Chicken Brooding 101

It’s that time of year where people start seeing sweet little chicks at the store and end up with the cutest impulse purchases! This year, there has been a huge increase in demand for chicks as more and more people are thinking about raising their own food. Unfortunately with new chick ownership comes mishaps and failures that can end up with sickly or dead chicks. Nobody wants that to happen! So as a poultry owner myself, I thought I would share a few tips with my readers on proper brooding care!

  1. Brooding in a plastic tub is not ideal. It tends to get too warm for the chicks.
  2. Make sure your brooder has enough space for your chicks as they grow.
  3. Don’t get just one chick. They are social creatures and need friends.
  4. Don’t brood ducklings and chicks together! The ducks make a watery mess and get the chicks all cold and wet!!
  5. Have a back up heat lamp!! This is especially important if you are brooding chicks outside of your home in a coop. I keep a secondary heat lamp on in case the main one goes out.
  6. Make sure you have 4 designated areas for your chicks. A warm area under the lamp, a cooling area in case they get hot, an area for watering, an area for feed.
  7. Place a thermometer under your heated area so you can keep ideal temperature. I have a hangable Producer’s Pride thermometer that works great. It even has marked spots for the appropriate temperature at each growing stage.
  8. Try to keep cool drafts to a minimum.
  9. Make sure bedding is clean and most importantly DRY.
  10. Place flat cardboard pieces under your feeders and waterers to prevent bedding from getting into dishes.
  11. Don’t limit feed your chicks or laying hens unless told by your veterinarian. Only think about limiting rations if you are growing broilers as they can and will overeat.
Example of a small brooder. The heat lamp should go on the left side of the container.
Red heat lamps are said to help with the natural cycle of laying hens as it is highly dependent on light. My opinion is as long as they are warm it doesn’t matter what color you have.
This is the brooder in our coop. I waited a couple weeks to move them up to this larger brooder. Feed is on the right, water is on the left, and heat lamps are in the middle.
Another brooder picture before we added chicks. Be sure to do your best to proof your coop from predators.

Another great resource for information on your chicks’ health is at cacklehatchery.com. It is where I ordered my chicks from this year. They have great articles and YouTube videos on proper chick and chicken care! I’d love to hear any questions or comments about your brooding setups or about raising birds in general. Feel free to comment below or contact me!

Until next time…

The Ag Wife

Adopt a Pet Spotlight

This week’s Spotlight is on Patrick the rooster! From what I hear he’s got quite the personality. He may be a little vain but who can blame him? He is a pretty boy! He loves to supervise the horse lessons at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch and make sure everything is as it should be. Patrick is a year and a half old and has been at the ranch since September of last year.

Patrick the rooster helping teach riding lessons

If you are interested in Patrick, feel free to check out his bio on the Longmeadow Rescue Ranch website! Be sure to check out their adoption requirements before inquiring about an animal.

Until next time…

The Ag Wife

Adopt A Pet Spotlight

Sequoia

This week’s Adopt A Pet Spotlight star’s a sweet girl named Sequoia! She is about 12 years old and is broke for an intermediate rider. Here is what Longmeadow Rescue Ranch staff have to say about her:

“Sequoia was surrendered to Longmeadow in the fall of 2020, when her owners could no longer provide the care for her. From day one Sequoia has stood out to the staff and volunteers with her beautiful paint markings and bold blaze. Sequoia is a kind mare that greets every person with a whinny. She has been evaluated by our trainer, and is currently being ridden at the walk and trot. She is still green under saddle, thus she will require a confident intermediate rider at this time. Sequoia will need to continue her training with a rider that can properly communicate verbal and leg cues. We have found that Sequoia needs front shoes. She is tender footed without them. She is easy to catch, deworm, and stands nicely for the vet and farrier. Sequoia gets along with everyone she is paired with, but does not do well turned out by herself.”

If you are interested in Sequoia or any other animals at Longmeadow, please check out it their adoption requirements and other information on their website. They are having specials this month on horses and pigs!

Clean Spring!

It’s getting to be the time of year where households across the country are feeling the effects of the recent additional hour of daylight given to us thanks to Daylight Savings Time. What do you do with the extra light? When it comes to our home, we are outside doing our spring chores to be ready for the warm weather to come! But as many know, this time of year is especially known for days of rain and mud. These rainy spring days make me especially antsy to get some work done. So, the cabin fever soon turns into indoor spring cleaning!

