I haven’t posted in a few weeks, and my summer posting has been a little sporadic. I’ve been a bit disheartened garden-wise, after the untimely deaths of GH&E and the temporary demise of my garden (picture a scene from The Secret Garden, before Mary Lennox and Dickon rescue the garden). But I’m slowly salvaging it, finding the wick plants, and ripping out everything else. And, as of this morning, I am once again a keeper of chickens. I made the (once again) impetuous decision to invest in some chickens. When I adopted GH&E, they were already a few months old. The new chickens are merely chicks – a little over a week old, very cute and very chirpy. The three of these as-yet nameless little nuggets are an Ameraucana, a Buff Orpington, and a Rhode Island Red.
I think this is a winning pullet trio of fairly standard chicken breeds. The Ameraucana breed lays blue to green eggs; the Buff Orpington is a large breed with a gentle disposition (Georgina Henrietta was a BO) that is generally a fairly consistent egg layer; and the Rhode Island Red (RIR) breed is known for being one of the best egg laying breeds.
I’m new at the baby chick thing, but here is what I’ve learned so far…
They poop everywhere. It’s amazing that they even eat enough food to produce that much poop. They need a clean, dry box to help prevent illness and disease. They need to be kept warm and have plenty of water and growing feed crumbles. And, most importantly, they are so undeniably cute. Initially, I had them in the house, but I think they (and I) are much happier with them in the garage. It’s a bit warmer out there, and temperature is very important. It’s handy to grab a heat/reflective lamp and either a heat bulb or a regular bulb in it. The rule of thumb for baby chicks is to keep their space at about 90*F for their first week, and then 5*F less for each week thereafter. (So for week two, they’d need a temperature around 85*F). It’s useful to have a thermometer in the bottom of the coop and adjust the angle and position of lamp.
A clear tupperware is easy to clean and makes it easy to see your baby chicks. They need to have a clean, dry floor. You can use news paper or kiln dried shavings. But the newspaper can be slippery for the babies to walk on (which can be dangerous for their delicate little legs), and the ink can get all over their feet. I put down a layer of news paper for the absorbency and easy-to-clean qualities, and then added a layer of shavings on top (make sure your chicks aren’t trying to munch on the shavings).
Very important: make sure they have plenty to eat and lots of clean water.
Cute, cute, cute. Excited to watch them grow.