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Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



So we've decided to get chickens for our backyard (me, husband, roommate and a friend who lives a block away). Landlord has approved it (he's a friend of ours and very laid back) and city regs say that we can have up to 6 hens of laying age as long as our lot is big enough (it is) and the coop is at least 25' from any house but our own (which rules out part of the yard but should be manageable).

We are of course already having disagreements over a few things.

The chickens will clearly need to be contained within a run at all times, as neighbors on two sides have dogs that would absolutely make short work of a chicken and our fence is old, incomplete and not more than 5 feet high in any spot. My husband and I would like to buy a coop or kit for a coop and just build the run ourselves. Our friend and our roommate want to build the whole thing, even though none of us have every built anything like a coop and our access to tools is limited.

Specifically we were considering this coop: http://www.amazon.com/Pawhut-Deluxe...9584276&sr=8-37

Any one have any thoughts on it or suggestions for better models? Links to plans that would be easy to build and would work well for 4-5 hens? Even though lumber is produced in great quantities near us, it's not especially cheap to buy here and I don't want to end up with something that wasn't much cheaper than a pre-built enclosure and is difficult for us to get into or clean. I also want to make sure it's warm enough and safe for the birds. Normally when our roommate does his half-assed building projects there aren't any living things at risk.

We are also somewhat divided about where to get the chicks from. I would kind of prefer hatchery chicks as I'd like to select the breeds and get known-sex chicks. The guys want to get chicks locally (because it would be faster/easier/local is always better!) There are folks with chicks available (semi)-locally but the sexes are unknown, breeds are mixed/unknown or not the ones I would want and most are far enough away that the cost of gas to get them will equal shipping. How well does getting hatchery chicks by mail work out? Recommendations on breeds for an area with a fairly cold winter (average highs near freezing, lows in the 20s, 40-60" of snow) and very mild summer (average highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s, 1-3 weeks a year with highs of 80-90 degrees)?

It's still pretty cold here right now, despite the ridiculously warm winter we've been having but we are planning to keep the chicks in a room in the basement until they are fully feathered, which I understand is around 10-12 weeks. We can heat the room initially when they arrive, and it will be easy to drop the temps in it over time as they get older so they can be slowly acclimated to outside conditions. Does that sound reasonable?

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Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



RabbitMage posted:

Shipping with MyPetChicken is expensive, but it's about equal to getting the minimum order from other hatcheries.

If you have a feed store nearby they often have chicks and know the sex and breed-try calling around. Otherwise MyPetChicken is worth a look.

A warm room isn't going to be enough. Chicks need a heat lamp-for the first week it should be about 95 degrees under the heat lamp. If you can heat a room to 95 degrees okay, but...it's probably better just to get the reflector and light for them.

We've settled on letting our roommate attempt to build the coop himself but if it sucks we'll just buy one from somewhere.

The feed store nearest us doesn't have chicks and told us that the closest one that does is ~35 miles away. We called that one and they only have them sometimes (not now). Closest person selling chicks on craigslist is ~120 miles away. So it looks like we'll probably end up just going with hatchery chicks.

We do already have a heat lamp that should be suited to keeping the chicks warm enough for the first few weeks but will also be heating the room up warmer than we keep the rest of the house, since otherwise I think they would be cold in spite of the heat lamp.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



WrathofKhan posted:

If Rusty is stubbornly broody, the best thing to do might be to let her hatch some eggs. Otherwise, she may keep being broody, and get in pretty bad shape.

What do you do if it happens and you don't have a rooster? Do you have to buy fertilized eggs for the hen to hatch out?

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



So, we've got 10 chicks coming tomorrow. They are from Cackle Hatchery and shipped yesterday. Five are easter eggers and 5 are silver laced wyandottes. We went and picked up chicken supplies and I'm setting up the brooder tonight and I've got a question. Should we use medicated or unmedicated chick food?

If it makes a difference, we don't have any other chickens nearby and there have never been any in our yard before this. The birds will be inside in a basement room until they are ~10-12 weeks.


tokomon posted:

I've suggested that before. She's reluctant to have "some random stranger" take them to be used for cockfighting or whatever.
I'm tempted to list them without her knowledge while she's away because those poor hens need a break and it isn't fair to the roosters to be in that situation either.

The whole situation is really not fair to the animals. She should not buy unsexed chicks if she can't handle dealing with the males. It's just silly. Even moreso since she sees them as pets and should presumably care about their quality of life.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Chicks are here. Rusty is highly concerned.



Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Inveigle posted:

OMG! SO CUTE!!!! I don't suppose you have a webcam, do you?

Is Rusty a dog? Is that him looking over the edge of the box in the third photo?

You know...we do have a webcame for a computer that we don't use much. I might play around with setting something up if people like. It will be a bit of a pain though, since it's a desktop and I'll have to move it from upstairs to the basement. We'll see.

Rusty is our dog (golden retriever mix) and that is him looking over the edge of the box. He's completely unsure of how to handle the chicks. He follows me downstairs every time I check on them and whines as he looks at them. We've let him see a few up close and have used the leave it command to help establish not to mess with them. So far he's not interested in chasing them or anything, but just seems very confused by them. I left for about thirty minutes earlier and when I came home Rusty was sitting in the basement looking over the baby gate into the chick room (the room only has an old school accordion door, so he can poke it open a crack with his nose to watch them but the gate keeps him from being able to go in there unattended).

The chicks seem pretty happy. They are peeping softly, moving around the box to find food, and have found and used the feeder and waterer. The smaller ones (pretty sure they are the wyandottes, they all share the same pattern) are more inclined to huddle under the heat lamp, but they don't seem cold as long as they are under it.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Inveigle posted:

I find baby chick peeping to be rather soothing, but to a dog's more-sensitive ears the high-pitched peeping might be annoying or very very intruiging.

I'm glad that Rusty the dog is only confused as opposed to hostile or hungry. Perhaps he'll end up "adopting" the chicks and become their big brother. Be careful though, it's kind of instinctual for a retriever to pick up birds in his mouth. On the positive side, retrievers do tend to have a light touch since they're supposed to just retrieve birds and not chew them up.

I don't think the noise upsets him, he's just not sure what it means/how to handle it. I suspect he has conflicted feelings about them. Part of him probably does want to eat them (or at least play with them like a squeaky ball) and the other part knows from our interactions with them that they are "things not to be touched without permission".

We've let him sniff a few up close and he gets really nervous and shies away from them. He also runs down to the basement to watch through the crack in the door any time we leave. Doesn't make any effort to get over the gate (he couldn't even if he tried), just watches. Our roommate says it's pretty cute. He hasn't made any kind of aggressive move so far and I doubt he will. He's very cat and small animal safe. He also does have a very soft mouth and won't even bite into treats or food that falls on the floor without permission.

c355n4 posted:

That is wild that they ship them like that. Could you hear them peeping when you got the box? I guess the packing straw keeps them warm?

It was actually an outer box with a bunch of packing straw, with an internal box with the chicks in it (and more packing straw, 2nd pic). Since we only bought 10 chicks they put a heat pack under the inside box to keep them warm. I think with larger orders (25+ chicks) they just rely on the chicks keeping each other warm.

And yeah, I could hear them peeping while I walked home with the box

In other news, it got too cold in the room overnight (~85 under their light instead of 95) so I had to go trade the 100W bulb out for a 150W this morning first thing. With the new one set up the temps are good. They are all eating and drinking well, but about half had crusty butts that I had to clean this morning.

Two indignant chicks that just had their butts cleaned:




Sleepy chicks:



And here is a short video of the chicks doing nothing particularly exciting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYDjWrS16CI

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Only one crusty butt this morning!

I spent some time yesterday blocking off the door to outside in the chick room to reduce drafts. With that and the new heat bulb temps have stabilized and the chicks seem really happy. They are all eating and drinking and look great! We've noticed one or two that are a bit more prone to pecking at their buddies than the others, but no one is a bully so far.

I can't believe how quickly they change. Their wing feathers are already replacing the down in a noticeable way since I brought them home. My husband and I are going on our honeymoon next week and it's going to be crazy to see how much they grow while we are gone.

Does anyone have any feedback on the medicated vs. unmedicated food thing?

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



I think I'm going to go ahead and put them on it for the first few weeks, since I'm going to be out of town next week and leaving the chicks in the care of a couple of our friends. I trust them to watch them, but am not sure they would notice as quickly as I would if the chicks started to get sick.

All in all I think we've got a pretty low-risk situation though. No adult chickens, brooder is made out of brand new boxes, it's still quite cool here and is almost never humid, and I'm planning to keep the sanitation up to snuff. They will still have plenty of time to build immunity after I get back in town.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Chicks are a week old today! They have little tail feathers coming in and their wings are about half feathered now. They've also gone from eating one jar worth of food in three days to a jar in less than 24 hours!

