Monday, March 22, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Baby Hen

So... you want to know what do chickens do all day?? Who doesn't!! Well, here's the low down... from a chicken's perspective...

We wake up at the crack of dawn in our brooder. We can't go outside by ourselves yet, we still don't have enough feathers to protect us from the 37 degree weather. Our brooder keeps us pretty warm at about 50 degrees. So we just mill around the brooding box until the Big One we've bonded to gets up (she likes to sleep in until at least 7:30am!) We like to scratch and kick the shavings everywhere. The Big One sprinkles Starter Crumbles along one side of the box at night so that we have something to eat first thing in the morning (isn't she sweet?)

After the sun starts to warm things up to about 50 degrees in the room our brooder is in (usually ~9:30am), the Big One moves us from the box to the tomato pots. Today, the Big One expanded our area from one pot for 2 of us to include 3 pots for all 4 of us. We're getting pretty big and needed more room to run around.

We stay here until the sun starts to go down, usually ~6:30pm. Then we start screaming REALLY loudly so that the Big One will come and put us back in the brooder box so we can get ready to go to sleep.
Now, I know you want to know what we do all day in the tomato pots. It's really pretty simple. We scratch around. We eat anything interesting that we find. The Big One puts our waterer in there in case we get thirsty (which we do) and a pile of Crumbles in there for us in case we can't find anything to eat or just want a variety. We like to eat any weeds or plants that may be around. We eat the tomato leaves off the plant if we can reach them. They're yummy. We chirp and sing all day.  Sometimes we take a short nap. And we make ALOT of fertilizer!

Every 2-3 days we take a dirt bath. One of us will take the bath and one of the others will assist. Taking a dirt bath is very tiring work, so it's good to have an assistant to help pick you clean. But sometimes I think they're really just there to pick through the yummy stuff we uncover when we dig the little dirt bath hole in the ground! There's always lots of treats to be found.

After such a busy day, we all crowd together in the brooder and fall out face down into the pine shavings. We do make adjustments through the night, sometimes closer to the warmer, sometimes farther away, and sometimes to get up, stretch, and get a drink. The Big One gives us a snack right before bedtime so that we aren't hungry again until morning. But mostly, we just sleep so we can be ready for another fun-filled day tomorrow...


  1. I sure hope I can make my peeps' world as fun as you have yours. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What is in the soil medium of the tomato pots? I was thinking about that and wondered if you had to worry about them eating things like vermiculite or other amendments that aren't food.

  3. Organic potting soil, organic composted cow manure, and organic peat/mulch. I don't fertilize my plants with anything other than composted cow manure. If I need to adjust the pH, I use things like lime and cow manure. But I haven't had to do that in years. I just add peat/mulch and manure to the top layer every year and let it grow.

    I also read that if the hens are eating stuff that isn't good for them, it will usually cause problems with the poo (runny or whatever). Everything seems to be processing normally and they all seem happy and healthy. They're getting huge. I have to finishe the run this weekend.