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. 

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