They are still pretty skittish about being picked up, probably because I had to wash most of their butts during the first couple of days. Working on getting them more comfortable with handling now. Also going to try to bring them upstairs where there is more light and get individual shots of each of them today.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



LordOfThePants posted:

How much water did they drink the first week? I'm worried mine aren't drinking enough. They go through about a pint a day for 12 chicks.

We have well water and a water softener, so I'm worried they may not like the taste of the water and may not be drinking enough.

I have Buff Orpingtons and Barred Rocks - the Rocks are much more tolerant of being caught and handled. The Buffs are really skittish.

They drank almost an undetectable amount of water. I just didn't worry about it and assumed if they were behaving like they were pretty happy then they were fine. I saw them drinking plenty, so I knew it was happening, but it wasn't enough to make the water level drop before I needed to clean it out because of them getting shavings in it.

Now they are up to drinking a little over 1 pint a day.

My SLW are much more skittish than my Easter Eggers. They are all still unhappy about being picked up though.

Funny story from today: I gave them a grape as a treat. Just one, cut into a lot of little pieces. This is the second time, they got another grape the other day, which it took them about an hour to figure out was actual food. This time, I set it down (on a paper plate) and they ignored it because they were all sleeping. They continued to sleep for about another 10 minutes, pointedly ignoring the plate of food. All the sudden one got up and picked up one piece of grape. At which point all the others woke up immediately and took off after the chick with the piece of grape. Leaving ~15 pieces of grape sitting on the plate untouched. This process continued for the next 10 minutes. It is the most active I've ever seen them and was also hilarious. Next time I'll try to catch it on video.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



All right, here are the pics! They are currently 8 days old.

Easter Egger 1 (who took a poo poo as soon as I put it on the table):


Easter Egger 2:


Easter Egger 3:


Easter Egger 4:


Easter Egger 5:


Silver Laced Wyandotte 1:


Silver Laced Wyandotte 2:



Silver Laced Wyandotte 3:



Silver Laced Wyandotte 4:


Silver Laced Wyandotte 5:


Chicken Butt:


10-pack:


Chicks in a box:


For reference, this is at ~5 days old:


And this is the day they got to us (3 days old):

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Inveigle posted:

Do all the Easter Eggers have puffy cheeks? I burst out laughing at photo one with the little poop mountain.

Yup. The last two I think have the puffiest, but they all have super cute puffy cheeks.

The pooping is pretty hilarious because I was photographing them on top of the pool table (only place with enough light) which my husband did NOT approve of. Because he was sure they would poop all over it. And what does the very first chick I put up on the table do right away? That's right. In the end more than half pooped while having their pics taken actually. Good thing I covered the pool table with a sleeping bag.

quote:

The Silver Laced Wyandottes are really pretty. Why does the 2nd one look like it has a huge beak?

I still find them really hard to tell apart. I can tell the darkest (number 4, which our friend has decided is named Matilda) and the lighest (5), but the others all look the same to me. I think the second one just has a lighter beak that I took a closer photo of than the others.

quote:

Wow! I can't believe they are already growing feathers! Thanks for sharing your photos!

It's crazy how fast they grow. They are also starting to figure out that they have wings now. They flap while they run across the brooder (I've got them in a 4'x4' brooder so they have a lot of room) but don't get off the ground yet. They also flap when they jump out of my hands and can slow down their fall now (granted they are only dropping a few inches).

Glad you like the pics!

They are starting to develop individual personalities and I can tell it's gonna be really hard to decide which ones we keep (4-6 of them) and which we sell!

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



c355n4 posted:

Surprised you didn't have to chicken wrangle to get those pics. They seem so well behaved.

Well, those were only a few of many pictures. There was a fair bit of wrangling going on between shots.

I think they were confused enough to stay relatively still though.

It got up to almost 65 degrees outside today and was beautiful and sunny, so I took the chicks out in the backyard for the first time. They got to spend about 45 min in a little enclosure I set up and seemed to enjoy it quite a bit.



Rusty letting me know he does not approve of this situation

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



marauderthirty posted:

Oh wow, I didn't know you could take them out that early at that temperature. It's been about the same here, with forecasts in the 70's this week, so maybe I'll take them out sometime. It looks like yours are only a week or two old, and ours will be 3 weeks old tomorrow, so guess they're ready for some sunshine!

