Baby chicks get big fast. They get to eating a lot, and then they are pooping a lot. I had planned on moving the baby chicks out to the barn by two weeks, but we were having to clean out the brooder every day and it was getting stinky in the basement. The basement is where all the kid’s rooms are, so we moved the schedule up and moved the chicks to the barn.
The part of the barn where we had rabbits has been pretty empty since we got rid of the rabbits. It needed the cobwebs swept out. And I went ahead and removed the nesting boxes (ug, after all the work I did on them!) and closed up the door to the outside. I will open that back up in about 4 weeks, when they are fully feathered and ready to go outside.
It’s working so well. They have two water bottles, their feeder, I found the chick grit, and yes, I gave them an extra heater. Have I mentioned this heater? Because I love it. It’s a flat panel heater so it doesn’t warm up the space, it just warms up a chick underneath it. So when a chick is cold, it snuggles under, but when it feels fine or is hungry, it can wander around. Yup, just like a mama chicken. And it’s SUPER safe. A heat lamp would be a huge fire hazard in the wooden dusty barn filled with hay, but there is no fire hazard with the panels. That’s straw all over the floor- and it’s safe.
That picture was taken not long after we moved them in- they had been outside and the barn door was open, but we closed the door and kept the wind out, and they started to walk around and find their food.
That was Monday I moved them, and they have already grown, and adjusted really well. I love to peek in and watch them mill around- under the heater, over to the food, check out the open space, and back to the heater. During a warm afternoon this week I caught a couple RUNNING around. It was super cute.
Dave had the idea to put a little strawberry bed where we rerouted a drain pipe. It took him a Friday evening with kid help to block out a location, broadfork up the soil, brick the edges, and add mulch on top. Saturday we added a few plants to it.
The broadfork, have we mentioned that? Imagine a human powered rototiller, but instead of turning the dirt (and breaking up the biome structure of the soil) it gently breaks up the soil, allowing you remove weeds and aerating. We are kind of excited to have one. Though apparently it’s a full body work out.
Me and the kids also took a hike to do some herbal wildcrafting. This is the second time we’ve gone out with the intent to find medicinal herbs, and we are always surprised with what we can find. I’ve been teaching the kids good wildcrafting practices (you know, don’t tear all the leaves of a plant), and they really enjoy being able to identify herbs. The hike we went on was attached to a campground. We found that some campers had left leaving their embers hot. BAD CAMPERS. But we took advantage of the situation and threw a handful of dried grasses and twigs on top and had a tiny fire. The kids were happy to throw some recently discovered sagebrush on the hot coals and enjoy the smell. I think they would have stayed there all day if we had marshmallows.