Friday, June 15, 2018

The new chickens

I brought home the new batch of chickens on April 21st. I purchased them at Tractor Supply and they were roughly a week old. Hard to tell since they just kinda jumble them all together, but that's the best estimate we got.

We set them up in our big dog kennel placed in the utility room so they'd be warm. April weather is always unpredictable and this year was very cold out so I didn't want to put them up in the coop yet despite the fact that it's got power for the heat lamp. I just felt more comfortable having them in the house where I could keep an eye on them. This only worked because we didn't have cats at this point. Not sure what I'll do next time...

Welcome home
Cooper is extremely good with chickens. Not quite as good with chicks - they move too much like prey. So she was carefully supervised as we introduced them to her.
One very interested dog
 They're so little! And apparently, tired.
Boom, asleep.
The heat lamp provides a hot spot of around 95 degrees week 1 then you keep adjusting it 5 degrees downward each week of age. The thermometer was critical for tracking temperature and I raised / lowered the lamp depending on what they needed.
Comfortable arrangement, not too piled up, not too scattered
 They were wonderfully active little buggers.
Time stamp: 09:03:39
Who fell asleep at the drop of a hat.
Time stamp: 09:03:50
The grew up so quick!
One week later
And it didn't take long before they were trying to jump out of the kennel. An old window screen solved that issue.
Just over 3 weeks old
With the planned arrival of the new cats (and with warmer weather) I moved them out to the coop at about 4 weeks of age. The heat lamp is still be available to create a hot spot and they have the whole coop to explore, a big improvement in space over the kennel.

Bravely leaving the box
Didn't take long for them to leave the box and start to explore the new area. Lots of running from one side of the coop to the other.
Definitely a flock
Settling right in
Several weeks later, they're much bigger and have totally claimed the coop. Unfortunately they also decided that the nest boxes were awesome places to nap. That's a no-no. I've since covered the nest box opening with fabric so they can't get in there. When they're closet to 25 weeks of age and getting ready to lay, I'll open the boxes back up and put the golf balls in there as a lure. Worked great last time.
But we like it in here.
Probably aught to mention what type of birds I got. Three are Buff Orpingtons and three are Black Sex-Linked defined as a cross between Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks. Both types of bird are known as dual-purpose birds which means they are good egg-layers while still maintaining size/weight for eating. The plan, just as with my last birds, is to keep them for egg production a couple years and then harvest for meat. This time avoiding the fox, obviously. 

The birds are now about 8 weeks old and I'm getting gorgeous color variation on the Blacks, as you can see above. Can't wait to see what they look like when fully grown.

No comments:

Post a Comment