Preparing for Baby Chicks
Spring is almost here!
If you’re like me, you’re excited to add some chicks to your flock! (Personally, I am hoping to add some Welsummers and Cochins!) Whether adding new breeds, or re-stocking on your old favorites, preparation is key!
Go ahead and have all your set-up complete and ready before your chicks arrive That way, you won’t be scrambling last minute to go buy something they need Instead, you’ll have everything in order and you can just enjoy spending time with your new babies
Whether an old stock
When an unexpected storm shuts down the power grid people are lucky We can put a comfy fleece jacket over long johns and snuggle under a toasty quilt Baby chicks can’t In the old days their broody mom would welcome them into her fluffed up feathers, where they’d be warmed and comforted by her Today, most chicks rely on brooder heat that usually comes from electricity If they get too cold, they’ll perish So, how do you keep them warm when the power fails? Fortunately, there are several ways to do it
Move the Brooder to the Warmest Place: On
The Rudd Rangers are growing right before my eyes! We have had them about 1 week, and they have grown from an average weight of 33 grams, all the way to 95 grams! Each day they grow more curious, more playful, and certainly hungrier Even though they are still fluff balls, I am starting to notice them getting more muscular and tall Their wing feathers are coming in, but I will not have to worry about them flying out of the brooder for a few more weeks still
They are relatively low maintenance at this age
My lovely assortment of chicks have officially made it to the one month mark! At about 3 weeks old, they graduated to the handy-dandy chicken tractor to receive some much needed fresh air and more space They also are now eating pellets, instead of crumble It is important to always keep youngsters away from older hens If you put them together too soon, you’ll quickly see nature’s “pecking order” in full swing It is best to keep your babies separate until they are almost equal in size to full grown hens (about 4 months of age)
The past few weeks have flown by with my colorful, rainbow batch of chicks!
They have been relatively low maintenance up until this point When you have chicks during hotter months, it is important to make sure they don’t get overheated during the daytime
Their wing and tail feathers have grown in Usually feathers on the head come in very last There have been 3 pleasant days where we have let them outside during the day We put them in our handy, now empty, chicken tractor Ideally, the tractor would have rabbit wire, but it only has chicken wire Luckily, the chicks have grown in size and cannot fit through the holes
Their first time in a bigger house was super exciting!
They ran around and flew off the grass, like little baby pigeons! Picking grass, taking a dust bath, and practicing perching Like a proud parent, I loved seeing all their firsts! My toddler loves sitting in the tractor with them and she will have them tame in no time!
Unlike the Rangers, these chicks all look very different! So, naturally, we have favorites There’s Stormy the black and white mystery girl, Lemongrab, the one we can’t decide will be white or gray, and Sunny
Sunny is very “special” Ever since taking her out of the box, I noticed something was off about this dark gray, almost blue, cutie She doesn’t have splay leg, but has trouble getting around She acts dizzy I have tried different things to help her, but nothing has changed It must be a neurological tick She is still eating, drinking, and longs to be with the others
Some of the chicks did develop mild cases of “pasty butt,” or as my toddler lovingly calls it, “tasty butt” Pasty butt happens when chicks have a little ball of poop on the outside of their little bottoms It is fairly common in chicks that have been shipped, and thankfully, easy to fix By carefully picking off the hard bits with a warm, wet paper towel, it is cured
Other than that, they are a lively, vivid little bouquet of chicks!
Our Rudd Ranger chicks are turning from babies into teenagers right before our eyes!
They are growing more “real” feathers, and just like true teenagers, love to act silly and play rough with each other One of their favorite things to do is run as fast as they can into another chick and at the last second, fly over its head! I gave them a couple branches in the brooder for entertainment I can see how they would easily get bored in the brooder, but it is still the safest place for them
This week marks the Rudd chicks’ 2nd week birthday They are averaging 180 grams now and truly growing each day!
The 13 chicks are thriving and starting to grow in some juvenile feathers They still have lots of fluff, and still need access to the heat lamp at all times Weather is Alabama has been warm one day, and freezing the next, so it is important to keep an eye on their temperature in the brooding box The heat lamp is always on, but adjustments are needed to other surroundings For example, during
In our modern world, only a tiny percentage of baby chicks are lucky enough to have a caring mother For nearly all of the 6,000 or so years that chickens have been domesticated the only way chicks came into the world was under a broody mother hen Broodys patiently incubate eggs for three weeks then switch to mother mode as soon as the babies almost miraculously emerge Moms keeps them warm, show them how to find food and water, and protect them from danger
That changed with the invention of artificial incubation and brooding The ancient
Now that you’ve gotten your chicks, how long should they stay in the brooder? When will they be old enough to be introduced to the coop? It’s a good rule of thumb that chicks need to stay warm until they are fully feathered When you look at your chicks, if you see downy feathers, there’s a good chance that they still need warmth in the brooder You can expect your chickens to have all of their adult feathers somewhere between 5-8 weeks of age This will vary some depending on the breed and the individual chick