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.
Chicks Enjoying Their Perch
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. Continue reading
Martha Holding Chick
Our little chicks are doing quite well in their brooder. We change the water a few times a day as they do get shredded paper (and occasionally poop) in it. We also replenish the food as needed.
The chicks walk around the box, hop up on the roosts, cluck, and just hangout. We take them out one at a time and hold them while we watch TV. I want them to be used to being handled, and to be friendly. When we hold them they are anxious at first, but get quite relaxed. As a stroke a chick her eyes will close, and she’ll be quiet. It’s quite enjoyable for me, too.
Chick Sleeping With George
The chicks are getting more and more feathers. At times they look silly as their pin feathers come in. I’m kind of sad that the Golden Comets aren’t these cute little yellow fluffballs anymore, but their feathers are quite pretty. We haven’t assigned names yet as it’s kind of hard to tell one fluffball from another. As their feathers are coming in, it’ll be time to name them soon. Look forward to a post with a picture of each lovely lady and her name!
Chicks In Our First Brooder Box
After we came home with our chicks, it was time to assemble the brooder box. We had everything we would need, but we hadn’t put it together yet. While it’s often recommended that you have everything ready to go before bringing home the chicks, I’m glad we waited until we had the chicks. We were better able to consider the size of the chicks in our plans when they were there in front of us. Plus it took about 5 minutes to assemble everything, so it’s not like the birds were in the traveling box for an inordinate amount of time.
First Brooder Box Light Setup
We had saved some cardboard boxes in anticipation of using them as the brooder box, but we quickly realized that all the boxes would be too small. We had an unused Rubbermaid bin, and it was large enough to be the brooder, so we setup that. We laid down newspaper, and then covered it with shredded paper. It’s important that chicks have a textured surface to walk on, or they can develop leg problems. So just laying newspaper would have been bad, but the shredded paper made it great. We also set in the food container and the waterer we made, which is described below. We also setup some lights since it’s important the chicks be kept warm. A couple regular houselamps with 100 watt bulbs did the trick. We set them up right at the edge of the bin so they were as close as possible. Continue reading
Golden Comet Chicks At Southern States
Once we decided that we were going to have laying hens for eggs, we had to get them. We had to wait until after our Spring Break trip to get the chicks as we didn’t want to find a sitter to care for them for a week. When we returned, we called around to the local feed stores to see if they still had chicks, and if so what breeds. The two major feed stores in our area are Southern States and Tractor Supply Co. I called Tractor Supply first. The lady who answered the phone knew they had chicks, but wasn’t sure of the breed or the price. I then called Southern States, and that guy was much more informative. He was able to tell me both breeds they had, the highlights of each, the age of the chicks they had, and the prices. Since Southern States was also closer, we decided to go there since the breeds were good layers, and we knew what we would get.
Let me take a minute to describe the breeds of chicken we acquired. We bought 6 chickens total, 3 Aracaunas and 3 Golden Comets. The Aracauna breed is notable because they lay blue eggs. I thought that would be a really neat thing to have, and we would be enjoying something that is not commercially available. They are also supposed to be very good layers overall with a good annual output. Continue reading