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  • glaistighomestead

New farm employees

As with any successful company, you need some good employees. While most people wouldn't consider animals employees, we sure do! We provide them with jobs, for instance, the dogs will protect the livestock, and in return we feed, house and give them lots of love and spoiling. The dogs have yet to get their eventual charges to protect, so currently they keep us safe from birds...yes, you read that right, birds. The dogs have a deep hatred for buzzards that fly around cleaning up the roadkill on the highway. In between their endless buffet of armadillos and deer that meet an untimely end, they like to fly back to our farm and roost in the trees. And the dogs consider this a huge threat. I don't know why, and at this point I'm just thankful they are attempting to protect something and not just chewing up everything. the puppy stage was wearing me thin yall!

We knew we wanted chickens, I mean, what farm doesn't have chickens? So for Yule both girls got to pick breeds they would like to have, for breeding or just for pets, and I went ahead and ordered our egg layers and heritage meat birds.

And just like all things, we had a plan and then things changed.

A fellow Texas homesteader friend offered to do a swap, some hatching eggs for some soap. I love a good trade, and you can never have too many chickens. Seriously, if someone tells you that's too many, remove them from your life, you don't need that kind of negativity!

Come the end of April, our incubator was full of cheeping little chicks, and the mail order chicks arrived the same week! We went from zero chickens to over 70 in the blink of an eye!

Oops, I guess I should back up and talk about their housing!

If you've been in a home improvement store recently you know that the price of lumber is through the roof. So our original plans of building a coop, needed to be modified.

I found an already built shed that was roughly the same dimensions and it was half of the price that we would have spent trying to build it. And Karen and I didn't have to spend weeks fighting....uh, I mean working together like a dream team. Yall who have ever done a project with a significant other know exactly what I'm talking about. If you want to put your relationship to the test, build something together.

The shed was delivered, put into place and leveled and with some minor finishing work, we have a stunning coop!

I tried to get the guy delivering it to let me drive the little thing he pulled it around with...he said he wasn't allowed to let me.

Karen did an amazing job of framing up partitions to make it functional for multiple flocks to live and lay.

The plan is to have the huge flock split into 3 groups. The egg layers The meat birds and the pets.

And I'm just now realizing that I haven't taken a final picture of all the work that's been completed.

That's what happens when you have 70+ chicks living in your spare room. Yup, we kicked it into high gear on getting the coop finished once they started flying out of their little pool. Cleaning up chicken poop off the floors got old real quick.

Speaking of the chicks, I feel it's my duty to drop my opinion and experience on ordering chicks from a hatchery. We've had lots of chickens, we hatched our own with an incubator, a broody chicken and bought them from local friends and even feed stores. When it comes to being a chick-mama, I consider myself a pro. I was at the post office to pick them up within 20 minutes of being called, they came home to a pre-warmed brooder and all had their beaks dipped in water that had added vitamins and electrolytes. Finally I checked their bottoms to make sure they weren't pasted over and then I left them alone, to warm up and settle in. I could already tell a few were extremely weak, but I've raised plenty of chicks. I was confident my experience would bring them all back to good health.

I was wrong, very wrong.

One by one the chicks would go droopy, lethargic and eventually die.

We lost over 15 chicks. All from the hatchery order, none from the ones we hatched in our incubator. I'm not going to bash the hatchery and smear their name. But I am taking a firm stance on ONLY buying from local breeders or hatching my own. I refuse to put innocent day old chicks through that kind of stress and torture in shipping them.

Say what you want, it's cruel and we would never send a newborn human without food or liquid through the mail for 48+ hours.

And I know this sounds crazy because I just told you how we have "meat birds," birds that their sole purpose is to grow up and be eaten? How am I able to kill and eat these birds but feel so strongly about buying from a hatchery?

Simple, I will hatch and give our meat birds the best life ever. They will have an endless supply of sun, food and fresh pasture. Then when it comes time for them to give their life and provide food for our family, I will dispatch them quickly and efficiently. They will not have a long drawn out ending, full of suffering. I respect their sacrifice and honor their lives by making it a peaceful ending. Now let me get down off my soapbox and wrap this post up.

In the next post I'll show a full coop tour and introduce you to yet another unexpected addition. Expect the unexpected...I should have sneaked that into my and Karen's wedding vows. I hope yall had a great Independence Day, plenty of freedom loving fun and family. We kept it low key and worked on getting the garden ready for sowing the cover crop and waiting out the next 90-ish days of the roughest part of summer. So be looking forward to a new garden post too! Always a lot happening around here, you can see why I'm a little behind on the updates.


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