Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Preparing for the new chicks, the lost Knox box, and packing for a trip

Since I'm going to be away from home for the next week and a half and two days after I return the new chicks arrive I figured that I'd better prepare for them now.  Since I don't know what the weather is going to be when I return I've got everything set up in the laundry room.  I brought in a water tank that was in the pasture last season but it sprung a leak at one of the seams.  I will be fixing it before summer but for now, it will be perfect for the baby chicks.  I have a heat lamp that's hanging over the tank.  I had a pile of pine shavings that I put on the bottom of the tank.  I have two little waterers that screw onto canning jars.  I set up two one quart jars.  I won't fill them until I return but it's all ready otherwise. 

I forgot to bring in the feeder from the barn.  It's about a foot long with little spaces for the chicks to put their beaks in to get at the food.  I'll bring it in when I return.  When I first started raising chicks I just put the food into a bowl but they climb in and soil the food.  It's better this way.  When I've had them in an old rabbit cage I had the food on the outside of the cage and they were able to squeeze their heads through to get to the food.  That worked great because it kept the food completely clean. 

For the first few days you can't have them in the shavings.  A layer of newspaper is put on top of the shavings.  This only lasts for a couple of days.  Then they can be directly in the shavings.  You don't want to put them in sawdust or sand because they are too stupid and will try to eat that rather than their food. 

I have two heat lamps but because they will be in the house I should only need one.  You keep the area right under the lamp at 95 degrees for the first week and lower the temperature by five degrees each week.  If they are huddling to much and not walking around during the day then you should add a second lamp or lower it a little closer.  If they don't huddle when they are young then the heat is too high. 

The front gate is great but my Knox box never arrived.  That's the box that's required to be put out front for the fire department to use.  It has a switch in it that they can flip if they need to get in and the gate is locked (it's got a remote controlled and keypad lock).  Of course, in a TEOTWAWKI situation I wouldn't want them to be able to get in but if that was the case I could disconnect the switch by removing the wiring.  Not an issue.  Of course, in these times, if I didn't have a Knox box and the house was on fire the fire department would just run over the gate.  Never mind that it's wrought iron.  I've seen them do it before.  It leaves a mangled mess and they aren't liable for destroying it. 

I contacted the Knox box company and told them that it never arrived.  It was shipped last November...ok, so I'm a little slow at letting them know, but it's not going in until the spring anyway.  They contacted me the next day to tell me that FedEx had lost it and they were sending out a replacement.  It should arrive when I'm out of town. Son-in-law has been directed to put it into the garage.

I'm looking forward to this trip.  I'll learn a lot and have fun at the same time.  No guns allowed where I'm going.  I usually don't check luggage so the first thing I do is pick up a knife.  Not this trip.  I am checking luggage so I've got a couple of knives packed.  They're packed with the fishing equipment although I'm not planning on fishing. 

I don't know if I'll be able to get onto the computer.  If I can I'll definitely write.  Otherwise I'll be back on the 11th or 12th.

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