Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chicken Littles

King of the roost. I had to move the feeders and waterers back away from the cardboard brooder guard to keep this one in. The girls named him/her Mercutio, yes we've got a high school student reading Romeo and Juliet. I've named the little Batam that I found on his/her back Wee-Man because he's/she's kind of a runt. He/she's still going strong though. Delayed development but it's eating and drinking away. And we have a Houdini that some how escaped to the other side of the brooder guard, thank god it was just for the afternoon. I become accustomed to counting the chicks now just in case.

This little one is trying to get to the heater some how. It's too funny to watch and now the rare breed chick is doing it too. Haven't been able to snag a photo of it yet, but we'll see if I can. Some of the chicks have feathers coming in everywhere!

Since it's the start of their 3rd week we've turned the heater down to 85F. But it fluctuates between 90F and 85F.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bath day for the girls.

I put on a ruddy old T-shirt and I took the girls out one by one, bringing them into the house and bathing them. After they were finished I placing them in dog crates. The Omlet website has a great section in the "guide" as to how to bathe your birds.

Victoria went first, then Penelope and finally Sylvia. They weren't so keen on the idea. I think they liked the warm water rinse the most of the whole experience. Although, Victoria surprisingly enough stood in front of the hair dryer (on low so as not to damage their feathers) and when I'd move it around I swear she was posing. Sylvia was the most unhappy about being wet and held in the sink she tried to escape and managed to scratch me on the arm. Victoria didn't mind so much and Penelope wasn't sure what to make of the whole thing. I fed them some treats after the traumatic experience to ease their stress and they gobbled them up.

I made sure that they were completely dry (even felt under their wings just to be sure). They spent a good part of the day in the dog crates and I gave them some food and water. Needless to say we didn't have eggs for two days because of the stress of the experience. Or they were just mad and getting even!

It's been super sunny this last week and a half and no snow so we've pulled back the winter shade and let the girls have full sun all day. We've been getting 3 egg days again so Penelope is laying again! Very exciting. Tonight it was snowing when I got home so I made sure to cover the run back up again, but tomorrow hopefully it will be nice again. The girls so enjoyed the breath of fresh air and the feeling of Spring coming (even though we're a good 2 months out). The yard has started to thaw a bit and the shed doors are no longer iced up. Yea!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Chicks Growing Fast!

It's been a busy week for us and I haven't been able to keep up with the blog. We lost the two sick chicks a couple of days ago. We had know idea what was wrong with them other than one had a bad eye and the other just wouldn't eat or drink for no reason in particular. It was very sad and we explained what was happening to the 6 year old and told her that they probably would not make it.

The other chicks are doing great however and I expanded the brooder using the cardboard ring from Murray McMurray hatchery. We've also turned down the heat from 95 degrees F to 90. I've stopped adding water to the pellet mix and they've finally started to eat the pellets dry, I did have to remove the lid to the feeder to get them to eat out of it. Now they're going crazy over it. The long feeder with the attached lid, they wont touch. There old enough now and steady enough on their feet that I don't have to worry about them getting stuck on their backs in the dish.

They have taken to jumping up and flapping their itty bitty wings about. The extra rare breed has taken to hopping up trying to attack the heater guard. They've also started to peck at the black lines and numbers on the thermometer. It's extremely funny to watch. Some of them have started to scratch and peck at the pictures in the newspaper. I tried wood shavings but they're still trying to eat it so I removed it since it's dangerous if they get it stuck in their crops and intestines. I've also been removing the poop off their buts when it gets stuck. All of us don't enjoy that process.

One of the Blue Cochins is doing a really funny thing I'm posting this video because you've got to see it he/she does it a couple of times at 1min 40 secs and at the end 2 min! He bumps around backwards on the floor!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

One's not doing so well

One of the Salmon Favorelles isn't eating or drinking. We found her upside down under the heat lamp. When I examined her she isn't having normal growth, she had an empty crop and one of her eyes is terribly swollen. I'm not sure what to do. I've posted on a couple of sites but no reply as of yet. I'm not sure if I should separate her out of the box with the other chicks but I only have one light to go around. I held her in a paper towel and using a zip lock baggie (since I don't have a feeding tube) I tried to force her to eat. You have to be really careful when you do this because they can aspirate really easily. She took some liquid but any mushy solids she kind of pushed away. Baby Parrots are much easier to hand feed because they almost beg for the food. They open up real wide and "take" the food bobbing there heads so the food goes down quicker to their crops. No such luck with a chicken. I've been using the "dropper" method of bringing her liquid to her beak with my finger and she drinks but she is not well. The eye is getting bigger and I've never seen anything like this. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. Can you take a 5 day old chick to the vet? Or should you let nature take it's course?

The extra rare breed chick that McMurray Hathcery sent us I think is a Old English Game fowl. Taken from McMurray website: They have their origins almost with the beginnings of history. With the outlawing of cockfighting in England, the Pit Game was bred for exhibition. Modern Games were developed from the Old English and have an extremely high station with a rather peculiar style and carriage as a result. Modern Games are dubbed (have their combs cut) as chicks when used for showing.

This is our chick. What do you think?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Growing Fast!

