Bye Week Three

And poof week three is gone. It's been a busy week too. A field trip, shopping, a birthday party, birthday dinners and two worn out kids. The chicks didn't get the half hour of one on one time with me this week but I did what I could. Darby took flight this week. She flew from the big chair and landed on the couch. Their favorite treat is hard boiled egg whites. Crystal, being the smallest you would think that if she got a treat she would eat it fast or run and hide to eat it. No she runs around the brooder peeping she fool head off. I'm not sure if she is dumb or if she likes it when she gets chased. Honey is getting huge. She got to ride on my shoulder for the first time and she seemed to enjoy it. I told her better do it while she is a chick because I'm not sure I'll be able to comfortably have an eight pound bird on the shoulder. I'm hoping that this Sunday will be warm enough and not too windy to take the chicks outside for the first time. I will be sure to get video of that. And I am still working on a way to post the slide show of the chick growth chart.

Toddler Stage?

I'm not sure if I am being accurate but to compare the chicks to my children I think I'm right on. In both the physical and emotional means the chicks are starting to act like toddlers. The chicks are starting to fight to establish a pecking order. Human toddlers scream, cry and hit at their friends because they are trying to get their own way and don't have the words to do that properly. The chicks have become very messy eaters. More food ends up in the bedding then in their tummys. Our toddlers are messy eaters learning how to use their fingers and forks to eat with. If a chick gets a treat she'll run around the brooder playing keep away. If a toddler has a cool toy or treat they run up to their friends and say "Neener Neener Neener!" (this of course would earn my kids a time out and get their snack or toy taken away) And lastly a toddler is going through a big change in their bodies and they look a little awkward running and playing. The chicks with their fast growing and feathers coming in look a little scruffy and gangling. What will the next stage hold? Whinny, attitude, back talking kindergartners? Oh gosh I hope not I already have one of those! LOL. No not really Megan is a pretty good kid but she is a girl and she has her moments.

Week Two

In a flash there goes week two. Oh my how big they got. And they look really scruffy too. Crystal is a sweet heart and very calm. She lets Megan do anything to her and she hardly even peeps about. Darby is still a wild chick. She'll fly off the big chair, fit the ground and start running. I'm not sure if she is running to explore or if she is trying to get out of spending time with my wild child Emily. Honey is a gem and I love her. I'll hold her and she cuddles on me. If I had her in diapers I'd have her ride on my shoulder she really likes it. I don't have much planned for week three. This is a busy weekend so I don't know when the girls will have time to spend with their chicks. I will keep everyone updated as the week goes on. Happy Peeping.

OK Floor Time is Over!

Alright I have to come up with a new way for the girls to play with the chicks. Between the girls not listening to me and the chicks running off the sheet all I am doing is yelling. Yesterday Darby wanted nothing to do with Emily and I can't blame her. Who wants to be picked up then set down then picked up again over and over. Megan won't let Crystal be. She holds her and keeps her from exploring and then tries to push treats in her face. UURRGG! What drought last night to a halt was that Emily squished Crystal so hard that she peeped screamed. So I think that we are going to go to one on one time. I'll let Emily hold Darby in the big chair when Megan is at school and Megan can hold Crystal when Emily is in bed. I'll still have my time with each chick later at night when all is quiet. Soon the chicks will be big enough to spend time with all of us in the outside pen. That will be a big milestone for all of us.

School Chicks

At Megan's school the kindergarten classes got about 20 hatching eggs from McMurray Hatchery. They got the Assorted Top Hat package which could hatch into a variety of breeds that have feather poofs on top of their heads; Buff laced, Golden, Silver, White, Black and White Crested Black Polish, Mottled Houdans, Crevecoeurs, and Sultans. The classes candled the eggs a few times during the three weeks of incubation. At first all the eggs looked viable but as the days passed fewer and fewer eggs looked alive. This weekend they hatched and only four chicks out of the twenty made it out of their eggs. One of those four didn't make it and one of the three remaining chicks is missing an eye. It may be a bit disappointing but at least they have three that seem to be doing quiet well. Watch them all turn out to be Roosters! If I had to made my best guess from the pictures I've seen on the Internet I would have to say that all three chicks are the Golden Polish. We will just have to wait and see. I'll keep you posted.

My Little Honey

Aw my little Honey girl. She real is a sweet heart. The picture of her wing was taken on day 11. She has a beautiful set of baby feathers and loves to fly off the top of the food jar. The picture on the right is Honey cuddling under my hand. If I take my hand away then put it down in another spot she'll come over and push her way back under it. I think she thinks my hand is her Mama Hen. When I let her sit on my chest (on a towel) she will climb up to my neck and peep in my ear. She'll even try to climb to the top of my head. But I won't let her. I don't want poop on my bed. I am really falling in love with her.

