Week two of having chickens and we’ve learned a lot. First off, we opened the brooder up. Since they started getting their wings, they have been wanting to explore more, and since the brooder was so small for all of them, they wanted to get out. So we opened it up to the full extent.
We decided to put an overhang to give them someplace to get away from the heat lamp. We also strategically place the roosting sticks under the overhang so none of them could jump from the sticks to the overhang.
This week, we’ve also started taking away the heat lamp during the day. Almost every blog we’ve read talks about having a heat lamp on full time. But we figured that most of those blogs are based in northern states. Down here in Oklahoma, it’s hot. So we only turn it on at night. In the daytime, it’s reaching into the 90s with a heat index well into the 100s. At night, it’s not much cooler either. Also, these little guys have been going through some serious amounts of food. It’s crazy how much they can eat! We’ve been hand feeding them some as well so they can get use to us, but only a few are regular eaters when our hands are present. Crickets play a big part in their fun. Although Dale likes to go out and find grasshoppers and crickets in our yard, they are hard to catch. So we decided one day to go get a bag of live crickets from Petsmart. These chicks went ballistic! They loved it!
So let’s show you guys some chicks!
Here we have a Light Brahma modeling their beautiful toe feathers (as we call them – I’m sure there’s a technical name). They are coming in nicely.
Next, we have our ginormous Lucy, who has grown considerably faster than the rest of the chicks. Her legs are getting pretty big and dark, as well as rough.
Here are our two named birds side by side. Remember Fatty, the biggest chick we had? Lucy definitely outweighs him now. But I’m sure it won’t be for long. We’ve also pulled out Lucy’s wing to show off her beautiful feathers. If any of these chicks can fly out of the brooder, it’s definitely her. But she hasn’t tried (to our knowledge at least). Poor Fatty on the other hand hardly has any wings. I’m assuming that male chicks develop wings slower.
Here’s cute little Fatty. As you can see, he’s getting toe feathers too. One day he will be the biggest chicken we have (Light Brahma’s are an average of 12 lbs.)
Here is Lucy’s neck. You can see her pin feathers (also known as blood feathers) developing and pushing out her baby feathers. You never ever ever want to cut these things. Just a quick reminder for those reading our blog and are thinking about clipping your chickens wings. We are undecided on this as of right now (since they are still chicks).
And here’s Lucy. She’s looking over the edge of the box at all her friends and just two pictures later, she jumped (i.e. flew) back into the box. Isn’t she starting to look like a teenager going through puberty?
Anyways, so Dale got a fun idea of letting some of the chicks out into the grass (with the dogs locked in the house – they weren’t happy). We grabbed them at random. At first, they were skeptical. They stayed in the box we transported them in. Then Fatty ran out to see what all this new stuff was. The other five stayed in until I tipped the box over and they had to be in the grass. BUT they loved it. They found all kinds of *dead* things to eat. I don’t know why they went for dead things, but whatever. They got to experience scratching the dirt and tasty *dead* flies. They also pooped as soon as we let them out, like we scared the poop out of them. Hahaha! So, 20 minutes later, we wrangled them back into the box and took them home to their friends.
Yesterday, Dale went downstairs to the garage to take the trash out. He wasn’t even paying attention to the brooder. But he said, as he was leaving to head back up, out of the corner of his eye he saw something and looked over. There was a blue Andalusian perched on top of the brooder, wobbling on the thin cardboard wall. He said as soon as he looked over, it flew back into the brooder. None the less, it looks like we are transferring them to their coop sooner than we expected.
Dale and I will post more about our coop and the construction of it later on this week.