This is the first post in our official “ChickensDirect” Alaska blog. May 15 over 1,000 chicks showed up at the Anchor Point, AK post office, shipped up here from Pennsylvania. About half of these were sold the first few days, what doesn’t sell we are going to raise and sell as full grown. I didn’t blog earlier because it was a very busy 2 weeks, as my brother in law and his family was also here over that time. We also had 200 layers schedule to be shipped up, but they were delayed a week due to a bad hatch, and after struggling with regulating temperature, I decided to post pone them for later.
My first brainstorm was to build a small greenhouse to keep the chicks in. Since we are off the grid, I figured this would save on heating costs, as the heat lamps have to be run by generator, or our battery bank. The green house idea did work-to a point. The problem was it worked to well, and keeping the greenhouse under 97 degrees during the day proved to be a challenge, even in the brisk Alaska spring air. Very soon we are going to build a regular coop, and will be using the chick greenhouse for tomatoes instead.
We also have some guineas and turkeys to try out. I was dismayed how hard it is to keep turkeys alive, they are very creative at dying in the strangest ways, like drowning in their water dish. The guineas seem to be pretty easy to raise. If you do raise guineas or turkeys, remember to use game bird feed and not the regular chick starter. It is a good idea to keep the turkeys separate from the chicks as they can give each other diseases, like blackhead disease.
Do you have children? Raising chickens is a great way to teach them how to work. Also any child loves holding baby birds, just be sure they wash their hands afterwards. It can be traumatic for the children when you lose birds, as almost no one can avoid losing a few chicks, and nobody likes seeing a little dead chick in the coop. This is a good way to teach them about life and death.
Here are some photos from our “coop”:
Our dog “Noodles” outside the coop. She actually lets the chicks alone.
Silkies and Rhode Island Red/White Rock hybrids. These will be used as layers. The black chick is Shane’s pet.
Here are the broilers, we have Freedom Rangers in here, and some cornish crosses.
Kallia loves helping in the chicken coop.
When we took this picture these moose were about 30 feet from the coop. No trouble with bears-yet.