Our chicks are now approximately five and three weeks old (if you recall we have two varieties: Araucanas and Golden Comets). We recently made another trip to the local feed store to get some more chick food. The twenty-five pound bag we purchased when we bought the chicks is almost all gone already, so we purchased another three twenty-five pound bags of non-medicated chick food. This should last them until they are ready to go outside and eat “layer” feed.
The chicks have all been developing very quickly (relatively of course, since we have no prior reference, being new to chickens). We’ve noticed that they have all been roosting a lot more on the perches we put in their brood box. They are also a lot bigger and have a lot more feathers. The Araucanas are almost completely feathered with almost no down visible anymore.
You might notice something new in the brood box in the bottom right. We bought some chick grit on our last trip to the feed store so the chicks could start eating food beyond their regular chick feed. The chicks need grit in order to aid in their digestion of more substantial foods like worms, bugs, and kitchen scraps.
We wanted to have a dish to put the grit in but also wanted it to be kept up off the ground to mitigate the chicks walking through it. Our first attempt involved cutting a 2-liter bottle and filling some empty baby food jars with water for weight in the base. We then placed an empty cream cheese container on top of the 2-liter base which held the grit. It seemed pretty good but we were not 100% confident in its abilities so started off with just a little bit of grit in the top, placed it in the box, and watched the chicks for a few minutes.
Within just a couple minutes the grit feeder experienced a complete failure. It was about the right height as the chicks were able to reach up and over to get at the grit, but one jumped on the grit feeder and knocked it over. Back to the drawing board!
Our next attempt utilized the same basic design, but we realized we needed more weight in the base. Luckily we recently put a patio in our back yard and still had a bunch of sand leftover. This time we cut the base a little taller to accommodate more sand weight and to deter chicks from hopping onto it. We poured some sand into the same base, then once it was filled with sand we poured some water from our rain barrels for additional weight, filling in the gaps in the sand.
The chicks quickly started eating their grit from the new feeder. They even tested its performance by jumping on top of it and standing on the edge. Despite the chicks’ best efforts the feeder stood strong!
After a few hours of them eating the grit we put some carrot peels in a pie tin for the chicks to snack on. At first they just huddled away from the carrots, some walked over them. But we did not see them even peck at them for a while so left them over night.
The next morning when we were refreshing their food and water we found the tin to be pecked dry! Not a single carrot peel could be found anywhere in their box. It appears the chicks greatly enjoyed their treat. This weekend we plan on doing some more weeding in our garden, so the chicks can look forward to some yummy dandelion greens!