February 18, 2011

got raw milk?

Another fuzzy butt shot - just because.

Growing wing feathers!

The new girls are looking good . . . finally. They're growing wing feathers, sprouting tail feathers and becoming more independent. For a February batch of chicks, these girls are doing amazingly well.

The first night and day #2 seemed a bit hairy as we scrambled to get the temperature just right for them. As I mentioned, we're using an old coop as a makeshift brooder space and it leaves much to be desired. Really, it works just fine but there are still a few frustrations. All of these experiences are giving us much needed insight into what our dream brooder will be like someday.

I was a nervous wreck those first few days and lost quite a bit of sleep. I felt like an exhausted new mother. We started losing a few chicks by the second day and strangely, they were all red chicks. We ordered several different breeds and 2 of the breeds are red, so we weren't sure which was which. It sucks to lose even one chick but the good news in this case is that it meant that the problem resulted from the hatchery and wasn't anything we were doing wrong. I alerted the hatchery to give them a heads up in case they start hearing from other folks with the same problem.

I think the rest of the red girls are all on the mend and just to be on the safe side, and at the advice of our trusted poultry nutrition expert (you rock, Uncle Jeff!), we're giving the flock a few health boosters. Some warm raw milk provides good probiotics and besides, chicks dig it. You know, 75-80% of your immunity comes from your gut so a healthy gut is a healthy bird (that goes for humans too!). We're offering some garlic water as well, separately, which acts as a natural antibiotic.

Aside from their first 2 days, we really couldn't have been luckier with the weather. It's been so warm the chicks are comfortably exploring outside of their heated area and we've been able to turn some heat lights off. We know these temps wont last forever but by the time they begin to drop again, the girls will be better able to handle it.

Now, if we could just figure out what we're going to do when all these girls start to outgrow this space . . .

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