The Basket Discovered
After our barn fire I went with my children and stayed for a few days with my parents while we waited for our animals to be buried and for our home's electricity to be restored (the fire burned up the transformer connected to our home).
Returning home was so hard...the view was forever changed.
Shortly after being home I went into the kitchen and noticed the last basket of collected eggs from our hens that lost their lives as well in the fire.
I then went through the basket one by one, candeling each egg to find the ones that looked to be free of cracks and fertilized.
We ended up with a dozen eggs that I then placed in our incubator. This was only my second time trying my hand at incubating eggs since we started our farm journey. The first time I was not very successful at it...I just kept praying that God would bless us with these little ones.
The 21 day countdown began!
We all watched with great anticipation. Day after day I would have to check the humidity level and temperature to make sure it was in the correct range.
(Sorry this one is blurry, it was the only photo I have of our little ones watching.)
Then the first little chick started to emerge! It was so exciting to see that little beak move on the inside of it's shell.
Within 24 hours this sweet little chick emereged as well as four more!
There was such an unexpected and overwhelming feeling that with God's help we were able to save some of our animals from that horrorific night.
They are a beautiful cross breed between our Ameraucana Rooster and our Rhode Island Red Hens. We were blessed with one rooster and four hens!
To see and to hold these sweet little ones in our hands, to watch them peck at the ground and hop around so full of life...was a great blessing during a time of great sorrow.
We kept them in our house for a time until they were old enough to move to a larger brooder box...which still needed to be built.
My husband had his hands full taking care of things for our family and so my brother asked if there was anything he could do to help us. So I asked if he would make us a brooder box for our chicks. After looking over my design ideas...he made this great home for them! They lived here until they were old enough to move to our coop (which needed to be built as well).
They thrived and loved their new home where they could flap their little wings and run from side to side!
Here they are...ready to move into their new coop! It was so difficult to take a decent photo of these little ones since they were so active.
After much discussion we decided to purchase a shed, built by the Amish, to convert into a coop for our new flock.
My loving husband framed a divider wall for me so that I could have a feed room in the front of the shed. We also layed down some inexpensive linoleum flooring to help cleaning out the coop to be much easier and to help preserve the plywood floor.
Our children pitched in to help where ever they could! There is quite a bit of therapy that comes from getting your hands busy while your heart is grieving.
We were and are so thankful to have this nice coop for our hens...and it appears Latte (our white goat) approves, too!
Here are all 5 hatchlings just a few months old. They are still thriving on our little farm and will live out all their days with our family.
Now all that is left is to paint the outside and of course adding some chicken friendly landscaping. :)
Chickens are so much fun to have on a homestead!
- They provide daily chores which can help you teach your children to be responsible through all kinds of weather.
- Amazing composting skills! We no longer throw away all those bits of food that accumulate day after day. They all go into a collection bucket that when filled is given to them to turn into delicous eggs.
- Allowed to free range on your property...they love to eat weed seeds and insects. I have seen them feast on Japanese Beatles!
- Teaching your children where our food comes from and to value life.
- A final thought...we love to watch them peck around the yard. This act alone can be a great way to relax and even get a laugh as you watch them chase after that fly away grasshopper! :)