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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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? 😉
Categories: Life As It Happens