My ‘Littles’ are Not So Little Anymore

Rhode Island Red chicks, age 4 Weeks.
Rhode Island Red chicks, age 4 Weeks.

Rhode Island Red chicks, age 4 Weeks.

My ‘Littles’ (as I’ve been calling the Rhode Island Red chicks) are not so little anymore.

As you can see, they are losing their baby down.

They love to jump and fly and right now, it’s a challenge to feed them or clean out the brooder.  They jump out and sit on the edge of the box, watching me work.  A couple of them have jumped down and run around the barn.

It’s time to get them out of the box and into a bigger coop.

The trouble with that is we don’t have an empty coop, just the one that my Golds are in right now.  And they are a little over 2x the size of the chicks.

DH’s plan (since he can’t build a coop in so short a time) is to split our coop in two separate sections with chicken wire and put the Reds into their own half.  It’s not ideal, but the two flocks will be able to see each other and, hopefully, get used to each other.  We’ll keep them separate for a couple of weeks, or until the Reds show signs of getting bigger, then make an attempt at integrating them, sans chicken wire.

Bud (our special needs chick) is no longer ‘Bud.’  That is to say, I cannot tell which chick he is.  He  no longer holds his neck at that little tilt, no longer runs in circles, and he doesn’t respond when I talk to him (any more than the others do, I mean.)  He’s just… one of the guys now.  And I’m glad of that, because that’s exactly what he needed to be.

If you’re interested, I posted a photo dump yesterday, with some of the highlights of the last two weeks with my chickens.

 

Yikes! A very Busy Week, Two Chick Week-aversaries and More!

Okay, so, the last time I actually had a spare minute to blog, it was to give you all an update on my Gold Sexlinks in Week 5, as well as to tell you all about Bud, our very special chick.

Well, it’s been a busy week for us, filled with chorus concerts, canning (I made homemade jam), eye doctors appointments, and a weekend picnic.

In short, I haven’t had time to sit down and upload pictures or write a quick post.

So… we’ll start with the Rhode Island Red chicks, who celebrated their 2-weekaversary with us on Wednesday.

Reds-Week2
Week are two weeks old and hard to catch.

They’re still adorable, but very active and hard to catch.  They’re also getting tons of feathers, running around the brooder box like crazy things, and trying to fly.  Meanwhile, in the house, there was Bud, our very special chick.

This is Bud.  This is how he looks on Tuesday, 4 days after we brought him into the house.
This is Bud. This is how he looks on Tuesday, 4 days after we brought him into the house.
Here he is, doing a fairly decent job holding his head up.
Here he is, doing a fairly decent job holding his head up.

I have to admit this, right up until Thursday, I honestly thought Bud was not going to make it.  He held his head up a little bit, to eat, but crumpled up like a ball right afterwards because it was too much effort to maintain an upright position.

Thursday saw a HUGE marked improvement in his health and overall demeanor.  He started holding his neck straighter, walking forwards more, and eating more.

Yesterday, we made the decision to bring Bud back to the rest of his brothers in the brooder box.  I was worried that they might not accept him, given that he’d been int he house for a week, and possibly smelled like human or cat.  (We have two house cats.)  But no, they didn’t even notice I’d added an extra chick.  Bud integrated easily, and this morning he’s eating and running around with them like he never left.

He still holds his head tilted to the side a little, but I haven’t seen him dragging it on the ground like last week.  What a difference a week makes!  I’m so glad we decided to wait it out and not make a rash decision.

Here we are, exploring our run.  The door is open at last.
Here we are, exploring our run. The door is open at last.

At the same time Bud was reintegrating with the rest of his flock, my DH was hard at work building the run where the Golds (now 6 weeks) will be spending some recreational time.  We’ll keep the run gated for the next two or three weeks, until they are all used to it and happily coming and going as they please.

They were hesitant at first, but gradually, they made it out in little bunches of two or three.  We’re leaving their food and water inside the coop, so they know where to come back to get it.

Later this week, I hope to set up a dirt bath area, but there is plenty of dirt and rocks, as well as green grass and flowers to explore.  Most of them seem to like it.

 

 

And here they are at six weeks:

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the 6-week comparison pic
the 6-week comparison pic

Week 5 with the Golds, and an update on the sick baby

 

chickens-week-5
I can’t believe how big they’ve gotten, even since last week!

Well, here is it, 5 weeks and I’m counting the days until my few hold outs who still have noticeable downy feathers to hurry up and lose it. One of the hens has some on her neck yet and a couple of the boys do, as well, but everyone else is pretty much ready for the brooder lamp to go away.

Does ALL the down have to go, or could my hen with little tufts of down on her neck do okay without the lamp? Most of then don’t even sit under it anymore. They all like the boxes of straw now.

Continue reading “Week 5 with the Golds, and an update on the sick baby”