This summer has been a fun one with the addition of our backyard chickens. Had I known I would like it this much, I would have whined to my husband to let me get them sooner! The boys are also loving having the girls as part of our family. Even Walmart and Costco are aware of the benefits of free ranging for not only the chickens but the quality of the eggs that they lay. I found a cute children’s comic called A Chicken’s Life that I read to them … leaving out some of the details about what happens to unlucky chickens who are raised for eggs in factory farms or ones who are sent to the slaughterhouse. I don’t know what I expected to find in a comic written by PETA …
As with everything I do, I like to try to do as much as I can myself and I like to do things as naturally and as frugally as possible. It’s like my super power. For months before we got our baby chickies I had been researching and reading the Backyard Chickens site for what we would need for our fluffy friends and I found that very little is actually required in terms of supplies. To keep chicks happy and healthy, all you need is a nice warm place to keep them, some sort of bedding (like pine shavings, not bed sheets) some containers for food and water, and food itself. That’s it!
The “nice warm place” to keep them is typically known as a brooder and it is super simple to make one yourself out of a large tote, some hardware cloth, zip ties and a heat lamp.
Here is a video of the DIY brooder and the steps to make your own DIY brooder box should you ever find yourself needing to know how.
- Cut out the center part of the tote lid. I used a bread knife because it was faster than scissors.
- Using zip ties, attach hardware cloth to the under side of the lid.
- Mount heat lamp above the brooder box, making sure that the chicks can sit under the light to get warm or move out of the light to get cool.
The chickens only need to live in the brooder for a few weeks until the are big and strong enough to live outside in the chicken coop. Our girls sure are happy to be outside to peck around in the grass and scratch in the dirt! Until we can patch a few hole in the fence, we’ve kept the hens in their coop and run enclosure but the goal is to allow them to free range around the yard when we’re home to make sure that no one escapes the yard. Hopefully these ladies will start laying soon instead of being the freeloaders that they are! I can’t wait to have fresh eggs for breakfast!
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