Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One Month

We've now had the chicks for one month.  It's really neat to watch them because an obvious growth spurt takes place at least every two or three days.  They are so much bigger now than when we got them.  They are beginning to grow their feathers, and much of that soft baby chick fuzz is gone away.  It's so interesting to watch them eat and watch their behaviors.  So what all have we done?
1.  We brought them home on day one to their homemade brooder box which was nothing more than a large plastic container.  Dave (my husband) cut a hole in the top of the container and covered that hole with screen.  We kept a metal folding chair right beside the box so that we could clamp the heat lamp to it and have it be above the container just enough to provide the heat needed to keep the box warm.  For the first week the temperature needed to be around 95 degrees.
2.  Pretty quickly the chicks out grew that box and by about week three we moved them into a large box made of ply wood.  That will hold them until they are ready to move to the Hen House.
3.  My husband has been working diligently with a friend, keeping late nights and any other free moment, in order to have the Hen House ready within the next couple weeks.  We plan to introduce them to it when they are six weeks old.   We have the primer on and it's ready for paint.  The run is almost done too.
4.  For the first month we fed the chicks medicated chick starter feed.  Now, we've changed them over to a special mix of feed.  We got the recipe from a great blog called Fresh Eggs Daily and a link to that recipe is here:
They've only been eating this now for about three days but we expect great results from this mix.  Apparently, the better you feed your chicks, the more healthy their eggs will be. 
5.  WATER!! They drink SO MUCH water!  I never would've thought something so small could drink so much. Be sure to check the water daily and keep them provided with fresh water.
6.  We have used pine needles as the bedding for their box.  They seem to love it.  We just rake the needles up from my grandmother's yard and bring them to our house.  We don't make it hard...we include the leaves and whatever else is mixed in.  The extra little things give the chicks something to peck at and keep them from being bored and pecking each other.
7.  We will keep you's been a lot of fun so far.  A little work, but it's worth it. Can't wait for them to lay eggs in the spring!

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