In addition to the normal laundry, sweeping, mopping, dishes, etc. I like to do some extra deep cleaning and organizing in our home to freshen things up and help with dust/allergens. One thing people tend to forget about are the insides of their window sills. They get dirty and dusty during the winter and once the warmer weather starts happening, they want to open up their windows to let the fresh air in! If the sills are filthy, you get a lot more than just fresh air coming into your home. A quick vacuum and wipe down is all they really need to reduce the dirt and dust!

Another important thing we like to do is shampoo our rugs and carpets. With my rugs I use a pretty straight forward process of beating and vacuuming. To get a deep clean I will put my small rugs in my washing machine on a delicate cycle with laundry detergent and some sort of oxi-boosting powder. Once they are finished I make sure to air dry them as rubbery plastic bits get shredded off in the dryer and will ruin the rug! For our big area rugs and carpets we will move out furniture and throughly vacuum the area before taking a carpet cleaner to finish the job. If you’ve got small children that insist on playing on your wet, freshly cleaned carpets, I would recommend giving them a good clean early in the morning and then taking them out for the day to grandmas or the zoo! When you get home they will have had the time to properly dry.

The next thing on the list for me is to do a deep clean of our linoleum and synthetic wood floors. The synthetic wood flooring should be fairly straight forward to clean as it was recently installed. A quick sweep and mop should do the trick. Our kitchen and bathroom floors on the other hand will be more of a challenge. They are textured linoleum and get build up from our daily farm shenanigans even though we have a shoe off policy at the door. The best way to I know get those floors shining is good old Pine-sol and some old fashioned hands-and-knees scrubbing. I don’t do this all the time and when I do, I only have time to do it in sections. Usually I’ll start on one end of the house and slowly work my way to the other end until everything is scrubbed down. If I keep up with spot cleaning and a quick weekly mop, it keeps me from having to scrub the floors as often.

Another thing I like to do in the spring is go through the closets to thin out, donate, and organize clothing. When I have our dressers and closets organized it makes finding things every day much quicker and easier for the family. I also like to fold and store things in a way that all items are visible and easy to find. I tend to use small boxes and organizers for smaller things like underwear, socks, and onesies.

I used an old book case to store our bath towels.
Our daughter’s care supplies such as thermometers, medicine, lotion, and fingernail clippers.
Our daughter’s receiving blankets
Our daughter’s onesies and pajamas
My husband’s jeans and work pants are all folded and 100% visible so he’s not looking for clothes.
My tank tops, short sleeved T-shirts, and long sleeved T-shirts

As for our hanging clothes, I don’t have much of a method for organizing them in the closet except that I use uniform, space saving hangers. They make a huge difference in making the closet looking more organized and clothes more visible.

What are some things your family like to do to freshen things up for the spring? What are some tips and tricks that you need to make your spring cleaning go smoother? I would love to hear from you!

Until next time…

The Ag Wife

Adopt A Pet Spotlight

Trudy

This week’s Adopt A Pet Spotlight is for a sweet mare named Trudy. This girl is a SURVIVOR! She was on her way to slaughter with many other horses last year when the semi truck and trailer they were being transported in wrecked, injuring and traumatizing the horses inside. The tireless staff at Longmeadow jumped into action and rescued her along with 14 other horses and have been rehabilitating them since.

Trudy is look for a home that she could be a pasture pet only as she has soundness issues. Here is what Longmeadow’s staff have to say about this sweet girl:

“Trudy was one of the surviving 15 horses rescued from a semitrailer wreck on October 18th, 2020. We were told by the owner of the horses that he was transporting them for slaughter. In a fateful twist of events Trudys life was saved. Although she experienced trauma, Trudy has never once offered to be anything but kind. On the scene she loaded right up into a trailer headed to Longmeadow where she was examined by a veterinarian. Trudys wounds from the wreck were minor but she was underweight and suffering from overgrown hooves. The veterinarian discovered she has severe high ringbone in her right front pastern. The vet determined she is comfortable being a pasture pet without any riding. She is now a healthy weight, has had several corrective hoof trimmings and started on a supplement for arthritis. She has had her teeth floated, routine dewormings and vaccinations. She gets along well with mares and geldings alike but does tend to be higher on the pecking order. She can occasionally be pushy on the ground, but also adores cuddles and treats. This sweet mare is looking for a forever home that will give her lots of love for the rest of her life.”

