Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chicks Are Now Two Weeks Old

   It's been two weeks since we got the chicks.  They are all healthy and growing so fast. They look more and more like small chickens than chicks now that they have feathers instead of fluffy downs that made them look so adorable as baby chicks.  But they have become so tame and friendly, it's so fun to go inside the run in the morning and open the coop door for them to come outside.  They usually jump on my feet and arms as if to say "Hi, Mom!"  Just adorable!!

   Tapioca, sitting on my hand.  They don't mind being picked up now, but most of the time, they just jump on us as if we are their perches.  Their feet feel so warm on our skin (Chicken's body temperature is around 102F degrees.).

   Coco.  She is the Easter Egger, which will lay blue/green eggs.  Her feet look kind of green.  And she is the only one that has 'cheeks'.  Cute.

   They come and go and switch places.   Here, I've got Dorito, Frigglish, and Tapioca.  Photo-bombing in the background is my kitty, Marshmallow.

   At one point, I had four chicks on my left arm.  They like to jump and sit on our arms so much. ^^;  Their little claws leave small scratch marks on my skin, but they don't hurt.  I guess it's just dry skin. lol  XD

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fun with Chicks

   It has been warm and sunny lately and some of the chicks have been flapping their wings and jumping to the top edge of the brooder walls, we decided to let them out into the run section of their coop to get some outside experience and exercise.  Chicks seem to love the dirt.  Dorito immediately started sand bathing like a seasoned pro.  We couldn't believe how good at it she was, digging and kicking with her leg and tossing the dirt with her wings onto herself.  They are only a little over a week old and so capable. :D

   They also figured out the exit ramp (a piece of board we put to the coop door) quite well.  The little feet walking up and down the ramp are so cute.  Some of them also just 'fly' off from mid point of the ramp, flapping their wings.  One jumped right off from the coop door and landed clear across on the far wall.  They can kind of 'fly' already.   So cute.

   Our kitties are definitely curious about the little birds in the big cage.  Although I was surprised to see that none of them have been having the 'chatter teeth' reaction to seeing the birds, like they usually do when they see sparrows and doves in the backyard.  They seem to know that these chicks belong to the humans and they are somehow special.  Every time I let the chicks out, the cats gather around the chicken coop and watch.  They have no idea how big these chicks are going to be. *giggles*  Some of our kitties will weight less than the grown hens at maturity.  Puccini is a Buff Orpington, so she will weigh about 7 pounds as a hen, and even more as a rooster (in case she was misidentified as a female as a day-old chick...  It happens.).

   The chicks love the chopped Swiss chard from the Square Foot Garden box in the backyard.  They go crazy pecking on the chopped pieces and stepping all over the bowl -- the little girls have no manners when it comes to food. XD  I'm composting their coop bedding in the compost pile for future use in the gardens.

   My family and I are having so much fun with the chicks.  They have grown used to being handled by us and some even falls asleep in our hands and Friglish (The black chick, which will be black and white marked "Barred Plymouth Rock".) is particularly friendly and casual, routinely jumping onto our arms and backs (when I'm crouching down).  They all seem pretty happy. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Week One with the Chicks

Time flies when you're having fun!  It's hard to believe it has been 7 days since the chicks arrived.  They are growing so fast.  (The size of their poo grows noticeably every day! XD)  The wing feathers with pretty patterns are already starting to emerge.

From left to right: Tapioca, Friglish, Dorito, Coco, and Puccini.  We let them out into the run for a while and some of the girls were doing the sand bath thing and got all dingy.

Coco sitting pretty.

Puccini is very friendly, too.

Dorito's wing feathers are showing beautiful patterns.  She'll be a very pretty hen.

The other two dark chicks, we couldn't get good photos.  Friglish is friendly, but the photo came out out of focus.  Tapioca is a little high strung, and with the wing feathers growing, they run with wings flapping as if to test themselves for flying.  They jump a lot, too.

