Some of my favorite blogs to read are day-in-the-life blogs. I find it interesting how other people set up their routine for the day. A blog like that makes you feel as though you’re walking right along with a friend, helping out with chores. So I invite you all to come along with me for a day with our chickens.
Oliver, our Golden Retriever is my alarm clock. He jumps on the bed and rouses me for his breakfast and potty time. I get dressed in my warm, work clothes and head downstairs. Oliver is waiting by the door. I get my coat and hat and we both head outside. Oliver runs around the yard, nose to the ground, looking for that perfect spot while I make my way to the woodpile.
With an arm full of wood I call Oliver and we go back in the house. My husband Zach started the fire early this morning, so I just have to add these logs to the wood burning furnace.
The coffee pot gurgles that familiar gurgle and I pour myself a cup and top it off with goat milk. With coffee in hand, I make my way to the back mud room to fill the 5 gallon buckets of warm water for the chickens. We call this bucket season. It’s winter so the hoses are empty and rolled up in the barn as not to freeze and crack. While the bucket fills I sip my coffee and check an e-mail or two.
I pull on my barn boots and coat and Oliver and I head out again.
If there’s snow on the ground the water buckets go into an old black sled and I pull it out to the animals. With the snow, we will also have to clear the walkways to the barn and coop with the snow blower. So far, it’s been a mild winter.
I get to the coop and let the chickens and turkeys out to range for the day. The rubber water pail looks a little dirty so I pour a bit of warm water in, give it a scrub with the scrub brush on the shelf and pour out the soiled water. It gets another swirl of clean water and I fill it for them to drink.
Then I open the lid to the first galvanized garbage can which holds our turkey food. (To read more about what we feed our turkeys check out my post Feeding Turkeys) I dip a scoop of feed and top off the turkey feeder. The second can holds layer feed for our chickens. This feeder gets topped off as well.
The chickens and turkeys know the rustle of the metal can and come running to see if there are treats. I’m careful not to step on anyone underfoot as the turkeys crowd me and peck at the scoop in my hand.
I check the oyster shell and grit pans. The oyster shell is fine, but they could use a bit more grit so that gets a smaller scoopful.
I make my way over to the barn and pull the big door open where I am greeted by the maas and hollers of our goats. They will be taken care of next. I grab a few flakes of straw from the stack that we keep and head back to the coop.
Fresh straw gets placed under the roosting ladder, and in the egg boxes. We use deep liter method in the winter which acts like a shallow compost and creates heat for the animals in the winter.
There’s two eggs in the nest boxes. which is a treat this time of year. Pure white from our Leghorns, our best layers. I place them carefully in my coat pocket and make a mental note that they’re there.
I call Oliver and we head back in the house. The eggs get placed in wire basket on the porch and the bucket goes back to the mudroom.
The chickens are set for the day. When my husband gets home he will check their water again before he comes in the house and if it’s frozen he’ll bring out another bucketful.
The turkeys and chickens spend their day roaming the yard pecking at this and that. It’s winter so it’s slim pickings for bugs but there’s plenty of grass still.
Around dusk, the roosters start crowing and gathering the girls to go in for the night. One by one they make their way to the coop.
When all the chickens and turkeys are in for the night Zach and I fill yet another bucket of water and grab the bowl of vegetable scraps that I keep in the kitchen. It holds the peelings and ends of the veggies we’ve eaten for the day. We make our way out to close everyone in for the night.
The chickens are lined up on the rungs of the roosts. Chest to chest like little round loaves of bread. There’s soft cooing and a few irritated clucks as everyone adjusts for their sleeping positions.
I check some of the rooster’s combs for signs of frostbite, and check legs and feathers for any mites. Nighttime is a good time to do routine checks as the chickens are more docile and easy to handle.
I empty the bucket of kitchen scraps into a rubber pail which will get devoured when the chickens wake in the morning.
Everyone looks good so we close the coop door, bolt the latch and head to the barn to care for the rest of our farm.
Each season calls for different routines. I enjoy the rhythm that the farm brings to my day. It centers me and reminds me to look beyond myself in how I live my life.
We’d love to hear about your routine with your flock. Share by leaving a comment below, or by visiting the Community Chicken’s Facebook Page.