Monday, March 19, 2012

Brooding the Home Flock

Our baby chicks are 2 week old now.  This has not been the easiest brooding I've ever done.  I decided not to order from Ideal in Texas like I always do, so the chicks wouldn't have to travel so far.  I ordered from Murray McMurray instead.  The chicks arrived promptly on a cold blustery day - the one cold day in all these unseasonably warm days we've been having!  The kids were already pasting up when I got them, which is a sign of stress.  (Pasting up is when their droppings stick to their bottoms.  Can be life threatening if not removed.) 

I tried brooding them in the garage which is warm, but things were not going well.  I don't know if it was drafty or what.  And I tried to use straw as bedding which I've never done before.  I lost a couple to what looked like failure to thrive and another to what looked like respiratory distress.  I had two in sick bay in my bathroom for a few days - one with a cut leg and another showing signs of respiratory distress like the others. 

I put the whole flock on antibiotics and moved them to a new brooder in our little old fashioned milk house.  The floor is concrete in the milk house and the concrete goes up the wall a foot or so.  I created a divider out of cardboard and filled the space with a bale of shavings.  The chicks act much more comfortable in this space.  It's been about half a week now that everyone has seemed perfectly ok, so hopefully we are out of the woods.  These pictures were taken the day we put them in the milk house.  They are already much bigger and have alot more feathers.  They are Buff Rocks, Barred Rocks, and Eygptian Fayoumis.  I like to cross the Rocks and the Fayoumis for a hybrid I'm calling Fayoumi X Rock.  The Fayoumis are good scrappy free rangers.  Crossing them with the Rocks gives a little bit bigger bird.

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