Rossetti's HensMy name's Justin. I live in Cottonwood Heights in Utah, it's not that bad of a place. The city allows me up to 5 hens without a permit. I thought about building a full-blown coop, but I figured I'd start out with a tractor first, and build a coop later on if I get really motivated. I've been trying to convince my wife to let me get hens for about a year now. She finally relented, but she's not happy about it. Maybe as my chickies grow up and start producing eggs, she'll come over and see the light. She sure does like to watch them in their brooder and tease the dogs, who don't know what to make of them!
Anyways, my flock has three members (not counting all my other pets!): Jenny (a Welsummer) and Zoe and Babs (both Speckled Sussex). Here they are the day I brought them home:
1 Week Old:
Jenny is the one in the back, then Zoe (the lighter of the two sussex) and Babs underneath.
2 Weeks Old:
They grow fast! They have this game they like to play, where they'll tear up pieces of paper towel and run around the cage with the other two chickies chasing. It's pretty funny. They're getting pretty messy with the paper towels - they like to drop bits of paper towel in the water bowl until it's completely grody. Awesome!
Three Weeks Old (October 22, 2009)
Here's my sweet little girls at their 3 week old birthday.
They sure do get big fast. In fact, they're heavy enough now that they will tip over the food bowl in their brooder. I solved that problem by putting a magnet on the outside of the brooder so it holds the bowl in place, and that seems to have solved it for now. I'm almost done with their tractor, though I'm guessing they won't be ready to go out there until they're about 6-7 weeks old.
They're 3-and-a-half weeks old now (Oct 25, 2009) and they're starting to figure out the pecking order. As I suspected, my Welsummer is asserting herself as flock queen. It's pretty funny watching them all jump to face each other, then do nothing for a few seconds but STARE. Pretty awesome.
4 Weeks Old (October 29, 2009)
Well, they're 4 weeks old today. Earlier in the week I had a bit of a scare, when I came home from work and found Jenny kinda quiet and lethargic, and she's usually the most active out of the group. I figured out it was coccidiosis, they've never been medicated or anything, so I had to hurry and get some amprol and treat them. She seemed a lot better the next day, even before I fed them the medicine, but I wasn't gonna take any chances so, that's how I work, you know, always have a backup plan.
I stopped using paper towels, as you can see, and started using pine shavings. I couldn't find any 'large cut' shavings, so I was worried that they're get themselves sick by gobbling up all the little bits. As soon as I put them in, sure enough that's what they did, started pecking away and swallowing everything. But I think they figured out that it's not food, because they haven't done it since, and they really dig having the shavings in there, plus it absorbed the moisture in their poop better and faster than the old crappy paper towels, and looks nicer too. The only thing I am worried about right now is if they'll outgrow this brooder before it's time to send em out to live in their coop... Guess we'll see.
5 Weeks Old
Well, they're getting bigger. They grow too fast, so I decided to put them into a new brooder. It's about double the size of the old one.
I'm still on the fence about Jenny, she could be male or female, I just can't tell. She's growing slightly faster than the other two, and her comb is bigger and slightly redder, but there's no appreciable change in her spurs. Since she's a welsummer, and I don't have any other welsummers to compare with, I just don't know!
10 Weeks Old
Well, my three little pullets are now ten weeks old. Sorry, I don't have a photo at the moment to upload. They're starting to sound a lot more like chickens and less like chicks now, and they're really starting to grow up. Jenny might be Jimmy, I still haven't figured it out. Her comb is much more developed than the other birds, and she's a bit bigger, but has stopped acting so aggressively towards the others, and they all get along really well now.
Zoe and Babs are also well, but they're growing slower than Jenny. I'm not convinced now that Jenny is a welsummer, I think that's Babs, because Jenny's starting to get white speckle feathers, and so is Zoe, but Babs is a nice dark golden brown color, so I'm thinking she might be the welsummer.
Well, if Jenny turns out to be a male, I'll have to get rid of him, so I should know by January-February, in which case, I'll probably start looking for a couple of new chicks to bring into the flock.