They were ~1.5 weeks. No one told me they could go out and I couldn't really find any specific info on it, but they've been spending plenty of time in the colder portions of their brooder, which is only 70 degrees, so I decided it wasn't a huge risk.

I made sure they were in the sun, and used some glass panels to set up the enclosure outside so that there were no drafts. They seemed totally happy and did not act cold at all, nor have there been any ill effects since then!

I'm no looking forward to mine getting to the giant poo poo stage. Right now they don't dirty up the brooder very quickly at all. I really only have to clean the corner by the food and the light every day.

I built a lid the other day for the brooder from hardware cloth and pieces of wood our landlord left in the garage (he's a friend of ours and we've got permission to use stuff like that). Would have been a nightmare had I not also found a staple gun in there. With the staple gun it became a 1 hour project. Now I don't have to worry about them figuring out how to escape while we are out of town.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Wrath of khan that sucks about your hens eating eggs. I hope none of the others had learned from them.

Hey santa baby, I'm not sure if there is anything to it but I saw a recommendation to only give them eggshells that have been cooked our washed so that they smell different than when they come out of the hen. On the surface at least it sounds reasonable.

Home from our trip and the chicks are huge! Pics of them at two weeks old tomorrow when I get some time. They have officially hit the awkward looking stage. When does it end?

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Two week old pics! (really 2 weeks 2 days)

First, chicks in a box.
Last week (10 chicks in box, room for at least 3 more):

This week (8 chicks in the box before I ran out of room):


Did my best to match them up with the pics from last week. I'm pretty sure I can tell them all apart except for the two brown Easter Eggers.

Easter Egger 1:


Easter Egger 2 (because at least one needed to take a poo poo during the photos):


Easter Egger 3:


Easter Egger 4:


Easter Egger 5:


Silver Laced Wyandotte 1:


Silver Laced Wyandotte 2:


Silver Laced Wyandotte 3:


Silver Laced Wyandotte 4:


Silver Laced Wyandotte 5:


And one overhead shot to show how their feathers are coming in:


They are now attempting to fly over the sides of the brooder if I leave the lid off long enough. They can't quite get it yet (sides are about 18" high).

They got mealworms for the first time today and it only took about 10 minutes or so of us feeding those to them for even the shy ones to go from running away from our hands to running toward them. They are also up to almost 2 quart jars full of food a day.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Anyone have any experience with nipple based watering systems for chickens? I'm already seriously annoyed at how quickly they toss ridiculous amounts of shavings into the waterer.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



kreayshawns talent posted:

My friend (let's face it) impulse bought her chicks at a farm supply store. I'm guessing they come from the same hatcheries that supply factory farms.

I'd definitely stick to adopting from craigslist. You'll probably get healthier animals too.

Sorry, gonna have to agree with Peas and Rice here. The cute little chicks you see in my post? The ones that all survived being shipped none the worse for wear, are learning to come running to my hand for treats, and are growing like weeds. They come from the same hatchery that provides most Tractor Supply Company stores (and a great many other feed stores) with chicks. They are quite healthy and this is pretty much normal for hatchery supplied chicks. Whether the stores take good care of them once they get them is another issue entirely.

Lots of places have laws in place requiring that you purchase at least 3-6 chicks when you buy from a feed store to discourage impulse buys (because most impulse buyers only want a chick or two). I'm sure it doesn't completely eliminate that issue, but this sort of thing does help. And I don't think that hatchery chicks are innately less healthy than craigslist birds. At least in part because you can always go research how chicks other people have bought from hatcheries did, not possible with a craigslist seller.

The biggest thing with getting a hatchery bird is that it may or may not adhere well to breed specifications. For most backyard keepers this is pretty much a non-issue, since they are not looking to show the birds.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Thanks for the feedback about the chicken nipples. I've got a few on order and they should get here tomorrow or thursday. Then I can build a new waterer and hopefully quit having to deal with all the shavings getting in.

Are some breeds of chicken more inclined toward roosting than others? We gave them a place to roost a few days ago and only the SLWs seem interested. The Easter Eggers just hang out and sleep on the floor. The SLWs also seem much more interested in what lies beyond the brooder, and are much more committed to attempting to fly out of it whenever the lid is off.

