June 2, 2016 - Arrival Day!!!!
Babies arrived at 6am yesterday morning. All happy (ish) and seemingly healthy. As of "tuck in" time tonight, apprx 9:15pm EST, everyone is doing well. Little sillies still haven't seemed to figure out the broody cave on their own- only seem to remember it when I put them in it. I did make it much smaller and low to the ground as Blooie suggested. And they were more receptive to it but still don't much enter it on their own. Maybe they are just bird brains, I guess. Last night and tonight I went out at dark to find them all crammed in a corner together. Put them under heating pad mamma and all stayed under. Our nights are pretty warm right now (60-65) so maybe it's more security than that they might be cold? They were all fine and feisty this morning when I went out around 9am, so I am not too worried, just kind of curious about the behavior.
And OMG I AM IN LOVE!?! Two of the 17 have totally stolen me over! "Nugget" (as of 7/3/16 aka Runt aka Chicken Little) is a Speckled Sussex- she seems to be the smallest of the four SS & the only way other than her size and fearlessness that I can tell her from the others is by her eye markings. And my 'mystery bonus chick' from McMurray, who I am pretty certain is a Barred Rock - is a hot mess! "Rocket' reminds me of the Looney Tunes Roadrunner. Everywhere all the time!!! I am praying that Rocket is a pullet and not a roo....but I might just have to risk the urban neighbor's complaints if Rocket is a roo. Totally charmed!
June 16, 2016- chooks are about three weeks old:
Well, here's where this first time chickie mama stands and my observations/experiences:
-first of all, if you're thinking about getting chickens, you MUST check out BackYardChickens.com This website is the BOMB! Tons of info treasures, but more importantly, it's a community of long time Chicken Whisperers who are so so quick to answer questions and offer knowledge and advice!
-I received my 17 babies on Friday, June 3rd. Four each (from McMurray.com) Red Stars, White Wyandotte, Black Australorps and Speckled Sussex plus one mystery chick that I am hoping is a hen, but is probably a rooster, which will break my heart (no roos in town!)
- all arrived alive -despite being crammed into a 6x6x6 box, and are still alive, despite me being their primary caretaker.
- there is at least one screamer in every batch. And they are probably the bully. But imitating corrective 'pecks' from mama- that stuff right there, it works.In a hurry,
- all that stuff about brooding indoors under heat lamps- uh, no. Depends on climate and time of the year whether you need an extra heat source and for how long.
-holy WOW, 17 chicks eat A LOT of chicken food every day!
-which is why they grow SO fast! You can see the difference every morning.
- and if they are a hybrid breed that is bred to mature/lay early (Red Stars) they grow even faster!!!! The chick you check/feed/water at 6am will be like in human years, maybe 5-7 years older when you check/feed/water them 8-10 hours later.
- those little buggers can fly right past you and way further/higher than you can image at 3 weeks old. And a teeny-tiny chick flying at at your face because you're between it and the unexplored is just as scary as your 130 lb Rottweiler running at you full steam because he knows you have a treat on you.
-they fixate on ANYTHING that looks like a bug, including moles or freckles on your hands and/or arms. And those little pecks that were so, so cute when they were two days old? Well, they hurt like an anesthetized root canal now!
-it's all kinds of funny and wonderful to see them discover the joy of dust baths! And to watch the other ones try to figure out what the heck they are doing.
- it's not mange or some sort of chicken leprosy, those are feathers coming in. Yes, they do look like porcupine quills. Apparently it's totally normal. And now I know why they are called 'pin feathers'
- feather growing for chicks = puberty without Pro-Active for human adolescents. It ain't pretty
- poops and dusts. Lots. LOTS.
-new food/bugs/anything different equals complete pandemonium
- and last, I'm totally in love with these little feather brains!