The Flock

tales from the brooder

As my first “down to business” post, I thought I’d give an overview of raising our chicks.

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Today, the chicks are exactly 5 weeks old. They moved out to their coop this week and it’s been going great. No real struggles. All in all my online research got me through just about everything.

Let’s rewind to the beginning…

Week 1

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Ugh! Aren’t they just adorable?! Seriously… there is nothing cuter IN THE WORLD than day old chicks.

A big perk of living in a small town… the USPS lady couldn’t reach me on my phone to tell me the chicks arrived, so she just got in her car and drove them to my house. The chicks were shipped via USPS and they were in the mail for probably 24 hours. The post office will call you to tell you your chicks have arrived and it’s time to come pick them up. It’s simple as that. Who knew, you could ship little baby chickens?! I was shocked.

My girls handled the travel really well. They ate almost the second I put them in their brooder. They didn’t drink right away which I was worried about. Within an hour they were drinking.

The biggest life saver I did was probably splurging and spending the big bucks on the Brinsea electric hen. We tried using a red heat lamp before the chicks came and it was a huge hassle. It just got hotter and hotter under the lamp and it would smell like it was burning. I was really paranoid about having a fire. I know I would have been a giant stress case so I spent the $90 and categorized the purchase under Piece of Mind.

The dogs liked being able to see the chicks, we kept the girls in a dog kennel right in the living room to help acclimate the pups. It worked really good until…

Week 3

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Miss June Carter… the fat chick sitting on the electric hen leg started flying. Holy moly. The dogs weren’t having it. On Thanksgiving day I caught Chloe stalking the chicks so I moved their entire brooder into our bedroom.

Our brooder set up was an extra large dog crate. It was pretty big for just 3 little chicks. But that worked out great for us because it’s fall and the temps are pretty low so I didn’t want to take the girls outside. I also bought a small roost to start getting the chicks used to it. They love it! It cracks me up when I check on them and all three are sitting in a line on the roost. Haha!

I was in a big battle with the chicks trying to keep poo and pine shavings out of their water/food. I started by putting their feeders on paper plates turned upside down. Then on top of an old upside down dog bowl. Finally on top of a little upside down paint bucket which has worked great now for two weeks.

Week 4

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The chicks grow fast… but I swear between week 3 and week 5 I could actually see them growing. They get huge! They also get tons of feathers and look really shabby. Poor things. I felt like it was the worst pre-teen experience ever.

I never had any bullying between the girls. June Carter (the one in the middle) is definitely the leader and she likes to fly and land on Olive. Olive (the black one) is the curious one and will challenge June a little to be first to do things but she lets Miss June have her way so no fighting. Olive is the first to do dangerous things, in week 3 she figured out how to jump on top of the food/water jars. That was really-really high for a tiny chick. She was also the first one brave enough to walk out of the new coop and into the run. Brave little thing.

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Isn’t she cute?! Olive is also the friendliest. She likes being petted by everyone and climbs in my lap. She’s always the first one to pop out when she hears my voice. Little Cora (the brown shabby looking one) is the pretty one, ironically. She follows June Carter around and does anything June does. She’s always the last one to do everything, including growing feathers. Cora is the most flighty but is starting to let me pet her.

This post was a long one but there was a lot to remember. I’m going to do a post on moving the chicks to the coop and how stressed I was about it in a few days. I chose to coop train and it worked perfectly. We’re building their enclosed run this weekend and the coop will move into it’s real home on Sunday.

I can’t wait to show the finished coop and run.

-Maren

 

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