Chickens – Week 8

Week 8 has been a weird one. Dale had mentioned in his earlier post about a rooster who’s crop has swollen. It was one of our Speckled Sussex roosters.

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We just knew that couldn’t feel good. He could hardly stand up straight. So as Dale said, we isolated him. Put him in our garage in our dog’s crate.

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He wasn’t very happy about it, but I do think he enjoyed the attention. Four days in isolation and this poor chick went from bloated to helpless to “cabin fever crazy.” He wasn’t groggy, he wasn’t lethargic, and quite honestly, he didn’t seem sick. But we had to make sure he was pooping, that the food was going through his body. The first day, we gave him bread soaked in olive oil as well as electrolytes in his water. At first he didn’t like the bread, but then realized that was all he was getting, so he ate it. Then we took the food away. The next day, I decided to give him some apple cider vinegar in his water (1 tsp per cup). This helps break down anything in his stomach and doesn’t allow extra yeast to produce, which can be deadly for chicks. He didn’t seem to like that, but it’s hard to tell when there’s only one chick. We also gave him a little bit of grit. The next day, we didn’t give him any food, just water. After three days, he started to look better. His crop was going down, so we gave him a little bit of regular food. We also cleaned his crate out, which was dirty, but not completely covered in poop. On the fourth day, I went down to the garage to see him and he was attempting to jump up on the dog gate and cling on, hoping it would open. He was getting restless. As soon as I opened up the gate, he jumped on me and tried his hardest to get out. Good thing I’m bigger than him. I also should note that his crate was once again covered in poop (in only one day compared to the three). I asked Dale if I should put him back in with the flock and he agreed that it would probably be good. I gave him some regular food before moving him and he went crazy. I was able to pet him, move him, do whatever to him and he didn’t care, as long as he could eat. The poor guy was so hungry. Then I moved him over to the coop and before I could even put him down, he turned around to go to the feeder and eat. Unfortunately, Dale had just cleaned out the feeder and there was no food. So I raced up to the shop to grab three whole cupfuls of food. Before I could even fill up the feeder, he was on top of one of the cups and knocking down the other cup. When I picked him up to clean his mess, he switched over to standing on the ledge and burying his head in the food in the feeder I had just poured. The door wasn’t even closed, he was reaching so far.

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This poor guy. Within hours of putting him back, he was back to the size he was before the weekend. I have a feeling there’s a chance he won’t make it. Which is sad because after our weekend together, he has warmed up to us nicely. This morning he was the first to the feeder and was eating out of the cup before I could pour it, even though there was food in the feeder. Hopefully he stays healthy.

In other news, the other chicks are doing great. I wonder when I’m going to stop calling them chicks and start calling them chickens. Oh well! They are anxious to get out of their coop every day.

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They are constantly growing. In fact, our renter’s rooster has started crowing (and we got our first egg yesterday)! Well, Dale has told us that one of our roosters has been attempting to crow as well, I guess learning from her rooster. This morning, I finally heard him crow. Dale didn’t know which one it was, but as I walked over to her coop, I saw our Blue And on the top roost looking out the window of our coop. I’m absolutely positive it was him crowing!

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Here’s our chubby-cheeked Lucy.

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Our Brahma’s are getting pretty plump. Their bodies are getting bigger and bigger and their heads stay the same. In fact, it’s getting harder and harder to tell which Brahma is Fatty.

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We’re pretty sure this is Fatty, being curious and comfortable around us.

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Here’s one of our male Partridge Cochins. His feathers are so much darker than the females and his feet are way more furrier (featherier?).

Something else has happened this week. This morning, I was awakened by Dale at our bedroom window saying there was a hawk on top of our coop. I jumped out of our bed and raced to the window and sure enough, there was a hawk perched right above the window looking into the coop at our babies. What’s even weirder is that there were two squirrels chasing each other up a tree near him and around the ground under him, as well as two or three crows hanging around as well. I had always heard that crows won’t tolerate hawks in their territory (or at least when they are around). I was getting upset. I told Dale to shoot it. It knows where our babies are, and more than likely where our renter’s birds are too. He fired at it, but didn’t want to hit the coop, so it got away. I love hawks, and falcons, and quite honestly our crows too (however I’m not a fan of our owls), but any predator bird that comes around my chickens will be my enemy. I’m so ready for our chickens to be bigger so they aren’t so much of a risk, but I know I will still worry when they are let out without our constant supervision.

Until next time.

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