Tilly's Tiny Family Farm

March to July 2014

<--Back to Chicken Page
Scroll down for more updates
March 26, 2014

Ok, first off... don't freak over the dead looking chicken on the left in this picture... its not dead. Its only MOSTLY dead... (yes that was a Princess Bride quote)

So around 8:45 AM we received our long awaited phone call from our local post office saying our chicks had arrived. My husband made a mad dash for them while I got the warm water ready, filled the feeders, and turned on the heat lamps.

As soon as he walked out the door, my lil girl woke up asking where daddy was. I told him he went to get the baby chickens and she proceeded to jump up and down going "chickee chickee chickee" loud enough and repetitious enough to wake her lil brother (the oldest slept through all of this).

Then daddy arrives home, hero of the day since he brought in the chicks and his lil girl is beaming with all her pretty smiles. He takes the top off the box and I snapped this picture. My husband started to look over the chicks and put them in the temporary brooder as he counted them (they did not need to be led to the water or food, they ran to it and devoured quite a bit with no help before using the long box as a runway). Hubbie assumed the lil chick on the far left in the picture was dead. So me never having chicks before and too softhearted for my own good, got a lil teary.

Then I saw it twitch.
"Hon, that chick just moved," I said.
"No, its gone," said my hubbie.
So I proceeded to watch it closely. 10 seconds later it moved its head.
"Hon, it moved again."
"Naw I don't think so."
A minute later it moved its whole body a bit.
"Did you see that?! It moved! Its alive hon! Will it make it?"
He watched the chick as it moved a bit and said, "Well I'll be darned."
He picked it up and mentioned it was awfully cold and probably wouldn't live long. Both lil girl and me gave him watery eyes over this poor small creature dying in our midst. He handed me the chick and told me to keep it warm. He went back to counting chicks and getting the rest settled.

The cute little thing burrowed into my hands gently and kept tipping its head backwards into my thumb. I kept getting nervous about it dying in my hands. Hubbie finished with the other chicks (we ordered 75 and they send an extra per 25 in case of deaths...so 78 total we had counting the one fading). He took the chick to keep it warm and try to coax some warm water into its beak.

I headed next door to work for my mother at her greenhouse business (its transplanting time of year). A little before noon I get a call on my cell from the hubbie. Apparently my little peeper survived. First it started to stand, then bounce around his lap, then opened its eyes, and then he put her in with the others. It ran for food and water and he lost track of which one it was. He thinks he knows which one from the markings, but she has blended well with the others otherwise.

So 78 baby silver laced Wyandottes, yay!

Side-note: Hubbie asked lil girl what she wanted for lunch. She pointed at the chickens and said soup. He had himself the biggest laugh!

The blue tote and the box on the upper right are all connected to make one large brooder. They will be a temporary brooder until the temperatures warm up outside and we can finish the coop for them outside.

The pic below and the the lower left are after it had gotten dark outside and they were trying to sleep. They kind of freaked out when I took the cap off and made a run for it... they're sleeping now at least.

March 29, 2014

Above: Most of them decided to huddle around the food and water after we changed the paper out.

Below: Little close up on the left. The chicken in the right photo is the one my daughter has named Soup.

April 12, 2014

The chickens are fledging quickly. Here is a couple new photos of Soup taken today. Even in his awkward stage, Soup is a handsome lil guy.

April 17, 2014

Here is an updated photo of Soup.

April 27, 2014

Update on the temporary coop and fencing below.

Two of my babies checking on the chickens.

Heeeeeere's Soup the Chicken!

May 16, 2014

New babies! 10 Americauna pullets from our local L&M Fleet. This was the only decent picture from the ones I took so I will have to take a few more.

May 17, 2014

One of the yellow ones died, the poor dear.

May 31, 2014

Forgot to mention we added another section to their coop area. We plan on adding another one soon, tho we need to find some more mesh netting for the top of the fenced area, we have 2 families of Bald Eagles living on DNR land near us and they circle around the skies above my chickens and my aunt's chickens. The Wyandottes look nice and fat and juicy to them I am sure, but I am protecting my babies as best as I can. We are also in the process of making chicken tractors. One is almost done, we just need to add shade to one side and finish the latching edge. The Americauna should be ready to let loose on the world (in a chicken tractor) soon and I know they will enjoy that a lot!

June 19, 2014

Americauna's are now outside in their own chicken tractor.

I believe we have been accepted as one of the flock. They were clucking and chirping at my hubbie while he filled their water containers.

Below: Update on Soup and 2 of his 3 ladies.

