Prairie Wife Badge: Mother Hen

Posted March 21, 2016 by Prairie Wife - 6 comments

This is a Prairie Wife Badge that I have fought against for years…the city girl in me just can’t get over the thought of eating fresh eggs….gross!

The organic homesteader readers are probably shouting at me about how much healthier they are, and my practical farm friends have told me over and over how tasty and easy on the budget I’ll find these eggs (and eventually the chickens too).

I’m not sure why this year I finally agreed to have chickens. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that my upcoming surgery means The Cowboy will be around a bit more…or the fact that normally I’d be pregnant in the next few months. My need to nurture small things is coming out in interesting ways now that The Cowboy and I are officially done having kids…and he’s refusing to buy me a puppy right now (what a meany).

Anyway, whatever reason prompted it, I agreed to adding chickens to our growing herd of animals (1 dog, 4 cats, 4 horses, 1 mini mule and 5 Cowkids) and The Cowboy got right on building the chicken run. We still need to add chicken wire but other than that it’s all set…Cowgirl G is pretty proud that she got to help Daddy make it!

Chicken run

Next, The Cowboy and the Cowkids began building the chicken coop. They built nesting boxes which will eventually be filled with some nice cozy bedding, and it will be placed on stilts inside the chicken run. Stop back in a few weeks to see the final product!

chicken coop

On Saturday we went to our local farm and ranch store to check pick out chicks. The Cowkids were SO excited and spent a lot of time with their noses pressed against the cages and discussing what kind of chick would be best.

chicks at murdoch's

In the end we got 12 chicks of varying breeds and a mixture of a few cockerels (boys) and a bunch of pullets (girls). We carefully brought the box of chicks home and set them on the table while we ate lunch.

box of chicks

We could hear them peeping and scurrying about and Cowboy C was fascinated. He kept on putting his head close to it to listen to them, insisted on covering them up with his blanket (a high honor in this house), and told everyone that they wanted to get out and crawl around!

Cowboy C and the box of chicks

The Cowboy got the brooder ready with pine shavings, a long rectangular feeder and automatic water. For the first six weeks they need to eat a special chick starter to help them grow strong and healthy.

brooder

The Cowkids were fascinated with watching the sweet chicks tumble around their new home. Chicks are very delicate and need to be kept toasty warm (we sadly lost one chick in transit). So we added a heat lamp over the brooder to keep them healthy and happy, that’s why everything looks red. Our shop is insulated, and no cats are allowed, but with the temps down to below 10 degrees this week, we took extra precautions and placed tarps over the tub o’ chicks.

peeking at the chicks

Cowboy C really wants to hold the chicks but, it’s just not safe for them until they get a bit older. As of now, the Cowkids have been running down to the shop multiple times a day to check on their chicks. I’m sure the shine will wear off eventually. Even so, it will be entirely their job to keep the tub o’ chicks clean and the chicks fed and watered!

can I please hold one

For all my fussing and complaining, I have to admit that I’m a bit excited to be a Mother Hen. I’m sure there will be more than a few “what have I done” moments! But, I can already see that this will be a great way to help the Cowkids learn to handle more responsibility, and learn to respect animals and where their food comes from.

What do you think? Is this Prairie Wife Badge going to be all it’s cracked up to be?  😉

 

 

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6 thoughts on "Prairie Wife Badge: Mother Hen"

  1. Bennie says:

    I’m sure it will be a great learning experience for the cow kids (and you). Where I walk on Sundays in my neighborhood (a few blocks from my condo) is a home in a very nice suburban neighborhood with lovely homes in the $500,000 range (I’m guessing) and one house has a chicken coop and I think some goats. I heard a few little ‘baaaas’ yesterday. It cracks me up to see the two little structures in this upscale neighborhood. I wonder if there is a diet reason (fresh eggs and goat milk?) or if they make soaps with the milk? Anyway, I”ll think of you when I see their coops and hear the animals on my walks.

    Good luck, I hope all the chicks grow and you enjoy fresh eggs going forward.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Oh how funny, I would love to hear what the neighbors think lol! I have to admit the sound of them goign peep peep is pretty cute, I hope it’s as cute when they are bigger 😉

  2. Nikki Amelotte says:

    Magnus and I are trying our hand at homesteading–suburban style. Don’t be surprised when I come calling advice on how to handle our spoiled chicks. Yes, I said spoiled…

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I saw the picture of your chick mood lighting, and now I’m feeling like my chicks will need a therapist to discuss their underprivileged childhood 😉 Can’t wait to compare notes with you and if all goes to heck your chicks are more than welcome to come to “boarding school” on the prairie!

  3. Karen says:

    I would love your honest opinion about how things go with your chickens! Your feedback might be the difference between me trying this, or me nixing the idea!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Just keep on stopping by, I assure you I’ll be truthful as I share more 🙂

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