Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chickens, etc.


Our little flock of chicks! We actually have six chicks, but only five are pictured. Trying to take pictures of a flock of chicks is possibly more difficult than cat herding. On the left side is our little Bantam chick with the fluffy legs.

We've got two cuckoo marans. These ones have been the least peppy out of the whole bunch.

We have two buff orpingtons. Their docile demeanor seems to be evident already.

Our sole ameraucana has some attitude! She is constantly running around the brooder getting into the other chick's business. I would bet money that she remains the alpha chicken, if there is such a thing. We selected this seemingly random variety of chicks for cold hardiness and for their different colored eggs (why not?). We should get chocolate brown from the marans and blue-green from the ameraucana. The others should lay beige/cream colored eggs.

Our chicken tractor is being painted right now. It will end up dark purple to match our front door. We'll probably get this done in a week or two. By the time fall rolls around, we'll have a coop completed. We're excited about the utility of a chicken tractor, especially as we are getting prepared to add another garden bed for a berry patch. We plan to plant some green manure in the new garden spot and then move the chicken tractor around the bed to let the chickens work their soil-improving magic.

The garden is free of snow at last! The grass is greening up a bit despite the dogs best efforts to turn our yard into a giant mud puddle.

The most obvious signs of growth in the garden are in my flower bed. A variety of bulbs have come up and most of the perennials are putting out leaves. The shade bed with my hostas, hellebores, columbines and ferns is still doing pretty much nothing.

Today I planted 9 tomatoes in the greenhouse. There should be a mix of purple cherry tomatoes and some beefsteak tomatoes. I also planted out about a dozen purple bell peppers.

The herbs evacuated a greenhouse garden bed into hanging baskets to make room for more plants. The rhubarb evacuated itself into a strawberry-rhubarb pie that was delicious. (The strawberries were store bought.)

Still no salad from the greenhouse. I initially planted out seedlings a week or two earlier than last year (February). This would have been fine more last year's weather, but not this year. Those seedlings froze and died and so a second group of lettuces was planted. Cold temperatures and lots of rain have resulted in slow growth.


  1. Congratulations on the chicks. You will love having them and I think you will really like the Orpingtons...very nice birds. We are struggling to get our salad grens going this year too, hope it warms up soon.

  2. We've definitely had a slow start to spring weather! Snow in Bozeman has prevented most of my plants from really getting started, and gave my tulip leaves a sort of weird frostbite.

  3. What's nicer than new little chicks? So cute! Our ameraucana seemed to be the alpha chick when ours were young also, now she's at the bottom of the pecking order. We also only get brown eggs from her, not the green/blue we were expecting. She's still a great little hen.

  4. It looks like we'll be waiting another week or two for the weather to warm-up. They're forecasting a couple inches of snow for our place today.

    The chicks have definitely been fun! I'm an animal lover so it's been tough not to treat these at pets. I'm thinking we'll keep these chicks as long as they live and not butcher if they stop laying. We talked about doing meat chickens at some point - don't know if I'm cut out for that...

  5. Hi,

    Love your blog! I've started a plot in the community garden this year myself. I live in Great Falls, but would like to move to the Flathead area because I'm also a skydiver. Looking forward to this summer growing in the garden and skydiving at Lost Prairie Boogie. Please feel free to email me