Also, should I be worried at all that they ate a bit less today than over the last few days? Like ~20% less than usual. I just gave them a treat and they were all still going crazy to get some, and they are drinking and behaving as normal.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



My chicks are 4 weeks old today! I think we'll be waiting until about 6-8 weeks to move them outside. The weather here kind of sucks during the spring (raining and 30's-40's every day) so I don't really want to put them outside early.

Roommate has almost finished building the coop, and just needs to get the stuff for the run. We won't be setting it up outside until about a week before we move them outside though. I've also been able to turn the space heater in the room the chicks are in off completely, so it's down to ~65 in there and ~75 under their lamp. They don't seem to spend much time under the lamp anymore, even with the lower temps.

I did take 3 week old pics of them last Friday, but will probably wait to put them up until we do the 4 week old pics this week. They are huge though, and finally starting to get individual personalities along with their feathers. I've got to say, I don't think the Easter Eggers are very bright. The Wyandottes seem like geniuses in comparison to the EEs.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



My chicks are a month old now! Here are pics of them at 3 weeks and 4 weeks.

Easter Egger 1:


Easter Egger 2:


Easter Egger 3:


Easter Egger 4 (AKA Spaz Chicken):


Easter Egger 5 (AKA Chloebelle):


Wyandotte 1:


Wyandotte 2:


Wyandotte 3 (AKA Short Tail). Does this one look male to anyone?:


Wyandotte 4:


Wyandotte 5:


Chicks in a box at 3 weeks:


Same box at 4 weeks:


Rusty watching the chicks on their second time outside last week:


And this one is just funny:


This is the last update with all 10 chicks. I sold 4 of them (EE 4, SLWs 1, 5, and I think 2) today. Two more will go to a friend, but probably not until they are at least 8 weeks. We are keeping EEs 1 and 5 and at least one of the remaining 2 Wyandottes.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



WrathofKhan posted:

Short Tail looks pretty rooish to me. Its hard to be sure at this age, but the redness of the comb, the pointy feathers on the neck and the shortness of the tail feathers all make me think that he's a cockerel.

I'm not too worried, since I'm pretty sure I can talk my friend into taking Short Tail if it does turn out to be a roo (she lives outside the city and far from any neighbors and doesn't have a roo yet). At what age will I likely be able to tell for sure though?

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



This is the kind of thing that makes me glad our landlord is a friend of ours and also one of the most laid-back human beings on the planet. Also, he knows the lady behind us is a nutter and doesn't mind telling her off if need be.

That sucks about your chicks marauderthirty. People who complain about poo poo that isn't even causing them any issues suck.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Chicks are 5 weeks old! The facial feathers on EE 1 are really starting to fill out. They have also all figured out how to drink water out of the chicken nipple waterer I made, so no more nasty water bottle to deal with!

Easter Egger 1 (keeping this one):



Easter Egger 2:


Easter Egger 3:


Easter Egger 5 (keeping this one):


Silver Laced Wyandotte 3 (becoming more and more sure this one is male, it's probably going to our friend):


Silver Laced Wyandotte 4 (keeping this one):


Here's one of the two Wyandottes next to each other in the box:


And all 6 chicks together in the box:


Our friends are taking their two next weekend. SLW3 and either EE2 or EE3. Then I'll just be left with our 4. The coop moved outside today and we priced out materials to build the run. Should be putting it together in the next week or so, then we'll be moving them outside. Really happy with how well they are all doing, all seem happy and healthy and they are growing like weeds.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Well, I'm down to the final 4 chicks now (3 easter eggers and one silver laced wyandotte) and they moved outside today. They just have a small run right now (4'x4', same size as their brooder) outside the coop, but it will be expanded in the next couple of weeks so that they have more like 12'x4' to use. They are 6 1/2 weeks old. I've been keeping the door to their basement room open for 12-16 hours a day for the last week and half and they've been handling the temps fine.

I took the 2 extras out to our friend's house in the country (one of the easter eggers and the roo-ish SLW). She's decided she'd be happy to have a rooster if it does turn out to be one, in which case he'll have 6 hens all to himself.

Pics hopefully sometime later in the week when we've got the run in a more finalized state.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



I've seen people suggest keeping a small stuffed animal in with a lone chick. It's cheap and worth a try maybe?

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



My chicks are 2 months old now! They've been living outside for two weeks and have handled temps from ~80 down to near freezing. They don't look like chicks anymore, though they still sound like them most of the time (unless they are pissed at me, then they make grown up chicken noises).

