We recently ordered some chicks, 7 Bantam Cochins, and 10 Polish chicks. Here are some of their photographs.
I never knew I could love chickens so much. It hit me some months ago, when I was out digging for earthworms together with my adult chickens, that I was wiling to go to new lengths for them, that I was really loving them. I was born a city girl, who hated/ and still hates worms, bugs, creepy crawlies, reptiles, insects, and I still squirm when I see snakes, lizards, and spiders. I hate touching dirty things, and I used to hate all kinds of worms too. But now I love it in the country, and who would have ever imagined, me, actually delighting in teaching my plymouth rocks, how to dig for earthworms when it just rained.
That was the moment of epiphany, I love my chickens so much that I was willing to dig in the dirt, touch earthworms and hold them out (albeit with gloves on) for my chickens to eat. They watch me scratch the ground with my garden tool, and learn by example. I was the mother hen, and I felt so proud when my plymouth rocks actually found worms digging with me.
One of my blue Cochin Bantam chicks. 3 days old.
My white Cochin bantam and the buff frizzle. 3 Days old.
I placed different branches in the brooder to teach the Cochin Bantam chicks to perch.
It has proven very useful, in teaching the young chicks
- how to perch
- feet/wings/body coordination
- how to balance
- to keep them occupied
- to keep their feet warm while perching
- to avoid bad behaviors such as feather pecking and bullying since they are occupiedWe have only 7 Cochin Bantams. In this pic, they are about 1 week old.
The chick brooder is actually a dog crate which I converted. I took the 2 halves apart, top and bottom and flipped them on the backs. It is made of plastic, and is durable and easy to clean. They are light, easy to move around, and have grilled sides, to act like windows. The chicks are brought up inside our house, and then moved out when they are ready. This is how we've done it for our earlier batch as well, and it helps them become strongly bonded to us and the Airedales since they see us all the time.
It is essential for our Airedales and chicks to get along, so right from the beginning, the dogs are trained to love and protect the chicks as part of our pack. The chicks learn to trust and love the dogs too. It is important for both species to co-exist since we want the chickens to free range as adults and for the dogs to be off leash at the same time. Some daily training with bonding practices work well for both species.
I start off right from the moment I pick up the chicks from the Post Office. I take the dogs with me in the car. They witness me taking the box with the day old chicks, and they hear them chirp and can smell them. The dogs are involved with inviting the chicks into our pack right from the beginning and this seems to help them understand better.
We get home, and I get ready to place the brand new chicks in the brooder. The dogs wait patiently by the box, and they know my procedure. I will introduce each single chick to them, allow them to sniff it in my hands, before I dip its beak into the water feeder and place it in the brooder.
2 Day old Polish chicks. We have 10 Polish chicks. They are so adorable.
Right from the get go, the chicks get accustomed to Rummy, my younger Airedale poking his muzzle into their brooder to get to know them. He absolutely loves all his chicks and is very protective of them, although he is the king of the Terriers and has made himself a reputation of killing mice and snakes in our yard. Amazingly, I have trained him to love all our chicks. He goes to their brooder on his own accord to spend time with them.
Now its been a few weeks since we've had the chicks, and now they are growing fast.
Rummy has found that he loves one particular blue Cochin, it has turned out to be a male, and the Cochin loves Rummy too. Their closeness is amazing to watch. Rummy allows this Cochin to climb all over him and they are very relaxed together.
Everyday, we do bonding exercises, handling the chicks and feeding them in the presence of the Airedales.
1 Week old Polish chicks with Kimi, the older Airedale (5yo)
A white crested black polish chick perches on Rummy's back
A gold laced Polish chick
Gentle Rummy relaxing with his chicks
Our Gold Laced Polish
More pics to come in future as our chicks grow