April 22, 2011

Our Chick Diary – Week 1

This week has been so fun!  We have thoroughly loved every minute with our chicks.  They are very entertaining and we have watched them for hours.

Day 1

Friday afternoon we brought home a box of fuzzy joy. They were honest to goodness face-breakers. Baby chicks are such smile inducers that your IMG_1564face feels like it just might break off. Don’t try to fight it! It’s no use! Just expect your face to ache from smiling so much! :)

Our sweet bundles of fluff, 23 in total, were so soft and fuzzy. They peeped and then peeped some more. Within minutes, we were in L-O-V-E!

To make sure we were able to provide for their needs, we set up our brooder box ahead of time, turned on the heat lamp and using a thermometer checked the temperature of the box. We watched the temperature climb to 126 degrees. Ouch!! Too hot! We didn’t want to cook our chicks! We raised the heat lamp and finally arrived on a good starting temperature for the chicks (90 – 95 degrees).

As luck would have it, our chicks were ready for pickup a few hours earlier than expected. We transported them home and got to work.  We dipped each chick’s beak into her waterer and watched for her to swallow. Once she swallowed, we grabbed another chick and repeated the process. When all the chicks were thoroughly watered, we added their feed. We expected our little darlings to nap once they had their fill, at least that’s what we read about.  Our chicks however didn’t settle down until about 11pm.  

It didn’t take long to name our first chick.  Mannerless thinks she has to eat and drink with her feet right on her table.

Day 2

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We knew we needed to give them more space.  So we went ahead and got our large Wardrobe box ready for our chicks.  This really enlarged their space!  We also switched our smaller feeder and waterer for larger ones. 

Young chicks can drown pretty easily, so we added marbles to their waterer rim to prevent this. The larger food and water containers meant more could eat and drink at a time.  They flocked to these new delights.

Mason thought we should add some bricks on the side for them to climb on.  Well, lets just say that by the end of the day, we had a whole apparatus for them to climb on and they LOVE it!  They jump up on it and then back off again. They love the higher elevation. This proved very entertaining. 

With the extra room in their new home, chicks would shoot across as fIMG_1591ast as they could go! It was hilarious! It was obvious that the chicks loved their larger space.  One chick, we named her Penelope, stuck her head up as high above the others as she could and just peeped as loud as her lungs would allow.  I’m not sure what she was telling the others, but she really needed to share it!  She did this for a couple of hours.  It was like the spastic Chicken Little thing.

There was more pecking, leg stretching and towards the evening there was some wing stretching happening as well.  We checked little chick bums for clogged vents and two of our darlings had to have bum baths.  They didn’t like it too much, but once their fluff was dry they were back to their normal cute selves.

Day 3

The chicks were quite content today.  They have settled into their new home just fine.  We provided fresh food and water for them and raked the pine shavings around to freshen things up a bit.  One little chick got a bum bath.

As far as new behaviors, more of them were practicing for the 1-yard dash across the brooder.  One would start running and several others would join in.  It makes a funny noise. Have you ever heard a flock of chicks run?  It’s a guaranteed smile.  Of course with all that running those little chicken legs needed some stretching and there was a lot more of it.

They are now pecking for fallen feed in the pine shavings and occasionally at each other.  They are testing out their beaks, or so we think.

Day 4

Our chicks are even fluffier today!  So sweet!  They look so good and healthy.  Today they started a new behavior.  We observed this a couple of times yesterday but today, they are really scratching with their feet.  One chick was scratching away and shooting pine shavings out behind him.  It was so funny!  If you can imagine a bull scratching dirt up behind him and then taking off.  That is what the chicks have been doing.

The little runners aIMG_1601re now flapping a little to gain some speed. One has been dubbed Speedy Gonzales.  Mattie and Mason have no idea who that is. (heehee)

To change up their area a bit, I pulled one of the boards across to the brick on the other side which gave them another area to climb and perch on.  They are happy with it.  Did you know that chickens in the wild sleep in trees for protection from ground predators?  They really like to climb.

We gave them fresh food and water and they are happy little fuzz balls. At our last check in before bed, Penelope decided once again, that she needed to loudly proclaim something to the flock and so she did.

        Day 5

This morning when I checked on our sweet little darlings, I couldn’t help but laugh.  They were running through the box flapping their little wings and jumping on and off their play things.  Our chicks have really grown over the past few days.  They are all fluffy and look really bright-eyed and healthy.  We are happy.  Have I mentioned how much we ♥ our chicks? 

Since our chicks were so messy, with their new found scratching ability in the pine shavings, I  picked up a large 16-inch square paver tile to put under their waterer.   The paver has really helped keep most of the shavings out. Clean water is good.

Here is a video I took of them.  Towards the end you’ll see a chick stretch his back leg out.  They crack me up when they do that.  :)

Aren’t they so sweet?

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As I was typing this out, my children came running inside, saying our dog had caught a squirrel or something and some birds were swooping down at him.  I hurried to investigate and found a baby Blue Jay.  I was brave enough to pick him up.  A storm was heading in and there wasn’t much time for the momma to reclaim him.  We finally had to go get him due to the storm and luckily we were just in time, a cat was on the prowl trying to get to him.  He’s very sweet but not used to people like our chicks are. You can read more about that here.

 

Day 6

We raised the heat lamp a bit last night and the chicks seem to have adapted well.  It’s amazing to see the growth just overnight.  I wonder what they thought about sharing the basement with a baby Blue-jay last night during the storms.   Our chicks are much more docile then that blue-jay.  Of course we’ve handled them since they were a day old.

When we stick a hand in the brooder box, about half run away from us and half run toward us.  The  ones that are more comfortable with us will brush against our hand, peck at us and step up onto our hand.   It’s amazing how much they’ve grown during this first week.  Our runt is still our runt, but he’s healthy and bigger.  Some of our chicks are noticeably bigger than the others.  I don’t know why this surprises me; children are the same way, they all develop on their own personal timetable.

In other bird news, we returned the blue-jay outside and we believe he made it just fine.  Shortly after, we were visited by wood ducks.  You can read more about that here.  It was a bazaar bird day to say the least.

Day 7

Our chicks have officially survived a week.  Their growth and progress has just amazed me.  Some of our chicks have long wings that stretch out a good distance IMG_1645and others still have stubby downy fluffy wings.  The chicks definitely have their own personalities.  Penelope is sweet and calm until she has something to say, then she stretches her neck high above and loudly makes her proclamation. Mannerless still stands on her food or water container.  Some are more active and run through the box, jumping and flapping.  Others prefer to stay out of that kind of action.

When we hold the chicks now they vibrate, kind of like a purr.  I’m not sure what to make of this.  I’ve never heard of this before.  The big development of the day is that some of the chicks (the ones with the most developed wings) are now sprouting tail feathers.  It is the cutest thing.

2 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed reading your chick diary. Thanks so much for sharing! A few of my friends have gotten chicks, and I think it may be something we get into in the future:) I look forward to reading more about your adventure as it unfolds! I don't think I've commented before...but I love reading your blog. Have a wonderful Easter!

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  2. Thank you so much Marie! I'm glad you enjoyed reading about our chicks! And Thanks for reading. Somedays I wonder if anyone even reads what I write, that's why comments are so nice! I need to leave comments myself more often. Have a wonderful Easter yourself!

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