The Farm Giveth

February 7, 2017


Do you know what is extremely unfair?

The growth rate of chickens.

One day they are just tiny breaths of fluff, small enough to fit in the cup of your hand.  And the very next day?  They are little rocket vultures the size of your foot, squawking and carrying on the minute you so much as look like you might want to give them some affection.

While I knew going into this flock addition that they wouldn’t stay small for long, I forgot to really plan on where I was going to keep them once they got big.  With our first chickens, by the time they fully feathered out it was April, the weather was in the 60s for the most part, and they could go straight into their coop.

Well, this go around the Ameraucana chicks have almost all of their feathers, and we have a small separate coop for them, but it’s only the beginning of February and it is cold outside.  Too cold for chicks, even if they are little ruffians.  We need to keep them inside for a while longer, but they desperately and quickly outgrew the 27 gallon storage tote they’d been living in for the last three weeks.

img_0537What I really wanted to get for them was a nice metal stock tank, just like the feed store uses.  We could clip the heat lamp to the side, there would be lots of room for the chicks to run around, we could use it later for lots of different farm-related things, it would be perfect!


Except … it wasn’t.  Do you know how much large stock tanks cost?  Upwards of $150!  And for us, trying to live more frugally and save up money for fence posts and fencing and, you know, a new house, that was just too much money.  Whomp whomp.

Isn’t it funny though, how sometimes the universe will surprise you and pay attention?

When we were out at the farm during Dumpster Days, after sorting through piles and piles of garbage in the house, we moved on to the piles of junk in the yard.  Beer bottles, broken gutters, cracked toilets.  And, under piles of rotting wood and gargantuan blackberry brambles, we found (wait for it) a stock tank!

IMG_05481.jpgIt’s not pretty or shiny or new.  In fact, it’s dented and rusty and old.  But, it is 6 foot long and, most importantly, it was free.

Thank you, thank you, whoever was collecting old junk on the farm!  It DID come in handy!

The chicks love it.  I love it.  They have enough room to run around and play and flap their wings maniacally.  It should be big enough for a couple more weeks, anyway, until they hit another growth spurt.  But by then it will be spring and they can go outside.



  • Emma@ Misfit Gardening

    February 7, 2017 at 5:15 am

    Your description of rocket vultures is absolutely fantastic!!!! Glad you found a stock tank for free, I was looking at getting one to use as a pond in the garden and may have had a mild melt down at the $275 price tag! Great idea to use a stock tank as a brood box I will need to remember that for the next set of chickens thank you for sharing!

    1. sproutandsprig

      February 7, 2017 at 5:25 am

      Ha, I’m glad you liked it! I’ve seen the circular tanks used as swimming pools or hot tubs, too. If only they were cheaper!

      1. Emma@ Misfit Gardening

        February 8, 2017 at 4:47 am

        In that context they’re waaaaay cheaper!

  • bluestempond

    February 7, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Definitely a cautionary tale!


    February 8, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    what a nice surprise!! I love the way things just work right often!

  • WolfSong

    February 11, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Our stock tank developed a hole this winter (with the help of my Hubby and the tractor bucket while scraping poo balls up) and while we’ll still use it as a hay feeder in winter, I was trying to think of a way to use it for the spring/summer.
    <3 LOVE <3 this idea…perfect for the batches of meat chickens we're planning. 🙂

    1. sproutandsprig

      February 12, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      Ooh, and I love the idea of using it as a hay feeder in the winter (when we have hay-eating animals!)

  • My Funny Farm | Midnight Calico Farm

    February 16, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    […] it’s still fine for hay, and then, I found this blog post, where they had the brilliant idea of using the trough for chicks. Um, yes!! In the mean time, I […]

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