Below: Updated coop area, we are working on moving it all around again so they have more fresh grass.

First chicken tractor with added rain barriers to protect them and the heat lamp. We had a few get sick and die. They are now doing much better and we are more knowledgeable for next year. We have a few more chicken tractors to make so our chickens can enjoy fresh greens everyday and all we have to do is move the tractors and their waterers.

August 27, 2014

~Copied from my blog for this chicken page~

To start off the day, after running errands and taking kids to appointments, hubbie and I rearranged the fencing for the chicken coop. We like to move it around every week or so as the grass gets mowed down by chickens. It started raining more often so the spot we moved them to has recovered somewhat. Next year we plan on fencing most of the back yard so they will have ample room to forage and yet be safe from the highway.

Once the coop fencing was secure and we let the chickens loose upon the poor unsuspecting grass, we had to plan out our next task. Butchering the chickens in the movable tractor. Now there were only 5 chickens in the one we had plans for, but alas 2 chickens have repeatedly gotten loose somehow and head straight for my tomatoes... so they got added to the list even though they are a little smaller than I'd like. Me being raised in town and my husband being raised on a farm, he is obviously more experienced with the whole butchering thing. I've read book upon book upon book about chickens. Only 1 of those books told me how to actually butcher one.

(Warning for those who are squeamish...I go into a little more detail than some might like) My hubbie beheaded them as humanely and quickly as possible. I now understand the term "like a chicken with its head cut off" and am very surprised it wasn't worse than I had imagined. I am also surprised at myself for not being more squeamish and emotional. These birds were part of a flock that I have called my babies quite frequently. I guess having them raid what few tomatoes I have this year has taken that emotional guilt away in a major way. You don't mess with momma's tomatoes! er... yeah.

We figured since the kids were so young that it would be better to have them play on the swing set and in the sandbox away from the tiny massacre going on in our back yard. But low and behold... they all wandered over.....while some of the chickens were still....moving. We look at each other and think oh now....they are now going to be mortified for life and never eat another chicken again. My little girl started scrunching up her face as she does when shes about to cry...for the record the kids are 7, 5, and almost 4.

We think there is going to be a full out melt down.

"Mom! Daddy cut the chicken's face off!"

I proceed to explain where chicken noodle soup comes from (her favorite right now) and how the chicken being killed means we can have barbeque chicken and all kinds of goodies. The scrunching of the face stops. She stands in front of the large coop and holds out her hands widely.

"Is daddy going to cut all the chickenses faces off mom!?" she says almost excited.

Hubbie and I look at each other and we tell her no, not all of them since we will be getting eggs and more baby chickens from most of the leftover ones. She just nods as we notice our youngest grabbing a big stick. He goes over to the dead chickens and walks right up to the one currently....moving. He roars at it like a dinosaur and then whacks it (he doesn't hit too hard). It stops. One other one moves a bit more and roars at that one... then whacks it with the stick. At this point we're wondering if we should wrangle him back to the swing set or laugh. It doesn't feel right to laugh because it is a poor dead creature that we plan on adding to the freezer, but somehow that feeling is there.

We set up our outside station with hose and pots and "garbage" bucket. He skins them, which removes the feathers neatly and doesn't require any boiling and plucking. One of the chickens still had its "voice box" working so when you moved it a certain way it cackled a little bit as air went through it. My youngest appears fast as lightening next to dad and roars at it. He then proceeds to whack the chicken. He nods his head as if he has done dad this great favor and walks on his merry way back to the sandbox.

I get the job of gutting them out. I have never done this before so the hubbie shows me how to get the first one mostly done. I have to keep asking how to do certain parts until I have the routine down. After the sought after parts are rinsed and cleaned they are packaged up, marked, and frozen. Except the 3 we roasted tonight for supper. I think slow roasting it a bit longer would tenderize the meat a little more, but I have to say it is the best chicken I have ever had.... and not just because it was eating my tomatoes.

For obvious reasons I did not take any photos to post, but it was an interesting experience. I can officially say that everything, except the butter, was grown on our tiny farm. It is a step in the right direction towards being mostly self sustainable food wise.

Now that I have scarred some of you for life or made you laugh if you found my youngest amusing, its off to bed for me as soon as the chicken stock has cooled so I can freeze it. So enjoy your night and toodles my lovelies!

September 28, 2014

Update pictures of Mr. Soup!

October 8, 2014

Our first eggs! The two brown ones on the bottom right, compared to a store bought white one on the left. Not too much smaller and they had almost the same length. Not fertilized and had small perfect bubbles when candled. So proud of my ladies!

<--Back to Chicken Page