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Growing Like Crazy and Coop Building Tips

Cecily and Amelia? 2 weeks old and growing like crazy!

Cecily and Amelia at two weeks.
If you have new chicks this year, you already know the fast rate of growth they are experiencing.? Literally overnight they seem to change and develop.? At two weeks old, Cecily and Amelia have grown lots of new baby feathers and are losing the downy fluffy looking appearance.? Each day brings them closer and closer to the not so attractive, teenage chicken phase!? When I pick them up they really like to exercise their growing wings and try out those new flight feathers!? Even though I have the brooder box covered with a cardboard lid and the heat light, I have found Amelia has twice flown the coop!? Lucky for her I happened to look in while she was still warm and comfy.? She was confused as to how she ended up on the floor, but since she could flap her wings she had not fallen, but merely flown down to the ground.? The biggest problem with this happening is that the chick will become chilled before you find it, so if your babies are starting to look for independence, make sure the lid is secure while still allowing ventilation into the brooder.? This week I introduced a small handful of hay into the brooder.? The girls quickly made a nest out of it and I found them sleeping contentedly.
It’s not to soon to be working on a plan for moving the girls to an outdoor coop. Although you need to wait until the nights are warmer, having a plan will make the transition go smoothly. ? If you already have an outdoor chicken coop then you will just need a baby area to integrate the little ones into the flock.? Remember, the pecking order will be upset so keep a close eye on the babies any time they are allowed interaction with any older hens.? I use a dog crate or chicken wire pen inside the coop once the babies are big enough.? This gives them some room to peck the ground and get to know the other chickens without being picked on! ?
If you are new to chicken raising you are probably deciding what type of coop and enclosure you want in your backyard.? There are many styles to choose from and you can even use your garage or existing shed to safely house the new chickens.? Just be sure to clean out any chemicals or other materials that have been stored before the chickens investigate potential hazards.??
It’s been too chilly to take Cecily and Amelia out this week, but I am planning an outing soon.? I want them to experience dirt and grass.? Just for a short time to start and I’ll have to make sure they can’t fly away on those beautiful new wings!??
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SHEEP AND GOATS AND WOOL.

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Ranger steps up on the grooming stand for his first shearing. ? ? ?
10 goats to shear and now this year an additional two sheep, loomed before me. I had not sheared a sheep since college so I was a bit unsure of myself.? Removing the goat fleece has become almost a routine task, although a back breaking one, but I didn’t want to tackle the beautiful sheep fleece without a refresher course.? Our friends agreed to help me.? Shearing day started out cloudy with showers but we were optimistic!? While waiting for our friends Martin and Mitzi to arrive, I did manage to get one of the goats sheared. So we were on the way.?? Martin suggested that we start at the shoulder area to get into the dense fleece.? Then we worked along the back and sides? and let the fleece fall down on either side.? When I do the goats, I start at the top line and remove fleece along the back bone first.? This helps me remove a lot of guard hair first, which you do not have to be concerned with when shearing sheep.

after most of the fleece is removed it is easier to place the sheep on the ground to remove any wool from the neck, inside of legs and belly area.? The sheep like to pretend they are dead at this point!? They can be such drama queens!

What a beautiful boy!? Thanks for growing all the wool, Ranger!

Now it was Millie’s turn. She was on to us and did not appreciate the chance to have the pounds of heavy wool removed from her body.? But once she was in the stand, Millie acted like a good girl and ate little bits of sweet feed while the shearing progressed.

oops.? I promised her I wouldn’t post this picture

blurry picture but Millie sure looks good.

Don’t even think about shearing me!

Endless possibilities!? Beautiful soft creamy white wool.? This will make some amazing yarn

After all the goats and sheep have been sheared.? I have a lot of raw wool to process! It is all so gorgeous.?

?The girls just wanted to be part of the post.

This is Big Feather Foot.? She is a cuddle bug!