First Treats

I asked a few people on my yahoo groups what would be a good first chick treat. Almost everyone told me eggs, hard boiled or scrambled. So I put some out on the blanket I use for "floor time" with the girls. As you can see they pecked at it but the girls didn't really give them a chance to really enjoy their treat. I'll try again during my one on one time with them to see if it goes over a little better.

We got though week one!

Wow! It's been great. And what week of learning it has been. I'm still working on getting the chicks to not be so afraid of me when I open the brooder but I guess that will come in time. I've gotten into a routine with them. In the morning I change and fill their food and water. In the afternoon Megan and Emily get to hold their chicks on the floor. In the evening I hold each chick for awhile, clean their table, change the food and water out again then I take a picture of each chick to track it's growth for this blog. I'll get a sideshow up here once I figure out how. This isn't just my first time raising chicks it's also my first time making a blog too. My computer skills are drastically lacking.
The chicks are growing like weeds. All of them have "real" feathers on their wings and Honey and Darby have the beginnings of tail feathers. They are starting to eat more too. I may have to upgrade to a larger food jar by the end of this next week. They are learning to scratch in their bedding to find food that has been miss placed. Darby will even scratch out a hole in the bedding all the way down to the cage floor! We put two toys in the brooder but so far they have ignored them. They aren't as freaked out anymore when Mugsy comes sniffing at the cage. I will try to get pictures of them with their wings spread out and maybe some flying practice video. That is if my computer doesn't try crashing on my again. It doesn't like my new digital camera.
Well, hope that you all keep coming back to watch our chicks grow some more in week two.

Chick Poop

Well, I guess I should talk about what chicks do best, besides look cute. They poop and they poop a lot. Everyone told me chick poop smells. I'll tell you the truth I haven't noticed any smell yet. Now I do only have three chicks so maybe more would but mine don't as of yet. The brooder is in my little kitchen and less then six feet from my computer so if they smelled you'd think I couldn't miss it. I picture above is of the brooder before I took up the paper towels. In a 24 hour period all the dots on the paper are poop. I took away the towels on Friday so now they are only on the Care Fresh Bedding. Every night I clean off their "table", twice a day I clean and change the food and water. Every two days I take everything out chicks and all and mix up the bedding. I'm not sure when I'll change out all the bedding but I guess when I think it dirty enough or if it ever starts to smell.
Now what about poops that happen when I'm holding them? Well, that's easy I use a poo towel. When the girls have them on the floor I use a poo blanket. And to make sure they don't step in it I just use a tissue and pick it up. The Poop isn't solid but it's not running either. I know it's gross but think frosting. :P Once they are big enough I'll get them chicken diapers to wear when they are wondering through the house. For more info and pictures of chickens in diapers go to Ruth's Chicken Diaper web site.

Emily and Darby

I decided to let Emily hold her chick after all. She has been very gentle with petting her so I thought she'd do fine at holding the chick too. With supervise of course. As you can see she did great. You can hear Megan being a "mini-mom" in the back ground.

Snacks or Friends?

This is my first baby. His name is Mugsy and he is now 10 years old. I've had him longer then I've had my husband. He is the sweetest and most protective dog I've known. No one comes into my house unannounced. If they do they'd be running back out the door until I let them back come in. But the children can do anything to him and he just takes it. Even after his two knee surgeries he let the kids cuddle him even though he was in pain.

When he was a little over a year old I brought home my first litter of five abandoned kittens(three lived). He helped me raise them. He'd be at the kittens cage before I could get there. He cleaned their faces and bottoms for me. Two years ago came the second litter of four kittens. Mugsy was kind to them but didn't show the same enthusiasm as he did with the first litter. I guess after three kittens, and two human babies he must have been thinking, "Been there done that." LOL
Now with the chicks he is showing a lot of interest in them but I'm not sure of his intent. He stands and shares at them and snuffs in the corners of the brooder. If he is in the house when I take a chick out to sit and cuddle with he whines and paces. I let him sniff and "kiss" the chicks but I feel that the affection is different then with the kittens. I hope I'm wrong but I think if he had a chance the chicks would be snacks. I will just have to see how he does with them as they get older. I'll make sure that I keep our little chickies safe.

Meet the Babies!

I finally had some free quiet time to spend with the chicks. I had originally had planned to leave them alone until Sunday. You know only handle them to clean the cage and some times their bottoms. Well that went out the window fast. If I could I'd carry them around with me all day. They are just so sweet. OK now for the introductions.

