Monday, May 18, 2009

The comets are out!

Today I’m posting a photo of my chickens, which are now grown large enough to be outside. For the past 5 weeks, I’ve had them in a hamster cage in my bedroom, growing them from day-old chicks under a brood lamp to the 5 week old babies you see here. They are laying hens; the breed is Golden Comet.

I am hoping to get eggs from them later this summer, my own little homegrown hedge against the economy and high food prices. Currently, I have eight, which is more than I will need to keep me in eggs. I expected to lose a few and figured having a few extra would be smart. So far none of them have died, but they have only been outside since Saturday, and going outside is a big step.

Another part of my chicken experiment is that I didn’t want to spend a lot of money for my chicken arrangement. In the first place, as peeps, the chickens cost $2, and spending lots of money on $2 chickens doesn’t seem smart. Plus, if the chickens or their set-up cost more than the eggs they will hopefully lay, that wouldn’t be smart either.

So, I used a chain-link dog run that the dogs hated for their outside pen, covered with a tarp. I did buy a $10 brood lamp, and a waterer and feeder ($2 each). Plus I’m currently using a fancy cat litter box with ramp, ($21) which they love, and an ordinary covered litter box, which they hate, both filled with straw from my dad’s barn. I will have to come up with something better for them by winter, but that gives me some time yet to hopefully scavenge something suitable.

My arrangement should keep out raccoons and fox, hopefully. The hawks shouldn’t be able to get at them. Weasels would have a field day, but I’ve never seen a weasel here, and I hope they stay away long enough for me to find a semi-decent chicken shelter. For now, all is well, at least it was when I left the cabin this morning.


Wanda said...

We tried the same with our dog run with an entrance into a shed...but being inexperienced...did not have a top cover...Everything went well for a while...loved gathering the eggs...but a few were killed by a raccoon possibly...frustrated we gave the others away to save them...Maybe we should try again with a tarp.

Carolyn H said...

Wanda, I decided on a tarp cover after a near-neighbor told me how many chickens he lost to hawks. My tarp is a cheapie--$6.99 6'x8' from Tractor Supply. So far so good.

Carolyn H.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes with the chickens. That's something Art and I would like to try in the future when we get to live at Hasty Brook.

Cathy said...

They are so cute. Hopefully nothing happens to them.