So the saga continues. I should start by coming clean about something. I’m addicted to chickens. I just love them. To the point of having them tattooed onto my chest. Hurt like mad too. Anyway, I can’t remember what I said yesterday let along what I wrote in the first story so on we go.
With the loss of so many birds from the first box (17 of the 27 died) McMurray Hatchery promised to replace the lost ones and, of course, rather than waiting till April to get 15 in a box, I went ahead and filled a box of 25 so that they could be here sooner and the chicks would be closer in age. While waiting for the box, (waiting a whole 5 days mind you) I stopped into the local farm supply store because I knew I needed to get something. Rather than picking up the dog food like I was supposed to, I walked out with 8 more chicks. 4 Rhode Island Reds and 4 assorted Bantys, I think 2 Golden and 1 silver Seabrights, and 1 Banty Cochin or at least something fluffy with feathered legs colored white or light tan. Oops. Call em a sucker. Which is ironic because it’s not a “baby thing”. I cannot abide children, puppies or kittens. I prefer them a lot more once they get thru the messy parts. Once kids can hold a rational conversation, once dogs stop shitting in the house and once cats chill out, I’m pretty OK about it. Till then, I’m the other way.
So come last night, I realized that the space i had in my brooder wasn’t nearly enough for the 42 birds I was looking to have.
I made the sacrifice of turning my sewing bench into an expansion of the brooder condo. The table was already there, just loaded with my sewing machine and bits of this and that. I went back to the window pile in the shop and dug out some more, this time without the mouse piss. The sizes weren’t really what I wanted but they were what was there so I made due. My folks have been around a bunch lately so my mom helped set clean the windows and set it all up.
Today was the big day. My second box-o-birds arrived at the post office first thing. I called over there around 8:00 to warn them and they said that they were already there. Once i got them all unpacked and watered, all 26 of them are alive and seemingly
vigorous, so far. In fact, I’m less than impressed with them. Their older kin (by a week) are all sweetly napping and quiet. This bunch is screaming it’s collective head off. But seriously, they look great. I’m just now sure how long they will be able to be in this expanded system. Surely not the entire 8 weeks. The current plan is to keep them separated in the brooder for a few days, maybe a week. Let the youngins get on their feet before the older ones start schooling them. It’s amazing the difference in size already. Some of the older ones already have wing feathers.
The long term solution is in the barn. After Leah and I cleaned it out, my dad showed up. He’s always ready for action. Well, as ready as any vigorous 72 year old. He and I took a couple of hours out there with a 6# sledge hammer (actually the back of my splitting maul) and a steel bar and broke up the whole floor. I promptly blistered both of my hands. Forgot the gloves. They are the giant bloody ones too. Good times. Not terribly surprising, the floor was mostly hollow. What with the groundhog family and all the erosion (read rain fed rivers flowing thru the building) I’ve got my work cut out for me. From the front door to the lowest corner is a difference of 2 full courses of cinder block, about 16″. From the front door directly across to the back door is only 1 course different (about 8″). All of this is complicated by the fact that there is no road to anywhere near the barn. And the ground is fairly soft all around it. Not chance at all will a cement truck be pulling up outside and there is a pretty good chance my truck will get bogged down hauling gravel back to it. That is
an adventure for another day though. Right now the task is leveling out the broken chunks of cement into something resembling flat and level and getting the space ready for gravel, crushed limestone or crushed cement. It all depends upon cost. A new cement floor will come later. With any luck we’ll have a drier summer than we’ve had in a while and I’ll be able to get back there without too much damage to the yard. It all remains to be seen of course. Then too, we need to come up with the money to get all this stuff. It will all work out. Somehow it always does. Often not exactly how it was intended to work out, but still…