Every time I try to get into the brooder to change out water and food or clean, the chicks try to make a brake for it, jumping into the opening. Luckily they are too afraid to jump completely out, but it makes it difficult to get anything done. And I am having to the clean out the entire box every night now! They poop so much!
Honestly, they would already be out in the coop if it would stop snowing! It’s too cold for these little girls. Is it me or are they kind of ugly at this age? Maybe their current ugly personalities are shining through. There just isn’t enough room left in the box and they are getting moody with each other.
We have to keep track of the weather to plan ahead. We need to set up the coop for small birds. They aren’t ready to jump up on a roosts and can’t reach the adult feeding stations. It shouldn’t take long to make the changes needed. All we need is the weather to warm up!
Just checking the latest weather report, it looks like we will probably be able to move them in a week.
It just seems like yesterday that our little Black Australorps were just fuzzy with a few feathers. Now today their little pink combs are jumping out at me! I swear it happened overnight!
I check on them at least 3 or 4 times a day so it’s not like I’m not looking at them enough. But look at all their feathers! They are only tiny fuzz balls for a very short period of time. It’s a mixed blessing. You get so worried about them when they are that tiny. We have always lost one baby chick in the past but this group of girls, even the tiny one I was concerned about for awhile, have more then survived, they are thriving!
So why am I so concerned about combs? A comb is the first signal that you have a rooster. Their combs grow faster than hens. I see a couple good combs for such a young age. I keep wondering if I not only have a rooster, but possibly more than one!
It would be great to get a rooster, but I think more than one would be a problem. Too much fighting over the girls. I guess we will have to see!
Get a good look at the growing girls on their YouTube Channel:
OK, so our bully chick has gone far enough. We decided it was time to move the chicks into a bigger brooding pen. Give them twice as much space. More space to run away from the bully. Plus, they are growing SOOOO fast! Anyone would get irritable crammed into a small space with a bunch of siblings!
Luckily the hubby is very handy and just whipped up this nice big box and cover! He’s great that way.
We would have moved the girls into the actual coop but the there is still a good 10 days of potential snow in the forecast and the girls are only tolerating temperatures as low as 70 degrees right now. We don’t want to use the heating lamp to keep things warm in the coop because they are known to catch things on fire. Having the brooder inside our heated workshop we have much more control over the lamp, which is why we have a cover with chicken wire to keep the lamp from falling in.
With all the pine shavings and a heating element you can see how something could spark and start a fire!
When we finally move the girls into the coop in a couple weeks their only source of heat will be brooding panels which are made of ceramic. Those are safe touching pine shavings.Next step is getting these girls used to temperature drops so they will be prepared for their final home!
This baby chick doesn’t look like the others. It has eyes that look more like a hawk than a chicken. This chick is also much bigger than the others. We are trying to figure out if it is a rooster or not.
And it’s not just the size or stare, but the other things this chick does that makes us wonder.
This chick is the only one jumping up on top of the brooder panel instead of going under it. Also, jumping on top of the waterer had become a favorite thing to do. Not cool! I’m tired of cleaning out the waterer 3 times a day to remove your poop!
And if there was ever a bully on the block, this chick would be it. Jumping on top of others, pulling a feather or two, and the most recent, pecking another chick in the eye!
You better hope you are a rooster or you will not be welcome in our home! We’ve had enough hens with attitude and will not tolerate it!
Check out YouTube and you decide if this chick is a rooster:
Baby chicks grow up so fast! Here they are at 3 weeks old. Starting to get personalities! There is the tiny one that cries a lot and you have to keep cleaning poop off her butt because she doesn’t move as well as the others. Believe me it’s a real thing! Called Pasty Butt. It can actually be deadly! She worried me but it finally getting bigger and healthier.
Then there is the bold one. The one that makes you wonder if she is a Rooster. Well, hard to say, but I’d prefer her to be a Rooster rather then that wild of a hen! She will be a handful! If it’s a Rooster he will have his talons full keeping the girls in line so won’t be as big a problem to me.
Ohhhhh they grow so fast!
See the girls at 3 weeks on their YouTube Channel:
We decided that out of all the chickens we’ve had our favorite was the Black Australorps. They were sweet, quiet, easy to hold and had a different kind of sound to their clucking that seemed more like talking. How sweet is that?!
Cluck Norris is half Black Astralorp and has a great personality so we are hoping one of these 10 babies is a rooster. I’m sure we will find out!
Since this is a smaller batch of chickies than we have done in the past we started with a tub and hung a heat lamp over it. We have a table style brooder panel but it didn’t fit in the tub. Also, the heat lamp was too hot in this small of a space so we bought a water trough instead which gave a good amount of space and the temperature stayed more stable. We need to start at 95 degrees and then decrease 5 degrees per week.