If you are interested in Trudy, or any other animals that reside at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch, feel free to click on the hyperlinks to their website. Also be sure to check out their adoption requirements before making your decision to adopt an animal.

Until next time…

The Ag Wife

Our Camping Solution

Our campsite

We went on a camping trip a couple weeks ago with our RV and road horses with our friends! Overall it was a fun and successful weekend getaway. However, while we have loved the space and comfort of our RV, camping with it has come with a few drawbacks.

First, it has a limited tow capacity. Our initial thought was we could save up for a horse trailer to pull behind, but since the RV is already so heavy, it would have to be a very small trailer. It would have been okay for the short term, but if we ever decide to get my husband his own horse we wouldn’t have enough room.

Secondly and most troublesome was that with the RV, once you get to camp you can’t really go anywhere else. Most of the time when we go we are close to people with cars that could give us a ride if we needed, but if there was ever an emergency it would be ideal if we had our own vehicle to jump in. We even thought about towing a car behind the RV. But then if we did that, we wouldn’t be able to bring a horse trailer. My mother suggested we could always drive a car separately, but part of camping is the road trip getting there. We love riding in the car together as a family, so driving separate was not a desirable option.

One evening my husband and I were driving home after a date night, and I had a thought. What if we sold our RV and my SUV to purchase a truck and horse trailer for camping? If we got a four door truck I could use it for moving our daughter around as well as on our little farm for odd jobs. Then when we went camping we would have our horses AND a way to drive somewhere if we needed to! My husband jumped at the idea and soon had our vehicles listed for sale.

Our beloved little RV ended up selling very quickly as it is near camping season. We will miss it dearly. But with the money we made, we were able to turn around a purchase the perfect trailer with just enough space for our little family! Luckily, my mother is generous enough to let us borrow her truck when we need it, so we were able to pick it up and tow it home! It needs a little cleaning up and elbow grease but it is going to be wonderful for us once it is ready!

Now all we need to do is get my SUV sold to get a truck and we will be set for new adventures! How do my readers prefer to camp? What is YOUR ideal camping setup? I’d love to hear from you all!

Until next time…

The Ag Wife

Adopt a Pet Spotlight

This week’s Adopt a Pet Spotlight features a pot bellied pig named Maxwell! He is called a barrow. This means he has been neutered/castrated. This little guy is young, lovable, and willing to learn!

Maxwell

Here’s what the staff at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch have to say about Maxwell:

“Maxwell is a very sweet and talkative piggie. He loves any and all affection, and loves to tell his handlers when he needs more attention! He is extremely intelligent and wants nothing more than to please his adopter. He already knows how to sit on command and could easily be taught many more tricks! Maxwell does not know how to walk on a harness, but he would learn very quickly!
Before being surrendered to us, Maxwell lived in a home and had access to a fenced in yard. According to his previous owners he is mostly potty trained to going outside or using potty pads! He also lived with a large dog and they got along very well!”

If you are interested in Maxwell please take a look at his adoption information on Longmeadow’s website. Be sure to look at adoption requirements as well for Maxwell or any other animal you may be interested in that resides at Longmeadow!

Adoption Fees are waved for pigs at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch for the month of March! So get while the getting is good and go check out their sweet piggies!!

Until next time…

The Ag Wife

The Chicks Are Here!

Our chicks hatched on February 22nd as scheduled and were in the mail system that very afternoon! Newborn chicks are able to be shipped in the mail with a fair amount of ease. This is because when they hatch they come with a reserve tank of nutrients that will keep them healthy without feed for up to three days!

As everyone whose cracked an egged knows, there is the egg yolk and the egg white. The yellow egg yolk is absorbed into the chicks body cavity as it grows in the egg. When it hatches. The chick absorbs the rest of the yolk for proper nutrition! Pretty cool right? Of course this neat little physiology tidbit did not keep me from stressing about them until their arrival two days later.

