Arts & Life

Spill the Beans: Growing up so fast

When I moved to the farm after 13 years of living in the city, my grandmother suggested I start small. You know, small garden, only a few chickens, don’t bite off more than you can chew…I didn’t really listen. Maybe I should have. But now, almost three years into my prairie farm life, I think it might be too late to heed her wise advice…

Spill the beans is a weekly column chronicling my attempts at a self-sufficient life on this small prairie farm.


As you may remember, just over two weeks ago, I got chicks. And they were adorable. But you would NOT BELIEVE how fast these birds have grown. Like, I would check them before I went to bed and then first thing in the morning, I would swear they had doubled in size. So as you can imagine and as you can see from the photo below, they are rapidly outgrowing my bathtub. And this poses a problem because they obviously need a new place to live, but the lovely chicken coop (fashioned from a picture on the internet, no instructions required. Not by me, but by T, my husband. And yes, I know. He’s a keeper) was not sufficient for two-week-old chicks…or so I thought…

photo credit: Jamie Dyck

You see, there have been a couple of discoveries in the last week or so:

  1. I’m pretty sure that these chicks were not a day old when I got them. I think they were older than that. And even though I’ve had them for two weeks, I think they might be closer to the three weeks old. Of course, I have no way of ACTUALLY knowing this. Although, my neighbour made a comment to that effect when he saw them the day after I got them. And of course I’ve been trolling the internet, looking for pictures of chicks at various ages, to try and decipher the actual age of my birds.
  2. The reading that I did prior to getting my birds indicated that I had to wait until the birds were at least six weeks old before I put them in the coop. However, my more recent reading (and obsession with internet chicken forums) and given the fact that the weather seems to be holding up and the birds are rapidly growing feathers, they could be introduced to the coop at four to five weeks or earlier. (Some people have them in the coop at two weeks old, so it sort of just seems like a person can do whatever they want.)

So, T covered up the nesting boxes with a sheet of plywood, found a way to plug in a heat lamp and sealed up all of the holes.

Nesting boxes, before they were closed up. Chicks don't need them until they are full grown. photo credit: Jamie Dyck



So we’re going to transfer the chicks this weekend…and keep our fingers crossed, both for good weather and chicken longevity.

Chickens like to roost while sleeping.  photo credit: Jamie Dyck

Oh! And we got bees! So stay tuned for news of the latest angry bee attack…


Jamie Dyck is currently weeding her garden. Follow her on twitter, @jndyck.