The chicks are growing so quickly and it's only been 2 days. They're runing around the box like crazy. Last night they slept so quietly with only a few chrirps here and there. And this morning they're back at it again peeping less then yesterday but still chirping away. They've been busy eating drinking and eating and pooping! Lots and lots of poop! I keep adding more paper towels down for a fresh clean surface. Still wetting down their food because they haven't seemed to take to the dry feed yet. Checking on them every half hour or so now except when we're and they're sleeping. One of the darker striped Bantams got stuck upside down for I can guess a while, and was quite cold and limp when I got to him/her. I was so freaked out and scared but my old veterinary technician days kicked in! I wrapped him/her in a wash cloth and I held him under the heat lamp stroking it's back to stimulate it and used my finger to drip the electrolyte water on it's beak to get him to drink. He/she took the water and I did this for at least 15 minutes almost burning my hand! But it seemed to work and I placed him/her back under the lamp when the body temperature came back up and after a while (which seemed like hours) of watching and waiting and finally after having to walk away and return 30 mins later he/she was up and eating and drinking by himself. What a relief! It's scary sometimes when I go to check in on them and they're lying down sleeping but it looks as if they may be dead. But I watch for awhile and they're breathing. Such a new mom I am.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


After working really late last night, 8:30am came really early this morning! Our wonderful neighborhood postal officer called me and when I slept through the call, she came to my house! She had let the driver know that they were coming and he called her to let her know that they would be there at 7am. I'll be baking some cookies for both of them and giving them some eggs!

I was so surprised to see how small the box and the chicks were. They were all snuggled up together in the corner all pushing together like a rugby scrum. And they're peeping and cheeping away! I wrapped up the box up to protect them from draft and Linda gave me a mail sorting box to put the bundle in. I hurried to the warm car and drove them back to the house. Niko doesn't know what to make of them.

I had the box ready to go and warm with the heater, thermometer and I put paper towels on the bottom of the box to keep them from injuring themselves by sliding around. I dipped their beaks in the water before I let them go and they all found the corner again. I must have been sitting there for 3 hours just watching them. All 22 survived (they sent 1 extra rare breed). I'm a little dissapointed that they didn't have a successful hatch of the Partidge Cochins so we they sent 1 extra White Cochin Bantam instead.

The chicks have started to run around, a little wobbely on their feet like they were drunk! I swear that they are growing before my very eyes! The little ones opened their eyes and now they're all eating and drinking. I added some sugar to the their water along with the Quick Chick powder, full of electrolytes and vitamins and minerals to give the chicks a good start.

I gave them some food with warm water to mush it up a bit and they love it. I already see a pecking order being established and the Bantams might have to be seperated out from the rest since they're so tiny. We'll see how it goes!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Today's the Day!

I called Murray McMurray yesterday to find out if I'd be notified when the chicks were mailed to give me an ETA. She told me the chicks were scheduled for hatching today, Saturday and that they would be placed into the postal system today! We may get a call tomorrow from the Post office to pick them up. I thought it was strange for a Sunday pick up at the Post Office, but I guess with live chicks they make exceptions. We picked up a bag of Start and Grow from the co-op today as well as a long plastic chick feeder and a couple of new waterers! Tonight we're going to set up the brooder to regulate the temperature and get it nice a toasty in the laundry room for the chicks. Wish us luck for a successful clutch.

On a warmer note:

The girls have gotten some extra special attention lately. We've had two warmer (27-32F) days with bright high altitude sunshine! FINALLY! I strong-armed the girls out of their run to sit in the sun for awhile. They were not happy standing on the hard pack snow and at the first chance they had they scooted back into the run behind my back! Tricky birds! Next time I'll try putting a towel down on the snow. I also pulled the run cover off and aired out their space all day letting the long awaited sunshine in. I replaced their wood chips and replaced the straw in the nest area (my girls are very funny, they like to scratch all the straw out of the eglu). Today after returning from the co-op and the dog park, I coaxed them out of the run with some organic sweet 100's tomatoes, they would come out, grab the tomato and run back in. Penelope wouldn't even come out, she'd just chase Victoria (my alpha hen) around and eat up all the seeds that were squirting out in Victoria's panic of losing her tomato. I swear Victoria was growling. Sylvia I thought was second in the pecking order but now I'm not so sure. I'm going to bathe the girls, I was hoping to do this before the chicks came but that's not going to happen now. I guess I'll wait for the next bright warm day. Or maybe the girls will have a night inside in a pet carrier.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cave in!

Well, we had a little scare the other day, i guess the weight of the snow on the run started to collapse the run! We knocked the 3 feet of snow off and it popped right back into place. I guess we figured it would just continue to hold but I think we were pressing our luck with letting it get that far. Yikes! The girls refuse to come out of the run even for treats. I'll have to send the people at Omlet a picture of the eglu (igloo more like!) It's too funny. Everytime I open the eglu to collect eggs, I'm so surprised how warm it is in there. Tonight it was 2 degrees F outside. We checked on the girls when we got home (super late from making chocolate truffles for a benefit) and the girls were snuggled together, poofed up in the feather coats and it was warm in there. I was so worried about the winter but they're doing great and we've had a hell of a winter let me tell you! The snow hasen't stopped, we've had 19 feet fallen so far, it's really ridiculous. Global warming's extreme weather is in full effect here in Colorado. Niko our Akita Rottie mix is in heaven!

Next week our chicks arrive and I spoke to the Post Office yesterday to let them know they were coming and gave them my cell number to call when they arrive, I think they're excited too. 5 Salmon Faverolles and a mixed bag of Cochins, blue, buff, black and I think white. I was talking to a neighbor about taking some chicks to thin the flock but maybe I'll keep them till they get a little bigger. We're all set up and ready to go. We've decided on putting the chicks in the laundry room because it's the warmest room in the house right now and it has a window with indirect light. I can't wait.