed to browbeat  persuade the lady in charge of the chicks to let me buy only two chicks by swearing that I had 15 more at home in my brooder. I came home with one straight-run Silver Laced Wyandotte and this little girl who I selected from the "Red Pullet" bin.

"Little Red" on the day we got her. She is probably a Rhode Island Red or Production Red 

Despite the fact that we have chickens of fancier breeds, it is Little Red who has become our favorite chicken. Little Red isn't so little any more. I can't believe how much she and all the other chicks have grown already.

Little Red and her flockmates 

They are quickly losing their chick down and feathers are growing in. They aren't as cute as they were two weeks ago, but they are starting to look edible, so that's some consolation!

"Eek! There's a human trying to pet us!"

They aren't so sure about me and run to the farthest corner of the brooder whenever I approach. I think they are trying to help me not get attached! 

The remainder of their "Baby Cake" and dandelions

We are feeding the hungry little birds chopped hard-boiled egg, dandelions, and forage cake as supplements. They quickly polish off everything I bring them. They are such fascinating little creatures. I could spend all day with them if I didn't have children who require food, education and attention. Pesky things, children! ;) 

And then there's this little fact

My new official chicken farmer boots and my baggy, saggy pants

I have to roll up my pants when I go out to visit the chickens. That's because there's less of me holding them up off the ground and as a consequence they drag a bit. If I don't roll them up, I come back with all sorts of fun surprises stuck to them. 

Why are they so saggy you ask? Because I've lost over 30 lb. That's a whole toddler! Just had to share. 

Coming soon:

Part II, Bug Out Bag Upgrade


  1. Congratulations on losing your toddler! This past year I have also lost 35 lbs. I did it to get healthy (ok, vanity DID have just a LITTLE to do with it, too). As unstable as things are out in the world, I did not want to have to be dealing with health issues, especially ones that were completely under my control. After a complete physical last week, my test results came back and I am healthier than I have been in years. It feels good.

    Now--If you haven't done so, get thee immediately out and buy at least one pair of nice 'fittin' jeans or capris, cute pair of shoes, and another accessory. Put them all on, stand in front of a full-length mirror (for as long as you want), and say to yourself "I'm healthy, I'm healthy, I'm smokin hot--I mean I'm healthy."

    Seriously, I know how hard it is to do what you have done.

    Also, chickens! I love chickens and want me some...husband is not yet convinced.

  2. Anonymous - Thanks! Congrats to you, too. Tell your husband that chickens are easier than a dog. They really are! They are pretty low-maintainence and don't have to be smelly if you manage them properly.

  3. Congratulations on your weight loss!! I hope someday to be able to say that I lost a toddler also!! Chicks are so fun and they just get better with age because they give you eggs. I really enjoy your blog and appreciate all the good information you share!!

  4. Love your boots! I have a pair just like em. Your chicks are adorable. I'm only allowed 6 hens in my area. I have two hens and 2 Rhodie chicks that are 2 weeks old. I love watching them.

  5. Please share how you lost your toddler?!?!?! I wanna lose one too!

    1. Anonymous - No great secret here, it was plain old diet and exercise. I track what I eat on It's amazing how much I was eating without even thinking about it. I've plateaued over the last month but I need to get back at it. I'd like to lose at least a preschooler by the fall!