We have a problem
Living on a farm, spring time gets very busy. Repairing the wear and tear of winter, prepping the land for summertime, simply getting outside and having fun. We found some of our favorite projects this past spring was the little oasis we built-on in the garden. The garden is far from finished, barley started in my eyes, but still a relaxing space to escape. However, we did find it very hard to enjoy at first, because nearly every visit out to the garden we found somewhere on us; Ticks! On our arms, clothes, shoes… I know- gross and scary!
Keeping it Organic
Now, in our second year of keeping bees, we are very cautious with what we use on the farm chemically to treat for bugs or spray on the grass; so we wanted to handle our little bug problem as natural as we could, enter stage right- guinea hens.
Guinea hens are known for two things. One being loud obnoxious sound alarms for the farm, and two, eating ticks. We did this hobby farm thing a little backwards; as the first thing most people recommend is start by raising chickens and move up from there. Jose grew up raising chickens on his grandfather farm, and didn’t seem too eager in our first few years, but we both knew we would add them eventually. Well, the time to add backyard chickens was out of hands, because we had a tick problem and we needed it taken care of.
Our first Flock
If you have a TSC in your area, you should head in between now and September 23. You’ll see a few rows of livestock feeders filled with heat lamps in cute little chirping baby chicks. They call it, Chick Days, a campaign they host twice a year, one in the spring and one in the fall, where they sell a variety of different chicken breeds and even a few ducks in most of their stores. Most stores are participating in Fall Chick Days, but TSC carries 60+ breeds online year-round, with free shipping. If you don’t have a TSC nearby, or you didn’t see a particular breed in-stores, you can do what we did and order yours online (here).
Post Office Pickup
It is a fun little journey when you buy them online. If you are from a small town you’ll be the talk of the town that day. They are sent to your local post office, and you pick them up there! These guinea hens are little sound alarms & when you have them sent to the post office… They call you and inform you they have arrived! For being so small, a batch of twelve guinea hens can compete with a small car alarm.
Tractor Supply Co. has everything to get you started, usually all staged near the tanks of baby chicks, from starter kits, feed, bedding, heat bulbs, lamps, and this awesome coop (link) we bought (on sale). We nested this little pen in the back corner of the garden, right under the apple tree. In the fall, when extra fruit falls, we get a lot of little bugs. These guinea hens will clean house. It took a little over an hour to put this together. All you need is a drill and maybe a shovel to trench out the sides or level out the ground. We were impressed with the roofing material in the back third of the pen. It was made from PVC to protect the baby chicks from the weather. We placed their food and water in the center, leaving the food under the roofing area, and the water in the exposed area to get a free refill from rain or morning dew falling of the tree above.
Free Ranging and Winterizing
We haven’t decided how we are going to winterize yet, but they’ll probably get a little coop built in the barn. But the rest of summer and fall, they will be out here in the pen and eventually free ranging around the garden. We are overjoyed to add to this little farm of ours look forward to this flock of guinea hens roaming the land.
In hopes of helping you add chickens to your farm, we partnered with TSC to do an e-gift giveaway. Here is how you enter:
1) Follow me on Instagram (@lizmariegalvan)
2) Follow Tractor Supply Co. (@tractorsupply)
3) Follow our Farm Instagram (@whitecottagefarm)
I look forward to selecting the winner next week, and thank you as always for stopping by the blog today & every other day to see what we are up to Xx.