Summer Heat Prep for the Chickens

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:

More Firsts for the Littles

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:

New Roosts:

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!

More firsts coming up soon. Don’t miss them!

A Bigger Brooder

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:

Chick Dust Bathing

Wow the chicks keep growing and growing!

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:

Lets Eat Out Tonight

I can hear them saying “Hey, it’s getting a little crowded in here!!” Unfortunately it’s still cold outside and these little girls need to stay inside for another few weeks. So what can we do to make things better? Let’s let them eat out for a change!

This brooder came with troughs to hang on the outside to save space. There are metal pieces you can adjust to make sure the chicks can stick their heads out but not their entire bodies. We decided to give it a try.

First, we opened up the slides to let them investigate. It took awhile for them to get brave enough to poke their beaks through. Then we added the troughs filled with food. Opening the slides once again, they quickly got to it. They devoured the food like they hadn’t been fed for a week! Little monsters act like we are starving them!

After they filled up they started getting picky about their food. Instead of just eating they started pecking through it and tossing about pieces they didn’t care for. Guess where it landed…..ON THE FLOOR!. What a mess! We are now spending a lot of time vacuuming to avoid attracting mice.

But hey…..they have more room! It won’t last for long. They are growing way too fast. We are going to have to build a bigger brooder soon.

Check out our trough test, feeding the chicks outside the brooder on their YouTube Channel:

Feeding Couple Day Old Chicks

Cuteness alert!!!!

The chicks are only a few days old and are devouring food like they are starving to death! But they are too cute to judge. They are growing so fast. You can see changes daily! Look at the feathers they’ve already developed! It all happens too fast.

We did lose one of the chicks to illness which unfortunately seems to happen when they are this young. We introduced 2 new chicks the same age that quickly blended in with everyone.

What else can you say?! They eat a lot and poop a lot. Lots of cleaning up but we love them . They seem to be calmer than the big girls. There was a lot of chaos with our last girls. Could it be because we had 5 roosters? Yep, probably!

Get a closer look at the little monsters eating on their YouTube Channel:

New Baby Chicks!

Guess what I did yesterday morning!!!

That’s right! I bought some new baby chicks! These cute little balls of downy feathers are 20 Rhode Island Red chickens. They are known for the tons of extra large brown eggs they lay and they are super hardy. But more than that……THEY ARE SO ADORABLE! Gotta enjoy them while they are this small.

So how did this start? The other ladies aren’t laying enough eggs for our customers. So we are bringing in some new girls to help. The older ladies just don’t lay as many eggs as they used to. However, being past their monstrous teenage years has made them sweeter than ever! They don’t run away like they used to and they aren’t pecking at each other as much. Stewart the rooster may have something to do with it but mellowing with age is so nice to see!

I got 2 boxes of 10 chicks each and brought them home. These tender little cuties spend the first 3-4 weeks of their lives gradually getting used to living in 75 degree weather. Then they can move into a coop, opening the door only when the temperature is over 70 degrees. Fresh out of their box I had to quickly put them in the brooder which I needed to heat up to 95 degrees to start. In the meantime I had to find a good place to set them to keep them as warm as possible. The only room I could think of was my tiny bathroom with an electric heater. So that’s where they sat! The boxes rocking and “cheep, cheep!” every now and then.

Once the brooder was hot enough I picked up one chick at a time out of the box. I held them over the waterer and dipped their beaks into the water so they knew where to find it.Then they were off to explore!

Phew! All safe and sound. Poor little girls were so traumatized most of them immediately fell asleep under the heater and took a nap. SO CUTE!

See the new chicks on their YourTube Channel:

We Have Achieved Roosting

Chicks on Roost

It’s a late summer evening and I’m sitting there with the windows open for a cool breeze. I started hearing thumping noises coming from the coop. What the heck is going on out there?! I ran outside and opened the coop door. All the chicks just stared at me like a parent who came home early and busted up the party. They all shuffled out their coop door and went outside. I took a look around to see they were up to and noticed……there was poop in the poop deck under the roosts! Yay! The girls were Finally learning how to use the roosting bars.

The next morning when I let them out of the coop I found 3 of them sitting on the roosts! How exciting! I decided to spend the evening video taping them coming in a for the night. They are hysterical! They jump up, they fall off, they have a hard time balancing, they knock their neighbor off and “boom”, back on the floor. Now I know what the thumping is all about! Poor girls! I put more pine shavings down to break their fall.

Now it seems they think any piece of wood is a roost. Good thing I’ve covered up their nesting boxes until they are ready to lay eggs. They’d all be jumping into them, messing them up. Another thing for me to clean! They still have another 2-3 months before they start laying eggs.

One of the places they are jumping on is the chicken wire covered storage cage door! Scared me to death! Surprised me while I was video taping them. I hope that stops soon! Hopefully their smart enough to realize it’s a bad idea.

Watch the fun on What the Flocks YouTube channel!

 

Little Miss Peeps

Little Miss Peeps

People wondered what ever happened to Little Miss Peeps, the baby chick we had a hard time getting to eat and drink. Well, here she is. Smaller than everyone else and a little off. We decided she truly is a special chick. She has some sort of neurological issue, holding her head to one side and having trouble walking straight ahead. It’s a little comical to watch and she likes to spend more time with us than most of the other chicks. Best of all, she seems to be very happy and healthy!

You can see a video of her here:

 

 

 

You’re Not The Boss of Me!

Chicks on BagGirls, I know the cold rainy weather makes you bored, but please let me clean your home without you getting in my way. If they aren’t climbing in the bag of pine shavings, their in the muck bucket or on me! Trying to move them results in a lot of squawking and pecking.

I think I’m starting to lose control of who the boss is!  Oh….and they are getting bigger! It’s making them a little braver. They somehow think that gives them the upper hand. Girls, I’m not part of your pecking order….I AM the mother hen!

But I can’t stay mad at them for too long. They are so comical!

Enjoy a taste of mischievousness on the video.