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Friday, April 20, 2012

Chicks,chicks and more chicks! Getting ready for the new arrivals.

First and foremost be prepared and buy all your supplies before you bring home chicks. See list for suggested supplies.

Large plastic tub or metal livestock trough. I like the plastic tubs with wheels , easier to drag them outside for cleaning.

Bedding, I like wood pellets over shavings as they don't clog up the waterers as much as shavings.

Paper towels, I use these over the wood pellets for the 1st few days. You can sprinkle food on paper towels until chicks figure out where feeders are. Newly shipped chicks that don't find food and water quickly will weaken and die.

Waterers, come in different sizes. Chicks need a continuous supply of fresh clean water. I use a quail size base for the 1st few days as tiny day olds can drown in larger sizes. Use marbles in your base if it is larger to prevent drowning. Never thought much of this until I found several day old chicks drowned one morning!
I keep an extra waterer ready so I can just switch them out in the morning as I start work early , this saves time when I am busy.

Heat lamp with red bulb, keep an extra bulb as bulbs always seem to go out on the coldest night. I usually keep a few extra white bulbs as they are much less expensive and will do in a pinch. Be sure to secure these well as they will start a fire if they fall into tub. Only heat one side of tub as chicks need a place to escape from heat. If chicks are panting and far apart they are too hot. If piled into a heap they are to cold. If sleeping next to each other in a single layer you have the temp just right.

Chick food, you can use either medicated ( for coccidiosis ) or unmedicated, I like to use gamebird starter as it has higher protein and more vitamins.

I don't use chick grit as I get my chicks out on soil as soon as possible. However if chicks do not have access to outdoors they will need grit to grind up any whole grains they are fed ( scratch included ) If you have sandy soil you can sprinkle a little on food.

Other supplements that are nice to have on hand, water soluble vitamins to make up for any deficits in parents diet, electrolytes to give your new chicks a boost, especially if shipped.

Special note on shipped birds, I always take a kit to the post office when picking up birds. I have scissors to open box, food and water. Every minute counts when your chicks have been at the mercy of the post office for two days or more. An extra 30 min in your car can mean the difference between life and death! I open box and offer food and water immediately.

Most of all have fun with your new babies, the more they are handled the tamer they will be. Don't expect friendly birds if they are not brought up as pets, especially roosters! Once your chicks have fully feathered out at 4 to 6 weeks they can go outdoors as long as they have shelter.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lemon Cuckoo Orpingtons

Been wanting these for ages! Had a young pair sent out a couple of weeks ago, the color is incredible! The pullet is already laying small eggs, won't hatch any out until they get larger. They are Priscilla Middleton lines .