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As a homesteading, homeschooling family, we try to include our kids in what’s going on around the farm. Our son has been watching all this blog stuff with great interest. He finally asked us if he could write his own article. So, here is the kid version of raising chickens. It is really quite interesting to see what things are perceived as the highlights (by this kiddo anyway). Just to make things a bit clear, here is some background:
Chick Mobile: several years back, my husband built a brooder in the pole barn in CO. It was roughly 4’x4′ and when he finished, he set it on a wheeled frame he used for working on arcade games. It turned out to be handy to be able to easily move the brooder around the barn, so now our son thinks a brooder should be mobile… and hence the “chick-mobile”
Egg Mobile: we can thank Joel Salatin for this. Joel is always so creative with his naming, so we called our first mobile coop an “eggmobile” as well. Ever since our son can remember, we have moved our little layer flock around our property.
Scraps: all our plate scrapings and such are shared with the chickens. Don’t worry, we provide plenty of layer feed as well.
First you need chicks so you go to the closest hatchery, in our case it is Cackle Hatchery.
So you get your breeds, then you take them home and put them in your chick mobile.
Be sure to give them chick food and water so they grow big and strong.
THE CHICK MOBILE
The chicks need to stay warm so you need to mount heat lamps in the chick mobile
and find a feed resource to feed the chicks. There is a difference between an egg mobile and a chick mobile, an egg mobile is for grown up chickens and a chick mobile is for the chicks to live in. Chick mobiles need too be insulated so the chicks can stay warm.
THE EGG MOBILE
The chickens need a way to get out so you should make chicken doors for the chickens. If you are good with electronics you can make an automatic chicken door. You may be on your first chicken house so this should be your best one. You may need to shovel the manure out but if you make the floor out of fence the poop will just drop out on the ground.
GIVING THE SCRAPS
The scraps of food are what makes the chickens happy and makes them reward us with fresh eggs. A happy chicken will lay a lot more than a mad chicken. What we feed them is melon rinds, black bananas, squash, oatmeal that’s left over and lettuce. That stuff is what rewards you with eggs!
FINDING A PASTURE
Well you will need a field with plenty of bugs, weeds and dust for the chickens. Take your EGG MOBILE on the field and let out the chickens. One thing you need to do is make sure the fence has no holes the chickens can fit through and get out.
There you have it from the chief chicken catcher on our homestead.