My wife and I live in Huntington Beach, CA. We are in our mid thirties and have always had fun pretending to have a garden. Growing tomatoes from time to time and other various veggies with so/so success. We recently decided to up our suburban homesteading game. We picked up our first 3 chicks on July 31, 2014 at 2 days old. We have a Buff Orpington (Sunny), an Ameracauna/Easter Egger (Scramble) and a Barred Rock hen (Benny). Being our first flock, we are very excited about raising these little girls up to be healthy, happy, egg producing hens! At the time of writing this, we have had them for a week and 3 days and they are about 1 1/2 - 2 weeks old. In the weeks leading up to our purchase from Midway City Feed (Midway City, CA) I did every bit of research I could possibly muster on this page and other, well known chicken pet websites. In the last week of raising these little girls we have had our "problems" and thanks to my prior research and quick referencing it has been, largely, smooth sailing.
I have learned that my chicks are not (yet) smart enough to use a rabbit type water bottle so I have switched to the inverted mason jar and water bowl combo. It works great. I have learned that even the smallest of treat can cause problems, even if you are using organic apple cider vinegar. Benny has gotten pasty butt once. I cleaned it up, and haven't had a problem since. Sunny got a mild case of impacted crop and, thanks to www.backyardchickens.com, I was able to identify it right away and massage the problem out before there was too big a problem. I tried with finely chopped up grass clippings once and carrot peels, cucumber peels and broccoli (also finely chopped). I will stay on the safe side and reintroduce treats when they are quite a bit older.
So far, so good. We handle them regularly and let our curious friends, family and neighbors handle them as well. I sit and watch their antics and talk to them often. Slowly, we have let our very curious dog get close enough to smell and observe them while helping her understand that they are not toys or treats. They are a new edition to our family. Speaking of toys, I learned that those little balls with the bell inside intended for cats are good fun for the little chicks, but their foot can slip through the slits in the plastic ball and that freaks them out a little. Of course I was there and able to help Scramble outta that jam. From now on, Cat balls are offered only under supervision.
I added the first "roosting pole" about 2" above the ground near where they normally sleep, they are starting to use it, albeit, only for a few minutes at a time. They are all starting to push out tail feathers, Benny was first, Scramble 2nd, and Sunny was last on this. In the beginning, Benny was the "runt" if only by an ounce or so, and used to get picked on and pushed around. She has caught up and is the heaviest bird and walks tall and proud. Scramble is still the biggest in size and most curious by far, I can always get her attention by "pecking" (with my finger) at things. Sunny is the glutton. She is always eating and has no problem setting still when we need a chick to pick up and show a friend.
We have ordered a Pawhut Coop & Run (the green one) mostly because it's quite a bit cheaper than building my own from lumber. Living in the suburbs, I don't have a stretch of land that has old planks and boards for the recycled materials method. We are waiting for Amazon to deliver it. Of course, I will post a review and updates as I get inspired to. All I can really say is, If it's your 1st set of a few chicks, keep it simple. Less complicated is easier.
This is them at about a 4 days old. I'm no photog, but I will try to get more and better pics if this thread picks up some interest... Scramble in the foreground, Benny back left and Sunny back right.
Individual pics, for all you chick lovers out there...
Benny, the Barred Rock
Scramble, the Ameracauna/Easter Egger
Sunny, the Buff Orpington