Monday, February 19, 2007

Still ticking

Our birds are doing fine still and have recently moved out to the garage. Currently though their space is a 4x8 foot movable pen and a roofed house we had to fix it to accommodate young birds in a very cold garage. The movable house had a couple of small holes drilled and ceramic light fixtures with heat bulbs were installed. Also a piece of plastic was taped across the front to keep in the heat until they are bigger. We also decided as night fell and it got even colder to put some cardboard in front of the house to enclose the area a bit more. So they have about another 5 feet they aren't even using yet. Which seems to be fine with them since--- though I wonder why they aren't now nuggets on feet---they seem to like the warmth of the house just fine. When you watch for a while, or especially if you say something----they will bolt out from under and take a look at whats going on "up" there, ramble a round for a bit---then pop back under. Especially those Delawares! They are the most curious little chicks! It's like they just can't stand to NOT know what is going on. If you look at the pictures closely you can see they are getting their wing feathers---so we know now for sure with the Delawares which are hens and which are roosters. We can tell a few of the roosters in the Marans---they have quite a bit of grayish and white fluff now---but the Wyandottes have me baffled. I still can't tell for sure on them.
We can no longer tell which bird was Blackie the "squooshed" bird. It's legs healed up fine without any intervention by us and are straight now. We did loose one Maran (hen I think) about day 3 or 4. She was sitting off by herself and didn't move when I put in my hand. We gave her a warm box to herself with some water and electrolytes but to no avail. Within a couple hours, she was really bad and my son finally gave her a pull so she wouldn't suffer any more. We worried for a bit, but couldn't imagine what it was and all the others looked good. Of course we took everyone out---scrubbed everything down well and put them all back in with fresh litter. Things like that happen, but its to bad it was a hen instead of a rooster!
It's a good thing we finally have the birds moved out since my other chicks will come soon. I like having them here in the house the first few days since they are easier to watch that way but it is nice to finally put them and their dust outside.
Originally I had scheduled the shipment of the birds to come at the same time so they would be close in age but Ideal obviously couldn't do that early of a ship date. I have never had chicks that close in age and hopefully they will do well when I put them together in the garage. I think they will be too close in size and age for it to matter much. I have put them together at different ages before, always months apart, and as everyone knows----the older birds will pick on the younger birds and it seems to take forever for them to "bond". We shall see. I might have to threaten them with the stew pot if they fight though.

SmallMeadow Farm Icelandic sheep, Irish Dexters and heritage chickens


Anonymous said...

Wow that's crazy. Tell us more about your movable pen. How is it made. Does it have a top to keep the older chickens in?

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

yes, it will have a top---but not currently since I need to step in there to care for them. I will post pictures of the pen when its not covered on the sides with a tarp to keep out drafts.

El said...

Our seed store now has chicks. It seems really early to me (because really who wants chicks in the house when it's still so cold outside). And we're not quite up to your numbers, certainly! We only want 3-4 more. I kind of wish I could do the big hatcheries and get some cool birds but nobody really wants to deal with someone who only wants a few birds. Sigh.