Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring Chicks

Our chicks are doing well.  They are perky and lively.  This is the bookshelf brooder.  It is a bookshelf lying on it's back.  It is called an instant brooder, for when my DH didn't have the time to build something and the chicks are on the way home.  The lovely sheer curtain is there to give the brooder an artsy feel.  No, not really.  Actually, it is to keep the draft from the backdoor from falling down the steps and chilling the chicks.  Drafts cause bad things to happen to the chicks.  This brooder is small and we only used it to isolate a couple of the smaller chicks that had 'pasty butt' issues.  The big brooder is just too big to chase down a chick without crawling in there with them.

The big brooder also has sheets around it.  Partly it is to keep the draft off, but it is also a way of keeping the wood chips contained and discouraging adventurous chicks from trying to escape.  The basement here at the farmhouse is clean and basic.  It is perfect for our farm projects.  The cement floor is easily cleaned up and projects can be moved in and out without requiring permanent modifications.

Here is the brooder set up.  At this point, we have two heat lamps, and with the curtains it seems to be very adequate in keeping them warm even with it's large size.

We have moved the water up on to the towel stand.  Since we moved it, there are a lot less wood chips in the bottom of the waterer.  All the chicks can get up there or reach it from the ground.

The chicks are getting more distinct looks as the feathers come in.  The Barred Rocks are getting their striped feathers.  I am surprised at the large variation in size, even between birds of the same kind.  Some are pygmys and some are large.  The Black Jersey giants have distinctive black legs and are quite a bit larger as they are a week older.

Did you know that hens get their feathers much earlier than roosters?

The ones with the white heads are the Barred Rocks and the ones with the black heads are the Black Austrolarps.  I really enjoy watching the chicks.  When they nap they lay there looking dead.  It can scare you at first.  They are just like babies, they just flop down on the ground sprawled out and are instantly asleep.

The hens are roaming widely over the back yard.  If they see us come out they 'think' that we must want to feed them, so they come running.

They don't seem to mind having muddy feet at all.  The yolks are now really getting orange!

Just a comment on the weather...  This time last year we were picking daffodils, this year there is still some ice on the pond!  It is still winter gray and the green of spring has not started.  Soon,  I think it will happen soon!

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