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!

Feather Bomb – Molting

There is nothing more scary than walking into the chicken coop one morning and seeing feathers EVERYWHERE!  The first thing you think is where is my dead chicken?! Then there is a sigh of relief when you find everyone accounted for.

So what the heck happened overnight? Molting season! It looked like some chickens dropped 1/2 their feathers. The ladies used to be so fluffy with sleek, bright colored feathers with a nice glow in the sun. Not anymore they don’t! The buff colored Orphingtons are left with shaggy whitish colored down. The Black Australorps looked more grey and some feathers even had white ends. No iridescent blue when the sun hits them. The Easter Eggers? Well they looked a little sad but nothing compared to those terrible buffs! The lower picture is what our little lady looked like before molting in the picture above it. What a terrible time of year to go full tilt molt! Right in the middle winter!

I started the morning raking up feathers but by the time I was done they had dropped just as many! We are just going to have to deal with the feathers until the molt is over.

 

Without the feathers you can see how skinny some of these hens really were. Being an overprotective hen mom I had the vet take a look and she told me some were a little thin and they needed a little extra vitamins and protein to get them past this late molt. So that’s what I did. Gave them vitamin water, meal worms and sunflower seeds. All the fixins for fixing feathers!

 

There was a fast recovery after all the good snacking. Good thing too! We has some subzero weather and they really needed those feathers to keep them warm! Just in the nick of time!

See the ladies checking out all the feathers on their YouTube Channel:

Hen Aprons (or Chicken Saddles)

aracauna-hen-apron

Have you ever hear of a Hen Apron? I hadn’t either but the internet is a wonderful place to find solutions to your problems!

It’s molting season so some of the girls are starting to lose feathers. What I didn’t know is that when chickens lose enough feathers to show skin, other chickens get tempted to peck those open spots and literally draw blood! What nasty girls they’ve become! So much squawking I felt so bad for the molters!

I started by separating the one chicken with an open wound into her own pen, but within a day they were picking on another! That’s when I did my research and discovered the hen apron and ordered a few online. You put this cape like cloth on the chicken like a back pack. It’s got 2 straps to put the wings through, and covers the spots that are being pecked until they heal up and grow new feathers. It only took them a few minutes to get used to wearing it and all 4 of the girls currently wearing them are healing up nice!

Hen Aprons are also called Chicken Saddles. All you need to know is you call it a chicken saddle if you have a rooster. I’m sure you can picture it!

I ordered a grab bag of hen aprons which will undoubtedly be more colorful than the ones pictured. Those are future pictures you might now what to miss!

If you want to see how the girls like their aprons, watch it on their YouTube channel!