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Thursday, April 1, 2010


HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! Off and running I would say in preparation for the arrival of my little brood next week, or at least the first 9-chicks to arrive, expecting a total of 14. I thought you might like to see the brooder coming together in the first stages. I worked on it as much as time allowed yesterday and again this morning. This Garden Daddy is getting VERY BUST now that real spring has arrived here at the urban farm. I have been in meetings with the Jackson Community Gardens, a "feed the needy" type of program, and I have been over at the site I am managing/coordinating to do some measuring, "sipherin", and some estimates on sizes, directions of rows, chatting with the neighbors and out beating the bushes to get about another 5-plot "owners" to work their plot in the site. Each site in the city is also asked to go in together with all the "plot owners" to have a plot that is donated to our local soup kitchen & food bank which is called RIFA which is Regional-InterFaith Association.
But here are some photos of the rabbit cage conversion to a chick brooder. I have made it to where there are NO SHARP WIRES OR CORNERS (!)...remember, little feet are tender and injuries are most likely fatal at this 1 or 2-day old point. Injuries in general in such young birds will result in the same for the most part. It is a must to make sure to take all precautions with your little pullets as your future laying flock is at stake here and the very food that will go in your mouth. I am showing you the stages I used to remake the cage. I also have a photo of some tools and safety items, mostly gloves to protect your hands from cuts and to fold over sharp edges, for your convenience.

You can see here I added some short casters to roll the cage around for ease of cleaning the area that will be under the area that will be loaded with sawdust in order to soak up wet discharge as well as water spills, etc. The 1/4" mesh floor will allow the little feet to remain in good condition but will allow the small manure to sift through to the sawdust below. This in turn will be added here at the urban farm to the garden as well as added to my site over at the community garden for fertilizer. Since the sawdust is MIXED with the chicken manure, after one or two rains it will have broken down enough to be added and what a difference will be made to the vegetable outcome! It will not only fertilize but the sawdust will add a lightness to the heavy clay soil so often found in these older home sites where my city garden will be. I think I have hit on a winner in all phases of this gardening as not only can I control my eggs I am eating and eventually have some kind of break even point but I can use the manure as the fertilizer and if you have bought any lately and seen the price you will know that since the first of this year the cost has almost doubled.
So your Garden Daddy will leave you today with with this gardening affirmation: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"


  1. Niiiice. Can't wait to get some foul fowl of mine own. I'm thinking guinea fowl because they eat ticks and can also fight snakes.

    Any thoughts there, GD?

  2. Guineas are VERY good at both being "watch dogs" and foraging for almost anything! But remember you must provide some other essential items for their diet. That is IF you intend to have eggs, etc., during laying season. They often have a tendency to need some calcium supplement during that time and you can add it in the way of a FEED supplement or in their water.
    The brooder is in wonderful condition this morning after almost finishing it late yesterday afternoon and I will post more finished pics later today. First chicks arrive on Wednesday. The coop will be ready by then and all things in place to get those "Little GIRLS" in their new home!

  3. BTW: As a feed in addition to their "living off the land" alone, you probably want to feed them a turkey feed IF you intend to NOT have them living with chickens. If you intend to have chickens as well, living together, they can eat what the chickens eat. Otherwise, they might need a little extra protein, maybe up to 18%. Also you might like to know that Guinea have different "SPECIES" where chickens have different "BREEDS". Remember this when you research the variety you will have for your area.

  4. ONE MORE THING: The "French Guinea" is often known to be more of a year round layer than a lot of the other available varieties. In that, you will need the extra protein as well as extra calcium in both shell and feed additives just like chickens. Do you know the term for a "baby" Guinea? It is not "chick" but "KEET"!