How committed are you to prepping?
Which came first: the chicken or the egg?
That puzzle may never be solved but if you are thinking about raising chickens the brooder and the chicken coop should probably come before your chicks do!
I have raised many chickens from chicks and it is a very enjoyable hobby and a great way to become more self-reliant.
I have had white leghorns, wyandotes, buff orpingtons, and finally settled on rhode island reds because they handle our cold weather better.
Here is a chart to help you pick chickens that will work best for your location:
I use a round kiddie swimming pool for my brooder covered in some garden mesh and a red or blue bulb brood lamp.
Pine or aspen shavings are recommended but I just use newspaper and have never had a problem.
Chick crumbles (chick starter) and fresh water are all they need for two weeks then add some scratch.
I buy my chicks through the local feed store for $2 each but you can order chicks right through the mail.
They are available now most places so go get you a flock!
If you marry a fisherman (or ~woman), beware: At some point you're gonna get "up close and personal" with some mighty strange critters.
Take nightcrawlers, for example...
For those of you non-fishin' folk, nightcrawlers are those big, fat, juicy earthworms used for fish bait. Here's a picture:
Best time to catch 'em is at night just after a good soaking rain. You go out with a flashlight, a container with a lid, a pair of sharp eyes and some fast, nimble fingers to grab those critters and hang on when the light hits 'em so they can't escape back into their holes.
My adopted dad taught me how to catch nightcrawlers. Our favorite way of keeping them alive and fresh for the fish was to store them in the 'fridge in a plastic sour cream or cottage cheese container with a piece of moist burlap in the bottom for them to munch on. They'd stay good for 2-4 weeks that way.
In my first year at college I shared a dormitory apartment with 5 other women. One evening some guys came over and announced they were going fishing the next day. I offered to catch them some nightcrawlers in exchange for some of the fish. They agreed, and out I went. I caught a big bunch of nightcrawlers and put them in a container in the 'fridge just like my adopted dad and I used to do. Then it happened...
Valerie, one of my roommates, got home quite late. The rest of us were already in bed when she arrived. She walked into the kitchen and grabbed a leftover baked potato from the 'fridge along with (what she thought was) a full container of sour cream. She warmed the potato in the microwave, picked up the container of "sour cream," lifted the lid and started to pour...
Then--you guessed it: she got "up close and personal" with my nightcrawlers! You wouldn't believe how she screamed...
The guys by came the next morning for (what was left of) the nightcrawlers and had a great day fishing. They brought us some really nice fish to eat, which all of us (even Valerie) enjoyed. But nightcrawlers were banned forever from our 'fridge.
So--what are YOU eating for supper tonight?
A farmer with lots of chickens posted the following sign:
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