Monday, February 23, 2015

5 Week Chicken Update - A Whole New Flock

Well, we're at the 5 week mark, and this gawky cackling brood is a far cry from the fuzzy little chickie babies of yester-month.  Its like having a whole new flock.  Especially the Ameracaunas.  They seem to change drastically from day to day.  And there is quite a variety of color developing as their wings come in.  Looking back there was really no way to predict their coloring. 

This snow owl colored one with these dark black legs actually began as this funny little penguin fellow:


Those colorful mystery birds...golden eagles, night hawks, and ostriches? Nope...Ameraucanas.

 The two Rhode Island Reds (pictured in the top left of this little chickie pile) are the funniest looking of all. Their head feathers haven't filled out like the rest of their body and they look like redheads with blonde roots.  They have also lost their pushy personalities, possibly because they've been outranked in size by most of the other birds. I thought Rhode Islands were supposed to be a pretty good size breed...wonder if they're runts?
Speaking of runts, there is still quite a size difference between the Barred Rocks and everyone else. Guess a week and half is pretty serious in the chicken world.

These two are the only birds that have caught on to the roosting pole fad.  That plump little squat really makes them look like little hens. Cute.
A few lessons learned (the hard way):
1. We ditched the cardboard "brooder" about 2 days after we set it up and my husband built a full size chick kingdom out of scrap plywood (more pictures and info here). It wasn't long before they started hoping over the sides of that and we added an additional barrier with old wire shelves we had in a pile out back. (chicken wire or wooden rails would work too).  The total height was brought to 24".
Very shortly after that, they developed their flight wings guessed it.  Our daughter went out to the garage to get a package of paper towels and found a Rhode Island Red roosting on her bicycle. We used some bird netting we had set aside for the blueberry plants to cover the whole brooder. A little more hassle for feeding/watering/cleaning, but better than finding the flock strewn about the garage!
2. We were washing out the food and water dishes a hundred times (okay, maybe 3 or 4) a day because they would kick all the wood shavings in to them and tip them over.  We finally smartened up and elevated them a few inches up on a platform - they stayed a lot cleaner for a lot longer!
3.We replaced the 1 quart water dishes with the 1 gallon waterer. Definitely should have gone with that from the start. 
Overall, we are enjoying the process a lot. Each week brings a new set of behaviors to observe, problems to solve, and plumage to admire.  We're still loving our little flock...and learning as we go.
Any lessons you learned "the hard way" when starting out with your first flock?


No comments:

Post a Comment