Sunday, March 18, 2018

Chick update 1 week-ish

You guys!  I am so late with the 1 week chick update.  I considered just waiting until Thursday, and making it a 2 week update, and I'm sure you all would have been fine with that, but.  Well.  They're so cute.  And growing so fast.  So here it is.

The girls are doing great with the mama hen heating pad.  They love it under there--maybe a little too much.  These chicks are more skittish than our previous batch of chicks.  As soon as they hear or see someone in the room with them, they startle and run under the heating pad, so I've been sneaking up on them, trying to get a glimpse of them out in the open.

The temp under the heating pad has been between 90 and 95°F, which is right on track with what all the chicken people say the chicks need.  Just today, I turned the heat setting down one notch, and AKD told me I should raise it up a bit (so the chicks wouldn't get clothes-lined as they were fleeing to safety), so I did that, too.  I'm keeping a close eye on them and the temperature today, and will decide later on if the temp needs to go back up over night.

Koko is the smallest and shyest of the chicks.  She's the first to panic, and spends the most time under the heating pad.  As you can see, her tail feathers and wing feathers are coming in.  I love the pure white wing tips.

Isn't Indigo pretty?  Like all of the chicks, her wing and tail feathers are coming in, and hers are just striking in grayscale.  Indigo seems to be the ring leader at this point.  Both Koko and Indigo have doubled in size since coming home.  It's really remarkable how much they've grown in such a short time, which goes a long way to explaining why these chicks looked so much smaller when we brought them home, than we remember our first set of chicks being.  Just like human babies, we forget how little they were.

 If Koko and Indigo have doubled in size, Hazel has quadrupled.  She is, by far, the biggest of the three.  When we first brought them home, Hazel seemed a bit unstable.  She would do her little ballet move (where she stretches out a leg and the wing on the same side, behind her), and almost toppled over.  Chicks (and chickens) kind of squat when they poop, and one time she almost fell over backward while relieving herself.  She has figured out her equilibrium and is doing just fine these days.  Speaking of poop, a couple of days ago, I noticed that Hazel was "pasted up," which means she had dried poop blocking her vent.  Bubby and I cleaned her up, and she is none the worse for wear.

I added a mirror to the brooder, and all of the girls like looking at themselves in it.  They hang out by the mirror quite a bit.  I think.  I mean, I'm not really sure because they usually run when I go look at them.  The girls also appear to already be plotting their escape.  They're looking up toward the top of the brooder and testing their wings, and digging in various spots, trying to find a weak spot.

The chicks are extremely talented at getting pine shavings in their water, even after I elevated it a bit more, so I'll be setting up the nipple waterer as soon as I can manage it (first we need to empty a container of the right sort, since I recycled the one we used last year).  I gave the chicks fermented food for the first time today, and while it doesn't appear to be their favorite thing ever, I did see all three of them eating it.

This week, I will attempt to set up a dust bath in the brooder.  I say "attempt" because I'm not sure where I'm going to find dry, non-snow-covered dirt around here.  Wish me luck.

And, I will close with this.  So sweet.

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