A Journey Through a Different Way - Funny Story Pg. 69

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ruth, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    8/16/09 Edited to add: I originally started this thread with the intention that it would be about raising chickens naturally and it did focus on that initially. But somewhere along the way it became more than that. It became my "Journey" thread. A journey filled with ups and downs, trials and tribulations, good and bad, laughter and tears. It's been a little more than a year of posts and the journey is still continuing. I thank all of those who have stopped by from time to time and encouraged me to stick to the journey no matter how tough it might be. I appreciate those who write and ask me for updates or tell me how much they enjoy reading this thread. I enjoy sharing my journey with all of you. The following is where the journey began..........

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    I've started this thread to keep updates on my newest batch of babies in hopes it may help others to "let go" a little bit. I raise my chicks as close to natural as possible which means getting them outside in fresh air and sunshine, though it may still be cold, as soon as they are about a week old and letting them free range as soon as possible. I know many of you don't agree but this is my fourth batch of chicks and not only have I never lost a chick but my hens don't fight or feather pick/eat one another, have never had an illness/disease, no egg bound or prolapse issues and I've never lost one to predators though I know that while free ranging that is a possibility.

    I'm posting a photo journal of the newest chicks - hatched Valentines Day from fertile eggs from DipsyDoodle. Pictures speak a thousand words and chickens were raised in the open from the dawn of time. They need to be able to scratch and forage and run and flap their wings and learn to adjust to heat and cold. So before you call the SPCA on me, take a look and follow them along. I'll post updates as they grow.

    Moved outside to Chick-N-Hutch. Day temps 70s but warm in sun - night temps 40s-50s. Have heat lamp for night and cover pen with blanket.


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    Rex takes his place on guard.

    By Day:

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    By Night:

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    Rigged up simple run in a sunny area where I can watch them from house - later they will be moved to coop/run area.


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    First hole - they were fasinated with it and dug/ate for hours

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    Must be doing something right - look at the size of these big boys at 2 weeks old - and feathering beautifully:

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    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011
  2. lacyloo

    lacyloo Cooped Up

    May 26, 2007
    north florida
    awww they are adorable with there little ugly feathers lol
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Ruth, that's is very telling, isn't it? Watching a broody raise chicks in much cooler temps than brooder temps tells me that they are tougher than we give them credit for. I watched my Sunny take her two chicks outside at 50 degrees at three days old for short periods. They thrived with her excellent mothering skills. The difference in mama and brooder is that when they are cold, they cheep and she covers them with her wings next to her body and she's always nearby. We keep temps in the brooder at constant temps because we aren't attuned to their chickie-signals like their mother. At least that's my theory. Thanks for the pics! Love your dog!
     
  4. Kaneke

    Kaneke Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have wondered if I couldn't rig up an "electric hen" ... heating pad rolled in a circle around a 2-liter pop bottle, then wrap many layers of fringe-cut fleece around it, similar to hen feathers, that the chicks could burrow into

    that certainly is how I watched chicks live when freeranging with mama-banty ... let the chicks decide when to snuggle, when to explore

    this assuming "reasonable" temperatures in the mid 50s to mid 60s ...
    Candy
     
  5. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Woodville, MS
    It's true that mama hens will start taking their babies around the farm, from the very beginning, regardless of weather and that they can get under her when they are cold. But they only do this for the first week or so - after that they are somewhat feathered and too big to get under mama or they would be carrying her around like a concert mosh-pit. [​IMG] I keep the heat lamp on at night and check on them constantly initially - at 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. to see how they are doing. If they are directly under light I lower it a little till they are staying just around light beam and not directly in it. Once I get the height of light adjusted I keep watch but usually don't have to do anything more than make sure they have a heat lamp source if they want it at night. All four batches have survived outside night temps of 40s and up with just a heat lamp in pen and no light in daytime sunshine. Actually the batch of Buff Orps, hatched in August, never saw a light in their lives - it was August in New Orleans. I was having to put a fan on them in the daytime and finally decided at one week old to let them out of their pen where they were panting and let them start running around large enclosed run. They began total free ranging at 3 weeks old running with the big girls.