The top picture is Darby. She belongs to my youngest Emily. She calls her "Chickie Darby." Darby is a Buff Laced Polish. She should grow up to be about 4 pounds and have a beautiful feather poof on top of her head. Emily is not quite three yet so of course I do not let her hold Darby. I hold her in my hands and Emily uses a finger to pet her head and kisses her when I put her back in the brooder. Darby is fast becoming the head chick. She has a wild streak in her that if she keeps will be a prefect match for Emily as they grow up.

On the left meet Crystal. She is the whole reason we started our chicken adventure. Crystal is Megan's baby. She is a Blue Silkie and should be under 3 pounds full grown. Silkies are called the lap dog of the chicken world. They keep the "chick look" their whole lives. Their feathers lack the tiny hooks that would make them look normal. Megan wanted a white silkie so that when the chick got older she could use food coloring to dye Crystal's feathers. Yes, I know it's crazy but Megan is six and a total girly girl. I hope that Crystal and Megan become the best of friends.

At the right is my Honey. As a standard Buff Orpington she will be our big Mama at around seven pounds. I choose an Orpington for two reasons. One my Grandfather had one as a child that was more like a dog then a chicken. It even slept with the dog. And two I love the golden color of their feathers. I named her Honey because of that gorgeous color. Orps are most likely the model for big fat cartoon hens.

So there you have them. I am trying to make a slide show of each chick with them standing in front of a growth chart. I will take a picture of each chick every day to show just how fast they will grow. Keep checking in for a lot more pictures, video and stories.

Our first Video

Well this is a video of our first few moments with the chicks. If it works I'll have lots more to come.

Everything is going quite well. The family that I shared my order with came this morning to pick up their two chicks. So that leaves us with three little peeps. I'll get better pictures of them tomorrow and go into detail of who is who. I wanted them to get food, water and sleep before I started pushing a camera in the becks. As it is we have had several visits today by our neighbors who are all interested in our new and different pets. I'm lucky that my neighbors are supportive of our little adventure because I have no clue on how noisy they will be. X X Fingers crossed.

The Chickies are Here!

After months of research, weeks of waiting for them to get here and one night of restless sleep the chicks are finally here. My Pet Chicken called me on Monday to tell me that the chicks had been shipped but there was a problem with the order. Turns out that they didn't get enough white silkie chicks to go around so they sent a blue silkie instead. I had to tell my six year old Megan, that her chick was going to be different. She teared up a bit but after seeing some pictures of blue silkies she decided that blue was cute.

Tuesday's delivery time came and went and no chicks. Megan cried all the way home from school and then asked to go and check at the Post Office just in case. But still no chicks. Megan didn't sleep well last night which means neither did I. She was worried about the chicks.

At 7:35 this morning the Post office called. Megan and I went straight there. We walked into the back of the Post Office and into the sorting room. (we live in a small town so it has a small P.O.)There on the desk was the box. We popped it open and counted 1,2,3,4,5 chicks all alive and peeping! We rushed them home to put them into the heated brooder. Each chick got her beck dipped into the the water dish first thing to make sure they knew were it was. Within five minutes all were eating and drinking great. I'm trying to get a short video posted but I'm not sure how. I'll post more in a little bit.

Oh the Excitement! Oh the Preparation!

The count down to chicks begins. I made a count down calender for the girls so they can tell how many more days we have left. This way I can stop answering the same question over and over again. "How many more days until we get the chicks?"
I have been working on the brooder all week. I used an old bunny cage that was left by the old owners of our house. It was a little rusted and dirty but a good sanding and scrubbing and a few cans of Galvanized steel Rustolium (sp) it looks brand new. You can't see it in the picture but I also put clear plastic on all the sides. I left the blue protective film on the plastic in the back for some color.
I asked other chicken parents what they used for bedding in their brooders and got a lot of different answers. Most said that pine shavings, straw or hay work good. I unfortunately can't use any of it due to horrible allergies. So I decided to use CareFresh Pet Bedding. It is free of all pine and ceder oils and has very little dust. It is on the expensive side but I'll deal with it. For the first day or so of having the chicks I put paper towels down on top of the bedding. I've heard that it will keep their attention on their food and not pecking at the bedding. I'll have to see how will it goes.
The food dish and water dish are all ready to go. I put them on top of a box lid that I duct taped so that they will be harder to tip over. I am using a pool thermometer that I checked against two different digital thermostats and it's right on with them. I also put a baby toy in there to see if the chicks will be interested in it. I'm still working on what to do with the heat lamp. I think I am going to try to hang it from the ceiling. The pole I attached to the brooder isn't tall enough. When I tested it the temp got to over 110 degrees. Way to hot. So I'll have to keep working at it.
So just five days left. I'll go to the post office on Monday to tell them about the chicks that are on their way. I'll get as many pictures and video of our first moments as I can. Stay tuned. :)