Saturday, March 1, 2014

New life brings more life to our Ohana: Meet Millie and Quinie!

After moving to Hawaii in 2011 one of my husband and my goals was live a sustainable life so that we can give back to mother earth and take care of our planet home so our future generations can also live a beautiful life. Last year, after finally finding the right home that is close to work, has just enough yard space to grow plants and raise animals, and a wonderful landlord who approved us to raise chickens, the building of a bright beautiful future began. We started a garden in our yard and are now growing apple banana's, meyer lemons, gmo-free papaya, lilikoi, tomatillos, tomatoes, jalapenos, bell pepper, kabocha pumpkin, manoa lettuce, kale, beets, chives, green onion, dill, basil, parsley, cilantro, and we are already lucky to have a mango tree that produces delicious fruit and plenty avocado trees in the area. Next began our quest to raise chickens for healthy, free range eggs so we won't have to buy expensive eggs shipped from the mainland and to enjoy the pleasures of one of the greatest pets to humans.

So , last year I began to research and study how to raise chickens and was immediately disheartened when other bloggers said you would need $300-$500 just for supplies to just build your own coop, we did not have any extra income after rent at that time. I told my husband and he, the smarty pants that he is, said he could borrow tools and gather wood that others were throwing away. So we watched around, and just in time our neighbors were trowing away a couple wood pallets, so my hubby and our good friend Paul, gathered up enough wood to get started us started. After buying some hinges and 2 screens for the coup, the total cost was under $30!!! So if you are also on a tight budget and want to raise your own chickens, a little creativity and recycling can go a long way. Not to mention reusing wood and tools is always better than buying new, less waste, more green space on earth!

Angel started building the coup in January while on winter break from teaching and last weekend we just completed the coup by water proofing the wood, so all we have to do now is put the roof on. Will post an updated picture soon!

After 3 months of reading and researching how to raise chickens I put the order in last December for our 2 baby chicks. We ordered from Asagi Hatchery in Honolulu, whom I highly recommend if you live in Oahu. We ordered from their specialty hatch of Rhode Island Reds which are guaranteed 99% a female sex bird and are great egg layers as well! Here is their website:

Just this past Monday, on February 24th, our babies hatched! We went to pick them up from the hatchery yesterday as well as all the goods we needed to keep them happy and healthy. We purchased a heat lamp for $11, water and food feeder for $6 each and attached a glass jar to the top for the water and used the lid for the top of the food dispenser, you can use a mason jar or any glass jar that fits. We purchased the baby chick feed and pine shaving pellets for their temporary home while they grow and get stronger. We brought them home and used a large cardboard box for their shelter for the next month. Added newspaper to line the box, the pine shavings, and then assembled heat lamp, the chick feeder, and water feeder. As soon as I put Millie and Quinie in their home they went running wild! They are so cute and fun to watch and they love to be held and loved! They will start laying 1 egg a day in about 4-5 months, and will live 5-7 years. They are the first babies to become part of our family and hopefully will have their own babies to keep this new tradition going. I would love to see chicks hatch from their eggs one day!

If you plan on taking on this adventure yourselves, here are some things you should know. Baby chicks need to stay warm so keep them inside your home in a large container (I used  a cardboard box) for the first 4-6 weeks, they need lots of space because they grow very fast and can jump high, about 2 square feet per chick is ideal. I also cut out a window for them to see out, and they love seeing me close by and they love to look around. Assemble the heat lamp and watch their behavior, if they always stay away from it, they are to hot, if they are always under it bundled together, they are too cold, move the lamp closer.

Each week they need less and less heat, you can move the lamp further away each week and monitor their behavior, if they are upset they will let you know, and will cry and chirp very loud. Also, if you want chickens, get at least 2, for their happiness, they are very social animals and love companionship from humans and other animals. Hold them frequently, if you want them to be social around humans, if you have kids, let them hold them too, it is good for both sides. Chicks and chickens eat, drink, and poop, A LOT! Watch their feeders, keep them clean of poop, and if you hold them, you will get pooped on. LOL Just go with it! The babies slept so good the first night, I checked on them 3 times (each time I had to pee, hahaha) in the night, and were sleeping each time and never cried. They are eating and drinking very well, they nap a lot, and they run around a lot. It is so fun to watch them, I love deez lil cuties. The picture above is Angel holding them, they love the warmth and security of being held.

Yesterday, when we introduced the babies to Miss Lady Chita, the chicken we inherited when we moved in, we were both nervous and excited to see how it would play out. I read that chickens can behave differently when introducing new life. Some hens will treat them as their own babies, some will try to hurt or even kill them by pecking them aggressively, and some will start acting like a rooster and cockadoodoldoo, seriously!

 So far, Miss Lady is very curious! She pecked at them once, so we have to watch carefully, but we will have a playdate every day from here on out, and she will grow to love them, just life human families grow together. She will definitely still remain the boss lady around here, but, every new life brings more life in this world and we all have to learn to live harmoniously together. Aloha!

Learning to love and live together harmoniously!

Check out this video when we introduced the babies to Miss Lady Chita, I didn't know my hubby was filming, it is so real!