Sunday, 19 June 2016

Chicks: the first three weeks

Still cute
It's now three weeks since our latest batch of chicks hatched and they're all strong, healthy and growing at an incredible pace.

They've had outdoor access to a fully enclosed run since about day 3 and they've steadily increased their range within it as well as their diet by grazing on the assorted plants (weeds) there to be found.
Out and about

It's amazing to see how they display the typical range of chicken behaviours without having anyone show them what to do. They start scratching and pecking around for food pretty much as soon as they can stand. Perching, dust bathing, stretching out in the sun, it all just comes naturally to them.

Each week we've adjusted the brooder height up a notch to accommodate their increasing bulk. Inputs are rising steadily, so more frequent food and water top-ups are needed. Outputs are also rising, to the point that they really need cleaned out daily now.

I do the same with the hen house, on my morning guano-gathering round. This all goes into the compost heap, being superb for the garden.

Chick crumb: yum!
Chick feeder and drinker need to be checked and cleaned quite frequently anyway, due to the chicks' unfortunate habit of flinging wood shavings and pooping into them.

Nascent combs

The parents take a look in
They're still quite adorable, but not as insanely cute as when they were just egg-sized fuzz balls.

Now it's becoming possible to distinguish the sexes, as the males begin to grow their combs earlier than the females. It's looking like we have three hens and three cocks in the making, plus one we're not sure about yet.

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