I've been away for a few weeks and I'm not even going to try playing catch-up, this thread moves too fast! Anyway, baby is here... 3 weeks old now, beautiful home birth. We're all doing great, but little lady isn't letting me get much done around here so I haven't made any progress on the last few things that need to be finished on the coop. Chicks are 11 weeks old now and getting so big, I really need to take some new pictures... every day I come outside though and at least one has escaped the coop (which means I've just been lucky that no raccoons have gotten IN). I'm thinking they are hopping up from the roost through the open triangle along the roof that I haven't filled in with boards yet, I thought it was pretty high (6ft drop to the ground), but I can't find any other place they could get out from. Hoping little lady will let me finish up the coop stuff ASAP.
Still can't tell genders for sure of the 5 we hatched, mystery chick is developing some skinny neck feathers, so may be a rooster but it's hard to say bc we don't even know what breed/mix it is and have no others to compare. Two of the 4 australorps have bigger, much more pronounced combs than the other 2, but the neck feathers actually seem broader on the ones with the bigger combs, so I don't really know. DH does not want to keep any roosters, so I'm almost hoping Romeo (australorp w biggest comb) is somehow a hen bc he/she is so friendly. Romeo is the one that keeps escaping (sometimes brings a friend or two, but Romeo is always out), and he just waits patiently and comes running for me to put him back in.
Anyone know anything about crickets carrying some kind of disease? We have a ridiculous amount of crickets in our yard, more than I've ever seen, when you walk through the back yard there are literally hundreds jumping every which way every time you take a step. Other than the escape artists, our chickens don't free-range because of unleashed neighborhood dogs so they haven't been eating the crickets. Our neighbor recently got two ducklings and also has some kind of bug-eating reptile, thinking it would be a good snack, he fed them some 'backyard crickets'... the ducklings died within a day or so and the reptile he said isn't looking too good. After the ducklings died, I guess he did some research and found out the crickets are carrying something and the reason there are so many is because the wild birds aren't eating them. He didn't give any specifics (I'm guessing his wife did the research, lol) and I didn't really know what to search for... anyone else hear of anything like this??