Sunday, March 4, 2012

Brooder 2.0


Everyone here on the Shawhan farm survived Friday's crazy storm that blew through. Personally we didn't get anything all that bad. I had the experience of riding out the lightening and torrential rain in the barn. I don't think the chickens liked it all that much since they wouldn't shut up the whole time...unless it was just my presence. We were VERY fortunate and our hearts and prayers go out to all those who weren't so lucky.

As I mentioned before, one of the silver linings of having The Fortress is that when it does rain that hard, the coop no longer floods. Water had leaked into the garage where the chicks are at, but thankfully Brooder 2.0 kept them dry.

I call it Brooder 2.0 because last year all we used was an old metal water tank with lights and no lid. I remember not sleeping much the night of the day we brought the chicks home because I was worried something would sneak in the garage and get them. I can not say this enough that we lucked out with Flock 1 until recently. No chicks were a meal to anyone and we didn't lose any to sickness or accidents....until Ms. Fluffy Feathers decided to cross the road....

After feeding the weasel so many plump and yummy chickens a few weeks ago, we weren't going to take our chances with Flock 2. So Dan created Brooder 2.0, which is a smaller, plastic water tank. It's 25 inches tall and about the same deep. It's close to a yard wide and long. Eventually we will have to move the chicks into the metal water tank which is longer, but for now the babies are comfortable in this one. Brooder 2.0 is furnished with the same two heat lamps we used last year (250 Watts and 125 Watts).

The fluff balls have access to a feeder that is always full, fresh water daily and a brick they can perch on. Now newspaper is used for bedding (and maybe some leisurely reading..ha ha), and I'm happy to report I haven't had to scrub any more butts. But what it is most comforting, to me anyway, is the lid Brooder 2.0 has. Dan made a wooden lid that is framed in with plywood and a big square of left over chain mail from the construction of The Fortress. This lid is 32 inches long and 22 inches wide. In order to keep this lid open, however, Brooder 2.0 comes with an attractive broken broom handle.

Though the new brooding facility on the Shawhan farm seems predator-proof, I am very sorry and sad to report that one of the chicks died this morning. As Dan removed the body, he said it looked as if one of her claws was either stuck in her head or fluff. Who knows if her little leg was broken, or maybe something else was, or she couldn't get up to eat and drink...I don't know. I'm pretty bummed. But as it stands we won't get anymore unless we lose a significant number. We still have 30 chickens, which is where I wanted to be this time this year. I just pray it isn't a disease or anything.

"Our chicks lay the best!"

                                                                    ...cluck... cluck... chirp... chirp...

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