This past Saturday, our Head of Development, Isabella, relocated her wards to their new home. Annually we raise between 250 and 400 laying hens, including Red Rock, Red Sussex, Red Leghorn, and White Leghorn. This year, due to greater demand for our adult laying hens and the fact that Isabella wants to attend the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Dance Intensive Summer Camp in August, she has started raising her replacement laying hens earlier in the year.
On March 28, 2013, she took delivery of 100 day-old and 200 week-old chicks and placed them in the overhead sleeping compartment of camper #1. Daily, she fed them and changed their water, once a week (with the help of her dad) she changed the bedding.
On April 13, she stained the second sleeping area (dining area) of the camper and prepared the area to separate the birds when it would be required. By design, this type of truck camper is excellent for raising day- and week-old chicks. The roof is low enough to maintain proper heat. The windows at either end allow for natural air flow. The raised section above the truck cabin allows for feeding, watering, and bed changing at shoulder height – no back-breaking bending over required.
On April 17, after her orthodontic appointment, she moved 100 of the birds over to the former dining area in camper #1. Moving some birds gave them more space to walk around while still generating enough heat to remain in the building without heat lamps.
On April 20, Isabella and dad prepared camper #2 for the second stage of the chick raising. Isabella stained all of the raw wood surfaces while dad removed all none essential material from the camper. After the stain had dried, we placed a tarp on top followed by cardboard and straw. Dad drilled holes in a rain barrel that would become the feeder.
Once the chicks were a month old, it was time to move them. Isabella transferred all of the babies to their new accommodations.
Mom and dad helped carry and place the feed and water in the camper and helped hang the heat lamp. Then the three of us emptied and cleaned camper #1 for the next batch of day-old birdies. The soiled bedding was removed and bagged to be composted. The tarps, screens, food trays, and watering containers were washed and disinfected. Mom wiped down the inside of the camper. Isabella swept and scrubbed the floors. One would never guess that 300 chicks spent a month making a mess inside.