It’s really stressful knowing their little lives are in your hands during this initial time when they are only 2 days old! They are so delicate at this age it’s hard not to worry!
The cuties seem to be doing great on their first day. THEY ARE SOOO ADORABLE! Check out their first drink in their new home and then their first food on their YouTube Channel!
As summer is coming closer and the temperatures are getting into the 80s we need to start thinking about better ways to keep the new young girls cool when the temperatures get into the 90s.
Since we pulled out the old nesting boxes the back door entry to gather eggs is no longer useful. The man of the house once again used his engineering mind and with a few modifications created a big vent facing into the run to give the girls another source of fresh air.
The girls seemed to really like it! They were climbing in and out of the open space while hubby was trying to get the wire cloth over it. Took longer than he would have liked but it was finally finished. Curious girls really like the results!
More important is this vent will eliminate the need to use a fan in the coop. We weren’t big on the idea of the fan blowing all the dust around to begin with. Take a look at the girls reaction with their new coop feature:
This batch of new chicks are amazing. I always heard that Rhode Island Red chickens were different in personality but they are SO much different than the other breeds we had. They are more brave, inquisitive, and very assertive. They are so pushy I can’t even tell you how difficult it is to go into the coop, feed and water them, and just get back out. They are completely under foot, pulling on you and pecking at every spot that looks interesting on your clothes. They want to play all the time!
Here are some of the recent firsts for the littles that made us laugh.
First coop clean out:
I wasn’t aware at first but did you know that young chicks go through 8 moltings before they get their final adult feathers? Well this batch of chicks has been shedding and growing new feathers it seems like forever! They are eating twice as much food as the older ladies and that means twice as much poop! Since they have been refusing to go outside in the run it’s all stacking up inside and stinking! So I finally changed out the bedding and dumped a brand new bale of pine shavings in the middle of the floor. They didn’t even give me a chance to grab my camera! They were all over it, tearing it down! Remember dust bathing girl? Trying to dust bath without any dirt? When the chips came out she plopped herself down and started to bathe with the chips! That was funny enough but then the other littles started to pull the pine shavings off of her! Then another little joined in with her! You have to see the video:
Trying to Get the Littles Outside:
You didn’t see them all but I took 5 videos trying to get the littles to go outside, but they wouldn’t even venture off the chicken ladder! For brave girls they certainly took a long time finally getting outside! They were 10 weeks old when I finally shoved them out! And of course they enjoyed themselves. Funny enough they haven’t gone out since. Check them out:
When we moved the littles into the coop they insisted on laying on top of each other in a pile in the corner of the floor at night. They should be roosting! Stupidly they picked the corner underneath the hanging feeder full of food which is right in front of the drafty chicken door. They couldn’t stand up without hitting the feeder and knocking food on the floor. We left a new poop deck shelf on the wall and put their training perch on top but they had no interest. At 12 weeks old we finally started to see poop under the perch on top of the poop deck! (It’s sad to see how excited we get about poop). So now we know it’s time to put up the roost! What an exciting day! The littles are turning into big girls at 3 months of age and they have huge feet! Although we had to pick the girls up and put them on the roost to get them started they seem to be getting the hang of it! Check it out. Oh…..and they are having a good time pulling, tugging and pecking like always!
The chicks got their wish today! They moved into their new LARGE brooder! They were so excited that one girl actually flew from the small brooder into the new one!
They certainly love their new space. More room to roam. The cage grid floor is gone and they can finally scratch with their feet! Everything is new. One chick even thought a large pine shaving was food! She picked it up in her beak and the other chicks became jealous and started chasing her to try and steal it away! Too funny!
For the quieter chicks this was a little much for them. They were skiddish and peeped really loud if they became scared. That happens every now and then since the brave girls are taking over the space with their antics.
Over the next week I’ll try to video all their new experience because there are going to be a lot of FIRSTS coming up!
Watch the chick fly and the girl run with her wood chip on their YouTube Channel:
We are starting to see the personalities develop in these babies. One chick in particular has a strong instinct to dust bathe like I’ve never seen before. The brooder only has a cage bottom for cleanliness. Poop drops out the bottom and away from the chicks. But the dust bathing instinct is so strong she lays on the floor flopping around even though there is no dirt to bathe in!
First, the chick found the little tray of grit and started flopping around in that. Grit is tiny stones that the chicks eat to help them digest their food. Once the chicks started eating in the outside troughs that little chick decided to drop in front of one of the open windows. The other chicks were not happy that this little girl wanted to take up space by the food to flip flop around on the cage floor! They started to stand on top of her and in some cases even started pecking at her saying “Get Out of My Way!”
She is going to have a ball when I give the girls their first tray of dirt to play with!
You can watch the dust bathing chick on their YouTube Channel: