Monday, April 17, 2006

Peep prep

A cool and damp April day today, the Monday of April school vacation here, and vacation for me too. We have been scurrying about spring cleaning, gardening and after a big clutter patrol, readying a trip to the local recycling center and swap shop. We also finalized the plans (which doesn't mean they won't change) for the chicken palace and today priced out materials -- I think we can build a 4'x5' moveable coop for less than $200, including the stainless steel roof.

The peeps will be here tomorrow or Wednesday, so tonight we readied the chick brooder -- more complicated than it sounds. We've read the chicks need to be housed at 90F for the first week, with the temperature dropping 5 degrees a week. We set up the plastic bin, lining it with pine shavings and a layer of paper towels, setting the food and water into place, and then setting up the warming lamp. First, using a 75 watt bulb, it was too cold -- then with the infrared heat lamp, it was too hot, 112F (we don't want fried peeps, we want fried eggs later). Finally, we got it just right, a little over 90F under the lamp, cooling to 85F in the corners behind the feeder and waterer. If the peeps arrive tomorrow, we are as ready as we will ever be. Next -- pick-up the materials and get to work on constructing the chicken palace. And planting peas. And a row of mixed nasturtium, calendula, and marigold flowers next to the chicken run. With some spinach. And spinach for us, too..... And so it goes...

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