Sunday, September 9, 2012

Here a Bath, There a Bath...

Here are two of our girls taking a dust bath this afternoon. They are quite happy to have access to the former Maternity Ward.

Happy Day in the Coop

The chicks are seven and a half weeks old, so today the Walls of Jericho have been taken down eliminating The Maternity Ward. They're one big, happy family now. 
The littles seem to like the new digs because they have more area to roam and new things to explore (i.e. the coop). The big girls are happy because they regain access to the prime dust bath spot. Bossy and Pouncey didn't waste any time digging right in. See above.

Space and the recent torrential downpours are why I took down the hardware cloth separator between the two areas. The babies are getting big. They're not too little to be around the big girls and because they're getting bigger, the little area provided by The Maternity Ward is sufficient, but doesn't seem like a fair amount for them to be stuck in for most of the day. Then, there's the rain. Over the last few weeks it has rained a lot. As soon as the ground dries it seems to rain again, making the main coop too wet and muddy for the bug girls to be able to get a good dust bath. The Maternity Ward side is completely covered by a wooden roof and due to positioning the ground on that side is barely ever wet. Remove the barrier between the two sections and the problem is solved. The littles get roam of three times the space they had before and the big girls get dirt that is always dry and good for dusting.

Last year we had a few little tiffs when the two mini flocks were joined, but today I haven't seen any major issues. I don't know if it's because these babies are bigger than last year's or because they're calmer and seem less nervous, which makes the big girls calmer, or if it's because the big girls have had plenty of time to put the littles in their place while everyone has been out free ranging in the yard. Whatever it is, we've had a happy day in the coop. They're like the Brady Bunch out there. Er, The Chicken Bunch.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Time Flies When You're Growing Chicks

Our babies are growing fast. They're not chicks anymore. They're little fluffy chickens. Well, presumably, one fluffy pullet and one fluffy cockerel. Here's a few August pictures of our babies.

They're doing well and are so grown up. Right now they're still in a separate coop with Mama, but we'll be merging them with the flock soon. It's strange having such big chicks at seven weeks. Last year's bantams have given us no frame of reference for development when it comes to average-sized chicks. To us, these two are huge. If you love your chickens, but have never raised chicks, I suggest you give it a go. It's an amazing experience. Watching Mama incubate them, seeing them hatch, and watching them grow into adults is remarkable. This is our second batch of chicks, but it is just as amazing as our first. You provide the broody Mama or the brooder to keep them safe and warm, and they'll pretty much take care of the rest.

I'm sure we'll have another batch of chicks next year too. Erickson seems to get broody almost on cue. I'll tell you though. Raising these chicks is not helping with my want of a chicken farm. All they make me think of is how fun it would be to have a yard full of the little fluff balls and then a coop full of free-range eggs, which would lead to a wallet full of money.