Monday, October 15, 2012

Adding young ones to an older crew.

 This baby was one of the lucky chicks I happened to find wandering in the yard.  Hatched by one of my "missing" hens.  Her hatch mate was eaten by the flock :(  I know!  Very sad, but it's the life of a chicken.  In fact I had to chase a chicken around who had this chick in it's mouth about to eat it.  She is an Ameraucana/Barnevelder mix and is super adorable! (her daddy is to the left of her actually calling her to come see what he found to eat).  She is fast, she is very fast...she has to be yet.  When she is the same size she will fit right in though.  
Adding young chickens to your already established flock could be big trouble and it should only be done if you have some time to watch how it goes.  If you don't have the time it simply should not be done in my opinion.  You will end up with a dead or at the very least very injured chick.  My hens have ate bigger prey then this little girl. Adding new ones to a free range flock is MUCH different then adding to a caged flock.  I have done both and let me tell was horrific adding to a "non free range" flock and I did not get good results. And this is after allowing them to see the newbie through wire for weeks and weeks prior to adding.    If I were the type of person who would just throw and go  I would have had dead chicks/pullets on my hands.  Only the strong (or fast) survive but they usually don't look pretty when it's all said and done.  I can't do it and never will after seeing what I have seen.
What I recommend is to add the babies to an outdoor "free range" flock and I'm here to tell ya.  It goes MUCH better!  IF you have no choice but to add to an enclosed flock then I would not add anything until they were the same size (which means waiting until the newbie is at least 5 months old).   I have done this MANY times now and I have consistent results from my flocks in both types of settings.  
The first few weeks (about six or until chick is  fully feathered for sure)  I do keep the baby in a smaller cage with it's food/water while the others check it out.  Then on day one (of adding to a free range flock)  I open the door and allow the chick to explore on it's own (and be sure you have time to watch what's going on) I just grab my lawn chair and a book and I wait...hrs...I wait, and I watch.  The first day I only allow it out for a few hours (or as much time as your willing to give that day) and each day I go a little longer.  IF the chick wanders outside with the others you will most likely have to pick it up and put it back in at dusk.  For some reason (maybe the big ones won't allow it in or maybe it's that their instinct to roost is not all there yet) but the babies never seem to go in the first two or three days on their own.  After about two or three days they finally get the message.  When I have to put the chick back in I put it back into it's cage if I don't plan on letting it out right at sun up so it doesn't get picked on.  The smaller the coop the more it will prob get picked on.  My coop is huge so there are plenty of hiding spots (which baby does use).  It's been a few weeks now since adding baby and as you can see from the picture she has now been excepted into the flock but is (and there is no doubt about this) on the bottom of the pecking order and prob will always be unless someone gets sick.  But she's thriving and doing wonderfully :D

Our ducks are laying!

They started on Oct 6th.  Today we got a shell less one which is common for new layers.  The back one is shell less.  We fried it and fed to the chickens.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Have my ducks, I mean chickens all in a row.

Here are ny four bantam Cochin all grown up and out with the crew.  Everyone was very respectful of them, thank goodness.  Here they are in the coop at bedtime.  The roo with them is my "surprise" roo from Mcmurray.  He's a dark Brahma.  He's a good boy but I just can't keep any more roos :(  So he has to go to the stew pot but letting him live here until winter so he at least gets a few good months.  I feel bad but I would rather have him go for food then to someone who will fight him.
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Are ducks digging these holes?

Yes they are! And they dig some pretty deep ones I may add.  The deepest one would prob be six inches deep and a good 12 inches wide.  They dig all different types of holes (looking for good bugs). What they do is dig a bill full of dirt and run to the pool and swish it around looking for the bugs that float to the top of the water.  Smart really!  I am learning SO much about them just by sitting out there and watching them. 

 My ducks love me.  They made me this heart.

This is their favorite of all holes...the one that's filled with water lol

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's been a while! Here is my crew :)

My boy finally got his tail curl!  About two weeks ago :)  still no eggs but I'm thinking real soon! 

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

The four bantam cochin chicks at around 12 weeks old as well.

Added a total of six posts today so scroll back to see the other pictures :D  Can't figure out how to add all on one post through my android...will try to figure out if there is a way.

Anyhow these four are from a friend of mine and are getting nice and fluffy for only being 12 weeks old :D  Not sure yet what I have but possibly four girls?  I hope!  The splash over to the right has the biggest waddles but still not as big as my other roos did at that same age. I will let you know what I end up with.  They are enjoying their enlarged brooder now that the ducks are out :D  However will be dividing it again once I add the new baby chicks in there.  

The lil chicken crew at 12 weeks old

Here is the crew at 12 weeks old (on Saturday).  They are getting nice and big and still have plenty of room.  In a few weeks they will be set out to free range with the others (they will be about the same size then).  They are getting pretty darn friendly, I will actually set a chair right in the middle of the coop and spend time with them.  They LOVE their treats I bring into them as well which makes them my best friends.  Still thinking I have at least one roo (I could be wrong and I hoping I am) but can't tell 100% yet.  Still no crowing.  Everyone is getting along and I have not had to remove anyone else :D