We've had a second case of "Pasty Butt".  Pasty butt is when a poo gets stuck on their butt.  According to the blog article by the company we bought the chicks from, if not taken care of, it will prevent the chick from passing waste and can cause death.  So it's vital that pasty butt is taken care of as soon as it is spotted.  The first time I spotted it was on the day after they arrived.  Dorito had it.  I hadn't read up on the 'pasty butt' at the time, but I figured it would constipate the poor chick, so I moistened a wad of tissue with warm water and gently removed the crusty poo.  She was fine after that.  This time, Tapioca was starting to develop it with one chunk of poo stuck on her butt.  I went ahead and gave her the same treatment as I did to Dorito.  She's been fine since.  It has become one of my chores to check the girls' rear for the telltale sign of PB every morning.  ^^;

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chicks Are Here!

It's been over a month since I wrote in this blog.  The month of August was so busy and it just flew!

Lots of update around the garden, but the biggest news has to be our new chicks.  The chicks were ordered in August from, a company in Texas, scheduled for delivery in September.  Well, I was notified shortly after placing my order that our chicks will be shipped on September 5th, and we can expect them to arrive at our local post office for pick up within a day or two.

I was doing my final supply shopping for the coop (thermometer and pine shavings for the floor) at Wal-mart at 7 in the morning when my cell phone rang and it was the post office.  I didn't even know that there were people working at the post office at 7 in the morning, but apparently, that's when the stuff start come in the back of the building.  I was instructed to come to the 'dock' in the back of the building and press the service button to get help.  I drove right on over after paying for my stuff.

And this is what I picked up at the post office.  The box is clearly marked with "Live Baby Chicks" on a red sticker, and as if it wasn't enough, the box is chirping. :D  Special delivery, indeed!

I got the special gel food ready for the chicks and the lamp turned on inside the coop where I had set up a brooder zone and took the box out to the coop and carefully removed the outer lid.  This is what the inside the box looked like -- padded with wood shredding and another box inside. ^^

I put the whole box inside the brooder and opened the inside box to see the five chicks huddling in the corner.  CUTE!!!!!

I carefully scooped them up and out of the box one by one and gently put them onto the brooder floor.  They  just ran out of my hands to check out the place.  Amazing how much energy these chicks have after a trip in a box!  Much to my delight, they came right up to my hand and pecked on my rings when I put my hand in the brooder.  I was expecting them to huddle in the corner as far away from me as possible and shiver in fear.  Was I wrong!

Close-up of the chicks.  We got one each of Barred Plymouth Rock, Buff Orpington, Black Australorp, Golden Comet, and Easter Egger (Ameraucana).  A variety pack! :D  That was the nice thing about  Their minimum order is 3 chicks (during warm shipping months), and you can mix and match from a wide variety of chicken breeds.

And this is the chicks' home tweet home. ^^  We still have inside door latches to put, more hardware clothes to put at the top where the roof meets the side walls, but it's ready for the chicks.  The brooder area is set up inside the coop.  My daughter decided on the classic American barn color scheme of barn red and white for our coop/run.  The structure is located just past our square foot garden boxes in the backyard.

The morning glory is going crazy on our fence.  I had planted 5 to 7 seeds (I don't remember for sure...) in one small spot, so now the whole thing is densely covering a section of our fence.  Every morning, we see tons of blooms in lavender and magenta.  I don't know what happened to the "Heavenly Blue" I planted or the Moonflower seeds also.  They're there, but no blooms yet.

The broccoli plant in the Summer Veggies box is 3 feet tall and mostly leaves.  I saw this sad excuse of a 'head' the other day.  It's not quite what I expected, but tasted good. ^^;

Also strange is my "Black Krim" tomato.  They taste wonderful with a definite heirloom flavor, but they don't really turn 'black' as the seed catalogs showed in pictures.  The flavor, though, is to die for.

The Swiss Chard (Neon Lights) in the Spring Veggies box is still producing remarkably well.  I have greens to add to my lunch every day from a single square of these guys.  They are, by far, my favorite from the garden.  I also love the eggplant!

The Kamome Pink flowering kale I've been growing from seeds.  The center is looking really dense and the whole 'head' measures 12 inches already.  I'm looking forward to the color change as the weather gets cooler/cold.

Well, this is it for the giant update!  I'll write more about the chicks and my Winter Veggies box (where crops of corn used to grow) in the next update.