Saturday, April 29, 2017

2 Months

Alright, not quite 2 months but pretty close.

The chickens are all doing well. The big ones have grown up and are living outside now. My first attempt of having them live in the coop was thwarted by cold temperatures and rainy weather. They would have likely been fine, but they just looked so miserable I brought them back in the house for another week.

I took them out on a sunny Friday morning (last week) and we didn't end up getting home til late - flat tires and 50mph donuts will do that. Once home, it was pretty much dark, and they had all made their way into the coop except one bugger who decided to roost on a branch in the run. A quick scoop and ushered inside with the rest, and they've been loving the space ever since.

The 3 Bantam Cochins are doing well. Originally I was going to only buy 2 of them, but one had pretty bad pasty butt, so I bought it too so I could give it some attention and save it from pasty butt sickness. We named him Chip. For a week or two he was crying a lot (I say he because his feathering out has me 99% sure it's a boy) and not growing at all. He literally had no feathers while the other two were growing big and strong. I think the chick starter crumble was too big for him to eat efficiently, and/or the crumble I started them on (medicated) was preventing him from taking vitamins, which I switched out after a week anyway. I started grinding it up almost to powder, and that combined with electrolytes and some Nutradrench, he's pulled through and is growing rapidly. The early pasty butt recurrence resulted in lots of chick bath times, aka Spa Day. Chip really likes Spa days now, when he needs a little cleanup.

Their breeds are confusing. Dale is a Partridge Cochin, Eleven is turning out to be a Gold Laced Cochin Bantam (although I thought she was going to be a Birchen), and Chip, well, we have no idea what Chip is going to be, besides ridiculously cute. At this point, I'm guessing Partridge as well, but looking at the two together it's tricky. I suppose we'll see when he's older.
Chip and Dale. So different, yet the same?

Please ignore the poo.

 They're still in the brooder of course, it's going to be a while before they're ready to go outside, but dealing with 3 instead of 8 is much much easier in the house. After the big ones moved out, I spent a few hours vacuuming what I've affectionately named the 'Brooder Room' and oh man, after these bantam's are out, I will never put them in a room again. Garage or brooder outside. The DUST was just too much.

Now, the big girls. They love their freedom. I'm now convinced both Barred Rocks are female, while Avant Guarde's comb came in very red and he/she was much lighter in color, they're almost indistinguishable now. The Rhode Island Reds are coming into their color beautifully. The SLW's aren't as pretty as I'd hoped, but hatchery quality isn't breeding for perfect lacing, just breed.

The dogs love the chickens. They must check them once in the morning when I let them out, and be part of making sure they're in bed safely every night. So far, so good on the dog front.
I just love their color.
Avant Guarde
SLW and RR on the lookout
Avant Guarde and Detante with a random RR

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

One Month

Time really flies sometimes. Get up, check the chicks, water, feed, go to work, work hard, get home, water feed play and pass out. Wash rinse repeat.

I really wanted to capture more of their growth but I guess I just wasn't committed enough. Ah well. Thanks to chicken math this won't be the last set of chicks. In fact, I already bought more. Surprise!

The Barred Rocks are about 6 weeks now, the Silver Laced Wyandottes are 5 and the Rode Islands are 4. We still have some final touches to put on their coop and run next weekend, but with a new fence up and gate replaced, we're very close. I'll likely let them run around in their run this weekend and will capture some real pictures, instead of using my cellphone.

Just to make things interesting, I picked up 3 straight run Bantam Cochins from the 'assorted bin' last weekend. I thought chicks were small, then I held these guys and was blown away. I believe I've identified who will be what, but we'll see. Something about not knowing sex and breed is very blind-boxy to me. Best guess so far is a Partridge, a Golden Laced and a Birchen. They will be cute and colorful and I'm happy to get some.

I think they'll add a fun dynamic to our mix. At least, it will keep things interesting.
Counterclockwise from top:
Avant-garde (BR), Chocolate Mousse (RR), Croissant (RR), Souffle (RR), and Deja Vu (SLW) (missing RR is Escargot)
Détente and Montage

Avant Guarde. Am I a boy or a girl? I don't know yet!
I'm whiter than Détente but don't have the super prominent comb the boys get.
It's still redder than Détente's though!

These chicks hopped into my basket at the co-op without me noticing. Go figure!
The chipmunk one we've named Chip and the brown one we've named Dale. I still hope they are girls!
Still coming up with a name for the black/grey/brown one on the left. Edit- we're going with 'Eleven'.

Monday, March 6, 2017

One week

Originally we were going to wait on getting peep peeps until after our yearly ECCC foray, but I just couldn't pass up the chance to pick up the breeds we wanted when they were available. So, I enlisted the help of my Sister to stay at our place and play Chick BabySitter. She also acquired 4 additional peep peeps from the Co-Op, so now we're up to 8.
Even with the almost 2 week difference in age, they're doing really well together. No pecking problems, the big ones tolerate the little ones snuggling under them for warmth. It's pretty cute.

Here's some interesting details I've noted over the last week:
  • Chicks are narcoleptic. Seriously, they seem to pass out anywhere at any time. The older they get the less frequent and more deliberate sleeping positions come about, but 2-5 days old they just fall over asleep. They've fallen asleep heads in the food dish. Glad they can't do that with the water...
  • Chicken math is a real thing. We believe it is something like N+16.
    We were going to do 6, now we're at 8, with the plan of 3 more in the summer - a farm up here is breeding Death Layers. They look awesome, they're rare and they lay eggs til death. I still want a Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, maybe a double lace. They are so pretty.
     As I said - chicken math.
  • They grow SO FAST. Like holy crap they grow fast.
  • We'll be naming ours after the characters in the 1984 movie Top Secret. I'm still sorting out who's who. 
  • The huskies aren't sure what to make of them yet. Tau wants to play with them, but so far neither of them seem to want to EAT them. I'm hoping with the proper separation of space we have between coop and dog area they will not become dog playthings. Here's hoping anyway.
  • The cat doesn't seem to care.
Tau carefully watching the peep peeps
These are gonna be some dark RIRs. The bottom one is unconscious
Barred rock growing up so fast *sniff*
Group shot

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Day 1

It's been a full day since the baby chicks hopped into a little box at the feed store and scootched their way into the car. The evening was full of 'peep peep' but they soon quieted down and seem to have become accustomed to their surroundings.

They've survived the first 24 hours, and seem to be thriving so far.

We ended up with 2 Barred Rocks and 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes. Friday the co-op will get a batch of Dark Red Rhode Island chicks, we'll try to snag a couple of those.

Of course chicken math applies. Phil calls it 'N+12'. We have plans to expand the coop already, it could fit 8 comfortably but we want them to have lots of room. I've already picked out and reserved chicks from a local farm that are rare, and we'll get those in August.

So yeah, chicken math + the chicken bug = we're just starting with chickens and already have so many picked out.

We'll start with these 4, though, and see if we can't keep them alive. Boy they sleep strangely sometimes.