Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A horrible find today!

Today on one of my visits to check the chicks I found something really awful.

One of the chicks - the smallest one of the batch - had died.

She had no marks on her, she wasn't malnourished, so I'm not quite sure WHY she died.

From seeing the chicks when they were just hatched to seeing this little bundle of white feathers lying so unusually still.

There's nothing else to say really.

So sad.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Chicks move into their new home!

I thought it about time the chicks went outside and started to realise what the big, bad world is all about, so I put them out in their new coop, with their little run.

Now the run isn't as big as I would have liked, but it's enough for the little chicks to scratch around, and for mum to get some fresh air.

We have 3 types of chick. Their father is the same - Rhydian, but their mothers vary. Two brown eggs hatched, then two of the white Silky eggs hatched.

From the brown eggs came the brown chick with the striking markings it's a typical brown Isa I think, with tan legs and skin and brown feathers.

From the other brown egg came the white chick. This chick has the same type of feathers like the brown Isas except they are white, but has black skin like the other Silkies.

The youngest two are definitely Silkies - typical scruffy feathers, big black eyes and black skin.

While I was taking photos, mum wanted to get in on the fun too!

Queenie is looking a little tired and bedraggled, but hopefully once they are all integrated she will fluff back up!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Chicks get new home.

Well, I decided in the last few days that I ought to make some kind of dwelling for the chicks and Queenie, so they can get used to being outside and running about in the grass.It won't have a massive run, but should give them a little sense of adventure, while also letting the other ladies and Rhydian get used to them.

The coop isn't finished - I felted the roof today but haven't started felting the outside walls yet. I also started on their run - hopefully tomorrow I shall be able to felt some more and finish the run.

The run is approx 3' x 3' and is 17" high. There is no bottom to the run, as I'm making it for day release only, and they will be securely locked up in the little coop at night.

I must admit, I was quite pleased with it, my favourite bit being the little door that flaps down to reveal a little ladder board for the chicks to get back inside.

Usually when I make things, I make them so they do the job at hand - I'm not particularly great at finishing off, but this time I thought I'd spend a little extra time making sure this coop would last and look nice (must be my age!). I love the pitched roof, as the half that comes off is now hinged to the coop by means of being stuck to the felt - it won't be lifted up that often, so I'm happy with that.

Hopefully the chicks and Queenie will like it - it's not to last them forever - just until they are bigger and are more integrated with the flock.

I will post once it's finished and in place.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Chicks take over the coop!

It's true - mother hen Queenie is no longer queen of the roost.

The four chicks have been seen trampling all over mum, even to the point she has one sitting on her back!

The above chick could be called Stella after Jo's mum, but we a little undecided whether to call the white one Stella instead. One thing is for sure, her feathers and the the little black stripe on her head are beautiful and hopefully she'll keep some of that detail later on in life.

The older chicks are growing their feathers very nicely, but with the smaller two looking quite tatty, as their feathers aren't growing as nicely as the others - is this a problem - I have no idea. Maybe they'll grow normally in a while, but I don't know - hopefully they will.

I replaced the floor in the old coop and made sure all the holes were covered in the door and back wall. Hopefully it's a lot warmer and safer now! At least they have a nice little area to run around in.

Queenie has been teaching the chicks to scratch recently, so every time I go in to check the water cups, I have to clean the bedding straw and sawdust out.

I have picked them up a few times now, and I like holding the coffee lid of water as they drink, because they can get used to my hands, and when they drink they tip their heads back and look straight at me - which is very cute (sorry to be a bit soppy there!)

The next stage is for me to make a little coop for mum and the chicks to go in actually outside the large coop, with a little run so they can start getting used to grass and all the other things they will hopefully take for granted when they're older.