    During the day - they actually stay under the pen, in the shade a lot to nap - after running around scratching and acting wild. The temps are mid 70s but it's really warm in the sunshine and they nap in the shade so again, going by what they do, if they were cold they would be huddled together in sunniest spot not spread out in shadiest spot.

    Like I said, I try to raise them as close to natural as possible. I haven't had a broody hen, or a rooster till now but I'm quite sure there are a number of roos in this batch of big beefies so I'm hoping that by next spring I'll have mama hens doing the work themselves.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2008
  6. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Well we had to move the pen inside the garage for the past two days and nights because it decided to snow and ice over here. I guess winter isn't going out peacefully. I kept a heat lamp on the chicks and they were just fine with the garage temp being low 50s.

    Did have a scare the other morning, before moving pen back in garage. It had stormed the night before so I got up at 1:00 a.m. and went and covered the pen with plastic. Checked on them again at 3:00 a.m. - heat light still one, chicks running around, blanket and plastic still on pen - rain had stopped. My husband told me next morning the blanket and plastic had blown off the pen and the pen was sitting there without any cover. Heat light was still on and guess what....chicks were fine but that scared me so we moved the pen under garage and into laundry room till weather warms up.

    Today, however, was pretty and warm again so we hauled the pen back outside and set it up in the little fenced run I had made and let them out. Boy they catch on fast. Every one, including my little crippled one, flew out of that pen so fast. They all spent the day running and scratching the grass in the warm sunshine and napping under the pen in the shade.

    At one point today I was sitting out there watching them when Rex suddenly started going crazy and barking and running, while looking up. I looked up and there were 6 hawks so close to my head, and the pen, that I thought for a moment they were going to swoop down on me. Rex chased them off and almost ran into a fence because he was so busy barking and looking up and following one as it flew off.

    Just before sunset every little chick marched back into hutch and went to sleep - a hard day playing came to an end.

    It really is amazing how much instinct they have and how at 3 weeks they act just like the ones that are almost a year old.
     
  7. amystours

    amystours Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 23, 2008
    Alexandria, Louisiana
    Quote:Thanks, now I'm not going to be able to get to sleep for an hour, I'm laughing so hard with this picture in my head!!!!
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  8. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Today's update:

    All the BRs are getting so big but I think this one is a black Ameracauna - I call him Mr. Longneck.

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    All are still staying outside in their Chick-N-Hutch and in their run during the day. Everyone seems to be having a great time.

    My little niece came to visit and had fun calling the big girls and gathering eggs. All of these hens have free ranged all along and the Buffs have never seen a heat lamp.

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    Finally I must be nuts cause I've got a bator full of Aracauna eggs and duck eggs.

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    But look what came in at the feed store today and I actually left without them and then went back to get them. A dozen RIR.

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    Well's that's today's update from the farm. It's residents are quickly increasing in number.
     
  9. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Today's updates:

    Well Mr. Longneck has become quite the chicken specimen and is now called The Eagle - not sure if it's a girl or boy but it does this wing thing and everyone, including the adults go running.

    Isn't it amazing - 6 weeks old.

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    I also have some week old mallards that started free ranging around run today with all the other birds including the three week old RIRs and BRs.

    Here are the mallards enjoying the watering bins and the younger chicks coming to check out the show:

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    Not to be idle - I hatched 6 rouens the other night and here they are eating out of my hands:

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    The "Yard" has become a busy place these days. We are using both picket fenced yards for the younger birds to free range. The day old roens and Araucanas just got moved to chick-n-hutch inside coop but everyone else gets to be let out each morning and run till dark. Everyone, including the three week olds come back at dusk and put themselves to bed. Here's the group I called the Itty Bitties coming back home and going to their pen to roost - I don't close the door anymore:

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    Everyone in The Yard is just one big happy family:

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  10. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I've always thought my chicks feather out better and faster when it's not so warm in the brooder. This winter because of space issues I've moved chicks out to the brooder in the coop when the night-time temps have been in the low 20's. They're protected from drafts and have a heat lamp.
     

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