Chicken Diaries Part 1

February 15, 2017Katie

Saturday was our sweet Madilyn’s 4th birthday.

It was mermaid-themed and her Mom and Dad did a great job of decorating and making it very special.  Just look at this adorable food!


They even had activities made for the kids outside…so cute!

We love our Madi!

Afterward we headed out to Lumber 2 in Midwest City to pick up some new additions to the family. I wanted to keep a journey of our chicken diary as first time chicken owners and thought it might help others who are either pondering or getting new chicks themselves.

At the store, the chicks were separated into metal feeding type troughs with just their own kind and covered with wire covers and kept warm with heating lamps. These are called “Brooders”.

I had researched so much about chicken care before we went and had a good idea of the three kinds we wanted. I wanted:

#1 Frequent egg layers
#2 Large egg layers
#3 QUIET hens
#4 Gentle hens

I came to the conclusion that these were the three we would get:

The Rhode Island Reds, which are apparently the perfect chicken, were sold out in 2 hours and we missed out on one so we got two Buff Orphingtons, which I’ve heard like to cuddle with humans.

Seriously.

Meet Ella and Stella, our new sister gals and our new Buff Orphs.

They are friendly, loving, like to cuddle and are cold-hardy. And they lay extra large brown eggs. They are described as the golden retriever of the chicken world.

Unfortunately, the place we finally found chicks at didn’t have the Silver Laced Wyandotte so we subbed out for this one:

Meet our Mabel, better known as “Ornery” or if you’re from here in the south…Awnry.

Mabel has, by far had the most..ummm..personality of the three chicks.  At ten days old she is already flying halfway up our brooder tub when I go in to talk to them. Mabel has us already considering a cover for our brood.

STINKER.

Barred Rocks are supposed to be funny, smart, good layers of large brown eggs and do well in both cold and heat.

Speaking of our brooder tub, I wanted to show you how we made one inexpensively.

We used a large Rubbermaid tub and lined it with pine shavings (about 1 1/2 inches deep), We visited a local tractor supply for this (large bale of it was $5) and also the water and food feeder (each around $3).

You can see our three new chickadees in the bin. Mabel is a given, but Ella and Bella look a lot alike seeing as they’re the same breed. If you look REAL closely, Bella has a black spot on her head (B=Bella/Black spot).  Hey, whatever works for us to tell them apart right?

We also put two thermometers in both ends of the tub because, you want to be sure to keep the temperature of the bin to 95º.  Then each consecutive week we will lower it  5º as their feathers start to replace their chick “fuzz”.  To keep the temperature regulated, we installed this (red bulb)  heating lamp with reflector and protective cage over the bin (also purchased at our local tractor supply).

The red light is supposed to keep them calmer and also be a better regulator of day and night for them.

We turned the lamp on the day before we got our chicks and kept checking the thermometer until the thermometer said it was 95º.  This way when we brought our chicks home, it was perfect for them.  I’ve also been paying attention to their body language. If they are huddling together it is probably too cold, and if they are trying to get as far away from the lamp as possible, and panting (yes like dogs do), it is too hot. And we just simply adjust the lamp slightly up or down and check them again in an hour.

We bought chick starter crumbles and opted for the non-medicated type.

However, for the first week we gave them bottled distilled water mixed with electrolytes and antibiotics to help them adjust in a healthy way to the transition of being shipped and changing homes.

The water feeder definitely needs to be changed daily as one of the knuckleheads keeps getting pine shavings in it.

We do pick up our chicks occasionally and hold them for a few minutes at a time so as to assure they know human contact early on.

I’ve read that it keeps them nice and friendly.

Hello ornery one!

And I couldn’t wait for the g-babies to get to see them.  This was the day after we got them.

And that my friends, is all I know right now…as we progress in the chicken world, I’ll let you know what happens!

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