RAISING CHICKENS 101: RAISING BABY CHICKS
Want to learn how to raise baby chicks? Here’s a beginner’s guide to bringing up baby!
You can purchase chickens at several stages of development—it all depends on how long you’re willing to wait for eggs.
Tending baby chicks isn’t difficult, nor need it be elaborate. As well as chick starter and clean water, they need a draft-free brooder pen with a red brooder lamp on at all times. This keeps the temperature at 92°F at 2 inches above the floor. (It also reduces picking and cannibalism among chicks.) When the chicks have feathered out, reduce the temperature by 5 degrees per week until they are 6 weeks old, then switch their feed from chick starter to grower mash.
Instead of buying chickens every year, you could hatch your own. Of course, you’ll need a rooster to get fertile eggs. Check your zoning regulations; some places allow hens, but not roosters. Hens will lay perfectly well without one. (The occasional blood-spotted egg isn’t caused by the rooster and is perfectly fine to eat.)
You’ll also need a broody hen. Broodiness—the instinct to sit on eggs until they hatch—has been bred out of a lot of chickens, but we always had one or two who would begin to sit tight on the nest and peck if we tried to remove their eggs. Bantams are famously broody, and a bantam hen will hatch other hens’ eggs.
You can hatch replacement chicks yourself with a home incubator. Eggs take 21 days to hatch. (Did you know that there are best times for setting eggs under a hen or in an incubator? You can find out more about setting chicken eggs by the Moon’s Sign here. An incubator must be watched; chicks left too long after hatching will die of dehydration or picking. One particularly determined one in our incubator picked its way through the screen guard around the ventilation fan and was decapitated. On the whole, we found it best to leave it to the hen.
TIPS FOR A HAPPY CHICKEN COOP
See more of our beginner’s guide to raising chickens:
Original article from The Old Farmers Almanac, click here to visit: www.almanac.com/news/home-health/chickens/raising-chickens-101-raising-baby-chicks#
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Getting the urge to start some things indoors?
We've been having beautiful weather and I've sure been feeling spring fever! Here's
some great ways to start herbs. (Original article credit: Good Housekeeping)
As a general rule of (green) thumb, place your herbs in a spot that gets at least six hours of sun daily. To test the strength of sun, turn off all lights on a sunny or partly sunny day, and periodically check to see how natural sunlight there is. In addition to sunlight, all herbs need to be planted in pots with good drainage. If you're concerned that the drainage holes will ruin your tabletop or windowsill, use a saucer or liner to catch any excess water. For specifics on watering and sun exposure, follow this guide.
Start basil from seeds and place the pots in a south-facing window; it likes lots of sun and warmth.
It's a perennial that does best using the container gardening method. Place the pot in an east- or west-facing window, but be sure it does not get crowded. Bay needs air circulation to remain healthy.
Start chervil seeds in late summer. This herb, also called French parsley, grows well in low light but needs temperatures between 65 degrees and 70 degrees to thrive.
At the end of growing season, dig up a clump of chives from your garden and replant it in a pot. Leave the pot outside until the leaves die back. In early winter, move the pot to your coolest indoor spot (like your basement) for a few days. Then place it in your brightest window.
Your best bet is to start with a tip that has been cut from an outdoor oregano plant. Once you've then planted that tip in a pot, place it in a south-facing window.
You can start parsley from seeds or dig up a clump from your garden at the end of the season. Parsley likes full sun, but will grow slowly in an east- or west-facing window.
Start with a cutting of rosemary and keep it in a moist soilless mix until it roots. It grows best in a south-facing window. Expect your kitchen to smell fresh throughout the cooler seasons thanks to the pungent scent of this herb — it acts like a natural air freshener!
Take a tip that was cut from an outdoor plant to start an indoor sage plant. It tolerates dry, indoor air well, but it needs the strong sun from a south-facing window.
A dormant period in late fall or early winter is essential for tarragon to grow indoors. Pot a mature plant from your outdoor garden and leave it outside until the leaves die back. Bring it to your coolest indoor spot for a few days, then place it in a south-facing window for as much sun as possible. Feed well with a liquid fertilizer.
You can start thyme indoors by either rooting a soft tip that was cut from an outdoor plant or digging up and repotting the entire thing. Thyme likes full sun but will grow in an east- or west-facing window.