Back in October I ordered another 50 chicks to add to the flock. They’re already two and a half months old and should start laying eggs by the end of February. At first the eggs will be small but by the time the farmers market starts in April the eggs should be a nice size. The first two months of their lives are spent in a small brooder in the barn where they are sheltered from cooler temperatures and drafts, things that can quickly kill a small chick with immature feathers. A few weeks ago I moved them outside to a “chicken tractor”, essentially a large pen with no floor. This is a great setup as I no longer have to change poop-filled pine shavings every 5 days, all we have to do now is grab the handles on the chicken tractor and move it over 8 feet till it’s on fresh grass. The manure they leave behind will fertilize my lawn from spring until fall. Keep in mind no chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides have ever touched my lawn. Just good old-fashioned chicken mud and I will have the greenest grass for miles around. At night this time of year when temperatures can dip down into the 20’s and even the teens I’ll wrap old sheets around the open sides of the pen to block the wind, and their own body heat along with a heat lamp (if needed) will keep them warm. Plus, they’re able to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air at a very early age.
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