Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The chicks are back....and hopefully they survive....

Yes, more pictures!!
How fitting that we got our baby chicks for the county fair the Wednesday before Easter!  This is the time of year when Jay gets a little obsessed with growing chickens into the size of turkeys.  I bet the topic of raising chickens gets brought up at least once a week in our home, even in our off season.  This year it was probably worse because Jay built the Taj Mahal of all 4-H project chicken coops.  He talked about this house continually even though I didn't understand a word he was telling me.  I just nodded....and probably poked fun at the whole situation a time or two.  He tells me that I don't appreciate how much money he saved me on this house because he has been scavanging the parts for this thing for at least the last 5 years.  If there was a board dropped along a roadway within 30 miles of us - it's been put to use.  The tin on the outside of it came from our rent place.  Jay saw it sitting in the weeds so he traded out labor for the opportunity to pick the tin from the dirt to use on the house.  In this picture it has a more rustic barnwood look, but it really needs a power washer taken to it.  Then notice the tire on the trailer....Jay pulled it home like that going about 15 mph.  Thankfully he got Lyle to follow him instead of me.  I would've been a wreck watching that wheel hobble along.  Jay said he preferred Lyle to help him over me in case there was a problem because I'd be worthless!   Those who are primarily city dwealers have no idea what I'm talking about....those who live in the country and come from a farm background are nodding your head because you know exactly what I'm've seen your own spouse hoard materials for a rainy day project, you've been involved in moving things in less than safe situations, you've seen the crazed look in someones eye when a 4-H/FFA project is involved, etc.   That's how the ultimate chicken house was born....that and free labor from one of Jay's shop classes :)  

This is Cade's Jay's  3rd year of raising birds.  Up to this point things have gone ok.  Wednesday night (the very 1st night we had them), after Cade was in bed, Jay got a call from a student.  The kid had not made it to pick up his chicks and needed to know where they were.  Jay told him he had them and they were fed and watered for the night.  After that call Jay left to go put his babies to bed...yes, that's a nightly 10 pm routine for the next 6 weeks.  A few minutes later he came running back in saying "I've just killed 15 chickens".  Then I panicked for a moment - killing Cade's chickens would be one of the most traumatic things Jay and I could do to him.  It would not be good...I'd leave the house and make Jay tell him by himself - that's how bad it would be.  Jay quickly told me that it wasn't Cade's chickens - it was the other kids.  He didn't know what had happened.  Jay called his dad, who is our chicken advisor and tried to describe the scene.  Yes, it was sad, but it was also hard to not laugh as Jay described the tragedy out in the shop…Dad, their legs are straight out and their heads are back and they are all wet…what do you think happened? Finally they decided that somehow they climbed in their water to get warm and drowned. Jay went back out and poked on them, five little chicks made some movements. He put those in a box to separate them from Cade’s, but still have them under the heat lamp. Unbelievably they came back to life. I called Jay the Chicken Doctor. Other people asked if he gave them CPR.

So we got through crisis #1 ok. Jay called another ag teacher because he had some extras so Jay’s student did get chickens. Jay didn’t want to give those 5 away in case there was something really wrong with them. But so far they’ve been mixed in with Cade’s and as of now you can’t tell the difference.

Crisis #2 occurred Friday afternoon – the day we were in Springfield. When we got home that afternoon Jay and Cade went out to check on the chicks. Cade came running back and said “they almost burnt up”. Again, anyone who farms will get this…you cobble things together all the time. Jay rigged up a cord that hangs from the shop ceiling down into the chicken pen. Then he takes a heat land and somehow makes a knot and hooks it onto the cord. The heat lamp is just dangling there right above the chickens. Somehow on Friday the heat lamp slipped through the knot and landed on one of the plastic feeders. Luckily feed burns slowly so nothing tragic happened but it could’ve been bad. The plastic feeder is almost melted completely through. Those who know Jay know his sense of humor and how he loves to make little comments…we were watching the news that night and there was an apartment fire in Springfield and X number of families had to evacuate. Jay said “20 chickens almost had to evacuate here”. That gave Cade the giggles and he has repeated the story to everyone. We are a little on edge this year with the chickens. I just hope they survive until the first weekend of June.

Again, you can tell we were trying to get profile pictures.  This is like only the 3rd time I've even been in the shop this entire year...Last year I didn't even visit them while they were babies.  I feel that listening to what I listen to in regards to chicken growing, securing the space in our budget to finance this operation, and the occassional lunch break spent either warming them up or cooling them down is what I contribute to the project....Oh and I usually end up taking the shop vac to them and cutting off nasty feathers from their bottoms the night before the show.  You haven't lived until you've cut off chicken dingleberrys.  I do plenty for this little adventure!!! 

You can imagine the damage the heat lamp did when it fell on this feeder.  Luckily no chickens got harmed in the process.

I love this shot of Charile.  You can see how mesmerized he is by the chickens. 


Charity said...

Looks like Charlie is checking out his dinner! :)

Anonymous said...

I laughed repeatedly while reading this post. Hilarious!!!