Tag Archives: weather

Chickens On A Shoestring Budget

I have had so many worries about raising chickens through the last 4 years and wondered if I was “doing it right”. Somewhere about the last two years I realized that, as may ways to raise chickens exist, as there is sand on a beach.

I look at the pristine chicken farmers posts with their neatly built structures and think, “SEE! I’m doing it all wrong!”  No. Actually I’m doing this right for Me.

One of the things I did right, but swore I had wrong, was building temporary shelters instead of permanent ones. Everything I have in the chicken yard, is easily dismantled and put up in a different spot.  For my O.C.D. tendency’s and quirky nature, this proves very valuable. Tomorrow, I may wake up and think, “Oh gez this set up isn’t working like I wanted it to”. Then go about redesigning the whole shebang! My husband is usually patient with me and my constant changing.

Below you will see the most valuable piece of equipment in my arsenal of tricks.

IMG_0021 Did you see it?  That black plastic fencing?  Let me tell you, it’s amazing to have when you need to separate birds of different ages. In the front you will see some juvenile Ameraucana, and Cochin in the front and behind them is another group of birds who would not get along with the newbies. This fence gives the older wiser meaner birds time to adjust to the new-comers.

This is something else I use to keep the birds cooler in the blistering 90-100 temperatures here in Florida. Note the temporary used billboard covers. I use them as drapes sometimes to block any sunshine which may reach into the nesting area. Now that I know more of what they need, I have plans ready for a fixed structure.  IMG_0500 Chickens do not do well in Heat. That is without exception.

“A chicken’s normal body temperature hovers near 104 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s not difficult for them to maintain a healthy body temperature when the air is at least 10 to 15 degrees below that.

During times of extreme temperatures, producers must dissipate the excess body heat of their flock quickly. When a chicken’s body temperature reaches 113 to 117 degrees Fahrenheit, it is in danger.

Without sweat glands to cool their skin, birds rely on their respiratory system. Chickens pant to cool themselves, as the panting evaporates water from the throat to lower body temperature.”

( I didn’t type that one part, so I’m putting the link to the information page here).  This is a very good article and a must read!

This photo below, looks really rag-tag, but I wanted to show you how to make use of things you may already have, without going to the local Hardware store and buying the place out. It’s alright to use what you have on hand. You can always upgrade to a better building later, which I am doing myself. We change things at least three times a year, as our needs out there change and evolve.

We are in the process of planning a more permanent structure in this spot (Which means my husband is going to want to slowly strangle me…. ).

It’s hard to see but we have a 9 foot fence dividing the back area from the foreground area where the door is.  That is my brooder for the babies. I actually have birds who can scale an 8 foot fence; so, I made it 9 feet and attached it to the roof. The babies are all grown now, so I have some old ladies now in the brooder area. The “new ladies” (babies) are up front where the nesting boxes and large coop are. The old girls get to enjoy being free to do whatever… Occasionally they even give me an egg!IMG_0334

A Local store had a sale on office type storage boxes, and I bought ten of them. They became the nesting boxes of choice. The girls don’t mind one bit that they cost me a dollar each! I have them Zip-Tied to the support boards. I can move them around quite easily!IMG_0237

 

Well, there you go…  At least a little bit of what I do on a Shoe-String budget.

Tropical Storm Debbie

It’s odd that we have had two back to back storms here….  I have officially quit praying for rain for Florida; now onto Colorado, but that’s another story.

I took some of the funniest video of my silly girls playing in the water as it gathered in the lower half of the chicken enclosure, which is linked at the bottom of this page.

The coop is 50 ft long and 20 ft wide. It was just hilarious watching them explore the storm water alone. I went out to see what in the world could be so interesting in the pen, I saw a foot of standing water on the low half of the pen! Oh my…. Now when it quits raining enough for my camera…

We had to have had some significant rain to fill that low water table up again. Trust me, we did have significant rain. It rained for 5 solid says with only a small break on June 25th for my granddaughters birthday party. The heavens opened back up and blesses us with more; after everyone went home. Then it rained for 2 more days.

My prayer was that we would get enough rain to bring the natural water table back up. I could feel my trees aching for water. I know that sounds silly, but I could feel it. They needed some real rain, and not the afternoon’s occasional drizzle. Some real Honest Too Goodness RAIN! – OK God! So it didn’t have to do all that catching up in one week. Remind me to end prayers with a small footnote for now on, eh?

Anyhow, when I went into the chicken yard to check out the damage from 20 hours of torrential rain (only one day’s worth), I saw they were goofing off in the water below the halfway mark in the area. Some of them were chest deep in the water. I have no idea if other people’s chickens do this! Maybe mine are just a weird, warped extension of myself… I love water. They love water ( it appears).

Finally the rain stopped. Camera in hand I can see the water has receded some. When I walked down into that area to check it out the girls were right behind me. I mean 28 intense little faces all following me there. I felt like the Pied Piper of Chickens! Then most of them ventured into the water even more. It was like “OK, Mom is here, it’s alright to play now”.

I wish I’d been able to get photos earlier but the rain would not stop and I didn’t want to drown my camera. The rain-soaked in the ground quickly.

Goodness! Have I mentioned how horrible dirt with wet chicken poop and chicken feed smells? Ick…. Good thing I have had years of practice smelling disgusting things (diapers for one).

Here’s the video. Enjoy! 🙂    (Its a Youtube video)  http://youtu.be/tt1Cxat3iOM