The next big thing we did was take the chicks out of the brooder into our “pastured poultry pen” or “chicken tractor.” I had to lift that heavy chicken tractor, and I think I twisted something in my leg, but I got it done. We got the chicks into the tractor. To remind you, from my 33 chicks we are down to 24. This is mostly my fault I think. I think I kept the chicks too hot.
I am very focused on water for the chickens in the chicken tractor. One of the key things I found in watching many, many hours of Joel Salatin is that he claims it takes “30 seconds” to move a chicken tractor in the morning. Well, that is only actually in the “move” part of it. In truth, you have to prepare the water, prepare the food, get everything out there. Take the feeder and waterer out move the tractor, refill everything. I would estimate that it takes approximately 10 minutes actually to move this in the morning. However, we can do it before work/school.
I thought to improve this a bit by having a 5-gallon bucket connected to a nipple waterer inside. This would enable me to have potentially 8 gallons of water and have the nipple water fed from the outside. I would not have to open it up. Thus I came up with this little design of hose and clamps and all. I got it out there, and my first try was a failed. Basically in filling up the 5-gallon bucket overfilled the nipple water. What I need to do is try to extend the hose so that the water stops. I think that will keep the water from the 5-gallon bucket overflowing. I will keep working on my 5 gallon and nipple waterer design.
It was very nice to get the chicks out of the shop. I found out the girls had been putting clean hay on bad in the brooder box, instead of moving the chicks out and removing the dirty hay; thus it smelled badly eventually. This allowed me to teach my daughters about the Navy’s Extra Military Instruction (EMI). It is explained as “EMI is a non-punitive corrective measure used primarily to correct the behavior of a Sailor who is deficient in their military duties.” I had a lot of EMI in my time. Good times.
That got my Wolf Daughter some time out in the compost pile with a hand gardening tool cleaning that brooder box down to the wood. It also got the Oldest Daughter an opportunity to sweep out brooder area of the shop very well, including using some Pine Sol to get it nice and shiny. She also used bleach water to clean out the waterer, feeder and all the tools getting ready for our next batch of chicks. The shop was very nice and clean.
When I moved them out, they were 20 days old but it is a question. Joel Salatin says you can move chicks out between the second and third week. At 20 days I am really in that window, but the Northern Redoubt gets cool at night. Thus it is a real question if we would lose any chicks by the next day. I will let you know on the next update for the first chicken batch.