Thursday, April 28, 2011

We did it again

We're out of grass hay, which we use in our rabbit hutch and chicken house for bedding and nest boxes. Not wanting to waste gas, I called the local feed/farm store to see if they had any. They didn't; not being able to help myself, I had to ask about chicks. The store clerk said, "We have Araucana and Leghorn chicks in."

Down to the store I went; (Never mind, I have 25 other chicks being sent from Cackle Hatchery May 4th, four full grown chickens, eight chicks from two weeks ago and I live on a city lot.) I asked my husband how many chicks I could get and he said six. I intended to get four Araucanas and two Leghorns. Most of the chicks were sold from yesterday's shipment, except three Leghorns and about 12 Aracuanas. Seeing there was only the three Leghorns I just couldn't take only two Leghorns leaving the one; so, we ended up with seven new chicks. They are adorable!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Baby Pics

We're really enjoying our new chicks. It is a lot of fun to take pictures of them. Here are a few of the newest.


"Picture taking time again?"

"I'm too cute."

Gang's all hear. 

"Can you see my mohawk?"
Break time. 
"Is this pose OK?"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chicken Poses

Yesterday my new baby chicks turned one week old. They have grown in size and feathers. To have memories of the chicks as they grow my husband took several pictures of them.

The "What do you have?" pose.
"You talking to me?" pose.

The "Ready to race" pose.

"I think this is my best side" pose.

The shy pose.

"Mohawk" pose. 

"How do you want me?" pose. 

Far off look pose. 
I'm looking at you pose. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Chicks

I'm happy to introduce you to the newest members of our family. Our new baby chicks. We picked them up this past Saturday. They were two day old fuzzballs when we got them. We have four Crested Polish, two Barred Rocks and two Brahmas. 
In the box, in the car, going home. 

In the box, in the car, going home, closer view.
Since Saturday, they have grown out some of their wing and tail feathers, learned how to roost, try to take dust baths, scratch for food and are beginning to show their personalities. Two of the Polish are instigators, they love to pick fights with the others. The Barred Rocks are calm and quiet. One of the Polish is timid, trying to run from from us if we get near and chirping loudly if we pick her up. The last Polish is mild and tolerates being held. The two Brahmas are mild and tolerant also. It is a lot of fun to watch them grow. 
Crested Polish, I love the "feathered hat." 

Brahma, note feathered legs and feet.

Barred Rock, She is not sure what is going on. 

Brown Crested Polish. 
Having chickens has been a learning experience for us. The things we have learned from the past chicks are:

  • Use a heat lamp for warmth
  • Need to change the water frequently–They tend to make a mess in it.
  • Handle them frequently–after washing hands first. By handling them, if they ever have an injury or another reason to pick them up they won't try as hard to get away because they will be used to the handling. 
  • Do not let anyone sick around them. Chicks can catch viruses from humans.
  • Change bedding frequently–To keep the smell down and keep the chicks from getting sick. 
  • Examine their backsides daily to ensure their vents are not clogged with poo. If you see dry poo, use a soft cloth dampened with warm water to remove it. 
  • Use a medicated feed for the recommended time to ensure they stay healthy. 
  • Keep drafts from blowing on them, to prevent them from getting sick. 
Things we have learned and are doing now:
  • Use a red 250 watt heat bulb, it keeps the birds warmer and helps them sleep better.
  • The sex of some breeds of day old chicks can't be determined. Such is the case with our Crested Polish. We may have future roosters. 
  • Use newspaper in the bottom of your container to absorb wetness and decrease smell.
  • Drill holes in the container along the bottom walls to help circulate air to decrease the smell.
  • Muscovey Ducks; we have two Muscovies; they do not like baby chicks and will probably kill them if given a chance. We have our chicks in the bathroom to ensure their safety. Plus, they are close enough for me to cuddle. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Another Loss

Last night my husband went to put the chickens up and found Little Red was missing. He came back in and grabbed a flashlight to search for her. He found her, no injuries, lots of feathers on the ground and something lodged in her throat. We are not exactly sure what happened.

Little Red was our favorite. She was the friendliest, bravest, curious chicken we ever had. She would be the first to come to me when I went in the yard. She would sit on our laps if we sat down. She even played with our cat. She will be greatly missed, more than all the other chickens. 

Our Little Red

This morning my husband went to let the chickens out and looked over their yard to pick up anything that could hurt the chickens. We try really hard to keep our chickens safe.

We live in a small rural town. We thought living in town there wouldn't be so many safety issues for our chickens. We were mistaken. 

Hazards we have faced with our chickens are:
  • Predators—raccoons, skunks, foxes
  • Choking hazards—broken glass and garbage blown into the yard, toys from curious kids, bones from meat and the worst, string from the feed bags.
  • Chickens getting lose and running the streets
  • Pet dogs trying to play with the chickens
Remedies to lessen the hazards have been:
  • Six foot fence around the chicken yard and our yard—they "free-range" in our back yard sometimes
  • Chicken wire 18" from the bottom of the fence buried down into the ground—keeps critters from digging under and getting in.
  • New chicken house
  • Scanning the back yard regularly for choking hazards
  • Making sure our dogs aren't out in the yard alone with the chickens. 
  • Checking the old fence periodically to make sure no new openings for chickens to get out and run the streets—This has happened and thankfully we have nice neighbors who herded Little Red back in and one who called to let my husband know she was out. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Snack Time

I really flopped at one of my baking adventures the other day. I made three loaves of banana bread and messed up the recipe somehow. This left me deflated and racking my brain trying to figure out what I did wrong.

Not wanting to waste the bread I decided to visit the chickens. I've never given them banana bread and they love treats so why not try it. I received mixed responses concerning the flat, slightly hard bread.

They came running when called. They knew there was a treat.

Maxine waddling as fast as she can.

"Ok, we are here, where is the treat?"

Chickens initially liked the bread. 

Maxine gobbles up the treats as fast as she can. 

Spot was too interested in wanting to run me off, to eat. 

Prince, our cat, came to see what the treat was. 

Rockett, " I prefer my warm coop and laying mash thank you."

Maxine after eating, "Anything else?"
After the initial excitement, the eating frenzy stopped and several pieces of bread lay on the ground. Of course my dogs got a chance the next day to eat what was left.

The eating machines lying on their couch. 
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