Posts Tagged baby chicks

Cheepsters in the box

Earlier in the Spring Neil put up a bird’s nesting box high on the wall, out of reach of cats and other creatures.  Two Bluetits have taken up residence and we saw them continually coming and going as they were nest building.  Then we started to hear the cheep cheep cheep coming from the box and knew that the baby birds had hatched.  One is getting quite bold now and keeps appearing at the door way.  After standing there for quite some time I managed to catch a picture of him at the door .DSC00171

You can just make him out.  I wonder how long it will be before they fly the nest.

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New chickens join the flock

Yesterday we took delivery of 6 new Brown Warren hens who are 19 weeks old.  They came from a poultry farm where that is all they do, raise chicks from eggs and bring them on to point of lay.  We have had chickens from there before and they have been absolutely fine, without disease or any problems.  Brown Warrens are really good layers, nothing special to look at but very reliable birds.  Firstly we put them inside the hen house. They took a couple of hours before they ventured down the ramp to have a peck about, but they didn’t go far. They stayed very close to the hen house.

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Neil had to help them up the ramp last night as they hadn’t got the idea of going to bed when it got dark.  Today they were again reluctant to leave the safety of the hen house and stayed mostly underneath.

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I’m sure it will take a few days for them to acclimatise into their new surroundings and then the new pecking order has to be established with the older hens.  It is possible it will be 4 or 5 weeks before they start laying.

The baby chicks were playing up today.  We have given them a new feeder and they have decided it is something to fear as they wouldn’t come down the ramp into the run today but stayed up top in their hen house (a different one to the other hens) and were churning up the straw good and proper today.  They have grown so much, being nearly 7 weeks now.

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5 Baby chicks

Well they didn’t hatch yesterday on our anniversary as I thought, and not first thing this morning, but by lunchtime today we had 5 baby chicks.  Not a very good hatch rate out of 11 eggs, but there we are.  Ah they are so cute and all different colours as they came from different breeds of hens.  Of course at the moment I have no idea which one is which, but that doesn’t matter, they are  so lovely.

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Mother hen is very protective and rears up everytime we open the hen house to have a look.

When I was trying to take pictures they kept running away.

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This little one was brave enough to go exploring on her own.

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At night they are all tucked up under Mother Hen’s wings.  Isn’t nature wonderful?

More pictures as they grow, watch this space…..

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Big chook becomes a rooster

When we hatched our chicks last July we had no idea if they were hens or cockerels.  I thought we would find out pretty soon on, both developed along the same lines and in spite of looking up how to sex baby chicks on the interenet I could not tell.

Then gradually one chick started to grow larger than the other and I thought maybe this one will become a rooster, but there were no tell tail signs.  When they were large enough we integrated them into the existing flock and both got picked on and chased away from the food.  So we started sprinkling the food in 3 or 4 places around the run so that the new 2 had a chance of some.  Over the weeks this problem resolved itself and now they all eat peacefully together.

Big chook won’t roost like the others at night, he always stays in the nest box.  He certainly grew and grew and is now one and a half times bigger than the other hens.  Then he started to grow lovely feathers and curly tail feathers but didn’t crow and showed no interest in the hens.  I thought perhaps I had a gay cockerel!!

Then after 9 months he started to jump on the hens and 2 weeks ago he did his first “cock a doodle do”. So we know he is very definitely a rooster.

What a handsome chap he is too. He is half Welsummer and half Black Rock.

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Last week him and the girls were dustbathing in the churned up earth in the sunshine.

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Since then we have had rain and yesterday more snow, so no chance of a dustbath today.  We need to move the hens enclosure as soon as possible as they have churned up all the ground and there is no more grass where they are.  Still they are back laying well.  Most days we have 8 to 10 eggs from 13 pullets and one day we had 11, so they can’t be too unhappy, but we will move them soon. We have lovely fresh eggs for our B&B guests.

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How cute!! Mother hen and the chicks

Last night at dusk I peaked in at Mrs Speckledy and the baby chicks as they had just gone up the ramp into the chicken house and were resting in the nest box.  It was so cute to see the little brown hen under one wing and the 2 little black chicks under the other wing. She really is a good Mother hen.

Mrs Speckledy and the baby chicks

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Moving the chooks

As our baby chicks are now 4 weeks old we wanted to move them and their mum, Mrs Speckledy out of the ark and into the old hen house with an enclosed run.  We had purchased a new hen house for the other chickens, so we put that in place, added an electric fence and on Friday night moved them out of one hen house and into another, so that in the morning when they were let out they would be in their new run.

The new hen house

The next day we cleaned out the old hen house and made it ready for Mrs Speckledy and the babies, but catching them to move them proved slightly problematical.  Firstly Mrs Speckledy thought we were killing her she made such a racket, but as we moved her first, she obviously didn’t want to be separated from her brood.  Next it was the turn of the babies, but they are fast!!  One jumped out of the ark when we opened it and made a bid for freedom.  Good job we had taken the fishing net down with us, so we were able to catch it.

Neil with the little brown chook

The little ones squeaked like mad as they didn’t like being separated from Mum, so we moved them as quickly as possible.

me with a little black chick

It took a while for Mrs Speckledy and the baby chooks to come down the ramp and into the enclosed run, but they soon got the hang of it and there is a lot more space for them in that run.

The other hens were enjoying the long grass in the orchard as new turf to spuddle about in.

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They soon made themselves a spot to have a dust bath and they scattered all the bark that we had put round the base of the trees.

the light sussex in their new area

So all in all a successful move for all the chooks.  Our original hens laid 11 eggs (out of 13 hens) on the first day they were in their new hen house and area, so I don’t think they were too traumatised by the move.

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