Easter Egger 1:



Easter Egger 3:



Easter Egger 5:



Silver Laced Wyandotte 4:



Being held for an idea of the change in size:

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



jenelle posted:

That's a handsome looking bird! I love the beard

I do wonder how long it takes for their adult voices to start working. Yours are a month ahead of mine so I get a preview. Did they have any trouble going outside in the cold?

Yeah, the beards are super cute. That one was the only chicken that would stay still outside (the others all ran back to the outside of their coop).

By 5 weeks they were making the occasional chicken noise. Now they seem to make chicken noises about 30% of the time and chick peeping the rest of the time. Not sure what age they will stop making chick noises.

They've done great with the cold. The first couple of weeks they were out it was 60s during the day and upper 40s at night, with one weekend of really warm temps. They've dealt with rain and wind and last night temps got near freezing and they still did fine. The first night I had to lock them in the coop because they were confused and tried to sleep in the corner of the run. After that they started putting themselves to bed as soon as it started to get dark and coming out into the run as soon as it got light in the morning. The only other night I've locked up the coop so far was last night (because it was colder than usual). They were pretty fully feathered by the time I put them out at 6 weeks though, which might vary some depending on breed. I'd been dropping the temps in the basement room they were in for a couple of weeks before they moved outside, and leaving the door to the outside open most of the day for the last week to prepare them.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



As much as I enjoy my chickens, they won't be getting vet care. If they get too sick for me to think I can take care of it myself I will euth them. We got them ultimately as "utility animals" (not really farm animals, since we don't have a farm), not pets. By the same token I won't have a problem rehoming them for cash on craigslist if we need to move to a place that won't allow them at some point in the future. I don't think either view is a problem (pet vs. farm/utility animal) as long as you know which one you are doing and prepare for that (set money aside for the vet or mentally keep some distance so you don't get too attached).

In a lighter note: My chicks figured out where the nest boxes are in the coop today! I know they've never found them before this as there was never any poop in them. The boxes are up in the top portion of the coop and I don't think they ever figured out there was an "up" in the coop before today.

Also, my Wyandottes are seriously WAY bolder/smarter than my Easter Eggers. They catch on much faster when I'm offering yummy stuff, are much more willing to approach, and started figuring out when the lid was off the brooder and they could attempt to get out about a week before the Easter Eggers did. I thought as they got older it would even out, but even now the one Wyandotte I kept is still way more outgoing than the three Easter Eggers.

We found out this past weekend that the one neighbor we were a bit worried about giving up crap over the chickens is actually totally cool with us having them! So that's awesome.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



This morning there was a little bird collecting all the loose chicken feathers to take home for a nest. It was super cute!

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



A couple of my chickens went to live outside with a friend (and their flock of adult chickens) at 6 weeks. They were more or less fully feathered by then and I'd had them dealing with outside temps (highs in the 50s-60s and lows in the 40s) for a few days before then. They were a little traumatized by my friends rear end in a top hat dog when they first got there, but they've been there for 3 weeks now and have settled in fine. They didn't get picked on or anything (except by the dog, who keeps trying to hump them).

Their chickens are all free range on a pretty large chunk of property though, so there is a lot of space for them to get away from each other. You probably want them to be a bit older if they are in a more restricted area.

A couple weeks ago I put a list of foods the chicks can't have and informed everyone that pretty much anything not on the list can be fed to the chickens. Everyone is having great fun offering them bits of new foods and leftovers. It's also making the chicks a lot more chill about us approaching them and going into their pen.

My roommate has been brewing and gave the chicks the spent grain yesterday and they were absolutely loving it. I think that may be their favorite food so far besides mealworms.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Remember Short Tail?


Short Tail went off to live with a friend of mine at 6 weeks old (a month ago now). We were still not sure if it was a male or female at that point, but were leaning toward male.

Here is Short Tail today (sorry I wasn't able to get more pics):


He's also at least 2 inches taller than the Easter Egger I gave them, which is impressive considering that all the SLWs were always smaller than all the Easter Eggers and the SLW I kept is still smaller than all of the Easter Eggers.

I think he looks pretty roo-ish. What do you all think? They are currently 10 weeks old.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Ceridwen posted:

Remember Short Tail?


Short Tail went off to live with a friend of mine at 6 weeks old (a month ago now). We were still not sure if it was a male or female at that point, but were leaning toward male.