When I picked them up at the post office they were chirping and ready to get out of there box. The box felt nice and toasty so I think the post office had some sort of warm place for the box to wait until I got there. When I got them home and had a look inside, I noticed they were all active, healthy, and dry. The hatchery expertly packed them with soft bedding and a special moisture absorbing pack of some sort. I made a short video that shows the package material at the initial unboxing of the chicks.

After they were unboxed and inspected, I took each chick out and dipped their beak in the water trough. This is an important step because they need to get hydrated as quickly as possible after being shipped. I also made sure that the water was about 98-100 degrees for the first two days they were home so when they drank, they would not lose body temperature.

While we were taking our initial count we noticed that we were sent three extra Rhode Island Red chicks. Now we have 12 Rhode Island Reds, 5 Plymouth White Rocks, and 1 Black Australorp for a grand total of 18 birds! We only wanted one male Australorp, but who knows what these extra chicks will turn out to be!

The overall health of the chicks has been fair to good. I have noticed the occasional wet stool and vent caking, so to help with this I added an extra water trough that contains special electrolytes along with their regular water. I also periodically remove any stuck fecal matter from their vents by soaking with warm water and gently rubbing with a warm wet cloth. If they continue to have issues I will add a probiotic to their water to ensure proper gut health.

As for the initial reaction from our daughter, she is ecstatic to say the least. She’s learned to call to the chicks and has since woken us up every morning calling, “chick, chick, chick, chick!” We hope she stays this excited as they grow and is able to learn about animals and where our food comes from!

Until next time…

The Ag Wife

Adopt a Pet Spotlight

Our first Adopt a Pet Spotlight subject is a chunky, cuddly pot bellied pig named Chumley! He has resided at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch since 2018 due to no fault of his own. The rescue staff have written an adorable bio about him I will post below.

“Chumley was purchased from a breeder as a piglet when he was just 2 months old. He was neutered as a piglet and lived in the same home until he was surrendered to Longmeadow. Chumley is a friendly and loving pig. He is very smart and eagerly waiting for someone to teach him some tricks. He doesn’t know how to walk on a harness but could quickly be taught. Of course, he is very food motivated. He also flops over for belly rubs. He came from a home with small and large dogs and got along with everyone. (although pigs should never be left alone with dogs)
Chumley’s previous owners told us that he is house trained and will ask to go outside. He is also crate trained. He also will allow you to trim his nails in exchange for belly rubs!
If you are looking for an indoor pig that would make an easy transition, Chumley is your guy! He has quickly become a staff favorite. He always greets visitors with a piggy smile.
Adoption fee 75
Before coming to adopt a mini pig please check the laws in your town and HOA to make sure they are allowed.
Adoptable animals can be seen by appointment only!”

If you are interested in more information about Chumley, feel free to get ahold of Longmeadow Rescue Ranch at (636) 583-8759
Ask for information about animal ID number A655951.

If you are interested in viewing other adoptable animals or want to look up adoption home requirements, visit Longmeadow’s website!

Until next time…

The Ag Wife

Exciting News!

Today’s post is going to stray slightly from our normal family farm updates to announce that we will be hosting a new weekly feature! Every week, I will be posting an article about pet adoption! Pet adoption is a wonderful and responsible way to bring home a new member of the family. There is one facility in particular I will be posting adoption information about that is located in Union, Missouri. Stay tuned for our Adopt a Pet Spotlight!

Tucked away between the hills and valleys in a small town in Missouri, there is a place that for the past 30 years has been a sanctuary to misplaced and mistreated animals of all shapes and sizes. Longmeadow Rescue Ranch was purchased in 1988 and has long since played a pivotal role in animal rescue and adoption. When browsing their website, one can view anything from chickens, to pigs, to horses that are in need of loving home. This organization proves that adoption isn’t just for cats and dogs, but all manner of creatures for a willing adopter.

Longmeadow goes above and beyond by matching adoptable pets with the perfect family. They even go as far as providing an entire equine training program and facility complete with expert trainers and staff to ensure horses and owners that partake in training are fully prepared for their new life together.

I cannot wait to go on this ride of awareness with Longmeadow Rescue Ranch and all of my dear readers! Get ready for a weekly dose of undeniable cuteness!

Until next time…

The Ag Wife