Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Lock Flock Coop

The coop is officially on its way.  Aaron started the construction last week and has come a long way.  The first day he got the floor complete and then his brother came over the following day and they really made a dent in the construction (Thanks Gav!).  It has been a hot and busy few weeks here at the lock household but we are managing to get things done; slow but sure.  Today Aaron is putting on the hardware cloth around the roof venting as well as shingling the roof - a job he hates.  Aaron will be making up a page which I will later provide the link to which will give the details, specs and such for the coop.  For now I will simply post some photos.       

As for the ducklings and chicks, they are growing and doing very well.  The ducklings seem to be growing very fast but not getting much as far as feathers, only a few straggly ones on their tales which aren't true feathers.  The chicks are fully feathered on their wings and getting some back feathers as well.  The ducks are just now starting to make some small "quack" noises.  They aren't very loud yet but in a week or so I am guessing they will all be quacking away.  We have been having some issues with the waterer.  The ducks sure do make a big mess with the water.  We opened up their area to include the dog crate and an area between the pool and crate for the waterer and put cardboard on the floor with some sprinkled chips.  So far this has helped and we no longer have a small pool full of soaked wood chips and chick/duckling poop... it smelled to say the least.  Now I simply remove some cardboard boxes covered in the wet wood chips and replace with clean fresh boxes.     

They have decided that they prefer the crate, although they do venture back into the pool often.  
Our older 4 chicks are outside in our old small coop and doing well.  They have a small run which is enough for them for the time being.  They get to roost in the coop, scratch and peck around in the grass and dust bath in the chip dust so their lives are fulfilled for the time being.  In a few weeks they will need more space to spread their wings but hopefully when that time comes we will have the big coop finished.  Then the younger flock will head outside into the small coop until big enough to be with the older birds.  Once in the small coop I can put out a nice pool for the ducks to really go for a swim!

Mr. Roo Man!
Here is a Barred Plymouth Rock Pullet and Cockerel.  Note the differences: feathering colour, comb and waddle length as well as  colour and the wash on the feet (cockerel feet in photo above) and beak.  The pullets typically have darker feathering, foot and beak colouring, slower growth and lighter colour in the comb and waddles. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

They're Here!

Our chicks and Ducklings arrived yesterday!  In preparation for their arrival we purchased a round kiddie pool and filled it with wood chips.  We also purchased a new trough style feeder similar to this one.  We purchased a large waterer for the month old chicks and gave the small waterer to the day olds.  I do believe the ducklings are a few days old since they are far to large to be day olds.  Also some of the chicks are already getting wing feathers so they are likely a few days old already.  I assumed they would all be within a few days old but they can't possibly guarantee all day olds.  For me if they are a few days old that is great, they are far less fragile after a few days.  We have hung the heat lamp over the pool and put a thermometer inside to monitor the temp.

Also, we received 13 chicks as opposed to 12 which is how many we ordered.  I think they gave us only 1 New Hampshire X and then 3 Barred Rocks and 3 Black Sex Link to make up for it giving us 13 in total. Although once they get more feathered out it will be far easier to tell... for now the best we can do is guess.  So far, the kids have been loving the new arrivals.  I simply cannot believe how adorable the ducklings are!  

Our 4 Pekins!
Rouen.  Similar to the Mallard only heavier and domesticated.
Duck Feet!  Rouen on the left and Pekin on the right (as well as a chick foot squeezed in).

Fuzzy Bums!  Bums starting from the left: Pekin, Barred Rock and RIR.

Sleeping Chickies!  Left is a Columbian Rock Cross and right is a RIR (I think) who is even rooting!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

BTC ACRE... Coming Along

Things are really moving over here at the new place.  We weeded one of the existing garden beds over the past weekend and put in some of our tomato plants.  I started some more seeds such as squash, broccoli, peppers and cabbage.   In addition to our seeds we went and purchased some strawberry, blueberry and raspberry plants.  Aaron is going to build a strawberry tower and we will be planting the other berries once we've decided on a good location.

More seeds planted.
Ready for the ground!  *Fingers crossed - Stay away frost*
 Those were what the weeds were like before we dug them all out.

One more bed to weed.

 Our tomatoes with an eco-friendly rabbit/rodent repeller... i.e. rubber snake.  :)

In other news, we adopted 4 3 week old chicks from one of Aaron's coworkers.  The coworker had purchased 4 day old chicks for his kids at Easter.  They spent time watching them grow simply for the experience and were ready to get rid of them.  Aaron offered to take them and it was a win win situation.  So we now have 2 Barred Rocks and 2 what we believe to be Rhode Island Reds.  The chicks were not purchased sexed so we are fairly sure we have 1 BR Cockerel... but only time will tell if we are correct.  We are unsure what we will do with any roosters we acquire but if they are not aggressive or too loud we may keep 1 or 2.  The kids have been having a blast feeding them dandelions and seeded grass.

Seriously... how cute are these little chickies!?!

Our Suspected Roo!

I must say it is a very nice feeling knowing no one will be able to tell us to get rid of our birds.  Just today there was yet another article in the local paper about a family with some Rouen Ducks (which we are getting 4 of next week) who are now being forced to get rid of them.  There is an 11 year old girl who will now lose her pets and 2 ducks that will lose their home.  I am so very thankful that we were able to sell our home and find a property that suited our desired lifestyle.  Every time I walk out into our yard or drive up to the house I get this feeling of inner peace I never had living at our old home.  Many people think we were nuts moving from our trendy, modern subdivision home into the sticks, but I think its crazy not too.  Whats not to love about being back with nature where we belong.  It is unbelievable satisfying being where we are and having the freedom to grow most of our own food.

My advice to anyone considering making a move into the county is.... Do it, you will never look back.