Here is Short Tail today (sorry I wasn't able to get more pics):


He's also at least 2 inches taller than the Easter Egger I gave them, which is impressive considering that all the SLWs were always smaller than all the Easter Eggers and the SLW I kept is still smaller than all of the Easter Eggers.

I think he looks pretty roo-ish. What do you all think? They are currently 10 weeks old.

This little dude started crowing this week. So he's now confirmed as a roo! I think we'll be going out to visit our friend's farm sometime in the next week, so I'll try to get a few more pics of him. Can't wait to see how he fills out.

My chicks will be 16 weeks next Wednesday. They've fully transitioned to their "grown up" chicken voices at this point and no longer cheep. Hoping we start to see eggs before too long.

One question: I've got enough Start and Grow feed to last for another 2-4 weeks. I've seen recommendations of switching them to layer feed anywhere between 16 and 20 weeks, so I should be pretty much timing things right. But should I start to supplement them with calcium if they start laying before I run out of the grower feed?

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



This morning my husband woke me up wanting to know what was wrong with our chickens, because they were making all kinds of racket at 6am.

I go down to investigate and they are having some kind of argument with two squirrels in the nearby tree. Seriously. I just sat there and stared at the chickens and the squirrels for ~2 min and they slowly both quieted down. Went back inside and they did not make any more noise for the rest of the morning. WTF chickens?

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Chido, I'm so sorry about Spaghetti. You gave her a good life and I'm sure she appreciated it. I know what you mean about it hitting you hard even though you knew she wasn't going to live as long as your other chickens. I had a cat with congenital problems that I always knew wasn't going to live as long as a normal cat, but when I had to put him to sleep at 5 years old it still hit me hard.

What kind of heat should I expect my chickens to be able to handle before I should worry about them? It hit 90 or so today and they were clearly unhappy about it. And it's going to be mid 90's for the rest of the week. Their run is well shaded by a nice old apple tree and they've got plenty of water but they were panting for much of the day (though otherwise acting normally). Is that just a normal cooling off strategy like it is for dogs?

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



Tim the Enchanter posted:

Birds should be good up to 100 degrees.

Thanks. Mine are 3 easter eggers and a wyandotte and they haven't actually started laying yet (they are 4.5 months old). I do want to make sure they aren't in danger, but I don't want to do anything I'm not going to be able to reliably keep up with if they don't really need it, since I want them to be able to adjust as much as possible on their own. I do notice that they are doing better with the heat now than when things first started warming up. The first day it was over 80 they were panting a bit, but now they aren't panting until it gets closer to 90.

The floor of the run will only stay wet for about an hour at a time so I'm not sure how helpful that will be and ice cubes in the water isn't an option with the current watering setup (the opening isn't large enough). Not to mention that we don't have an icemaker so between giving some to the dogs and using it for ourselves (we don't have AC in the house so the hot weather is tons of fun) the ice cube supply tends to be a bit low here when it gets hot out.

I did design a new waterer that we put together yesterday and should be able to start using within the next couple of days once the seals are completely dry. It's big enough that I will be able to put 1/2 gallon containers full of ice in it to keep it cool and those should last for most of the day and be easy to trade out as needed.

If we start getting closer to 100 or they show signs of distress other than panting (right now they are still eating and acting fine) I'll take more drastic measures like spraying them down.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



coyo7e posted:

The chickens probably caught the squirrels in their feed, especially if you have a rooster, he probably started it when he caught the squirrels in the coop.

Pretty certain the squirrels can't get into the feeders because the run is fully enclosed. And it hasn't happened again and I can't imagine the squirrels giving up an easy source of food like that if they could get to it.

We don't have a roo either. They aren't allowed within city limits.

Squirrels are definitely assholes though. Last year we had sunflowers and the squirrels waited until the day after each one opened and chewed the flower off. Then ate ~1/4-1/3 of each one flower and left the rest to rot.

Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



My ladies are looking very grown up now! They'll be 20 weeks this Wednesday. No eggs yet but I'm hoping we get some soon.

Lucille:


Maeby:


Beatrice:


Chloebelle:

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Ceridwen
Dec 11, 2004
Of course... If the Jell-O gets moldy, the whole thing should be set aflame.



First egg! I think it came from Maeby but I'm not 100% sure.


Next to one from the grocery store:


And the contents, with both a grocery store egg and one from a friend's farm for comparison:


Can't wait for more!

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