October 19, 2015

News from the Coop, Part 2

Just a couple of weeks after moving the chicks from their brooder in the mudroom to the coop, we brought home some day-old buff orpington chicks. What on earth was I thinking?

Buff orpingtons are my favorite breed; I'd had quite a few at one time but the last one was lost to a predator over a year ago. These five were the last in their bin of pullet chicks. We just couldn't leave them there, right?


I'd bought the previous chicks late in the summer so that I wouldn't have to heat their brooder. In other words, I didn't want to use a heat lamp. Our mudroom isn't air-conditioned, so the temperature in the summer is quite high and it holds the heat overnight too. It was perfect for chicks.

You can tell if chicks are warm enough (or too warm) by their behavior: happy chicks will move around and chirp contentedly. Cold chicks huddle together; too-hot chicks separate and hold their wings out as they try to cool off. Ours were definitely happy.

It's impossible to get a sharp photo of five fast-moving chicks.

When I put them in the brooder (a lidless Rubbermaid bin with a deep layer of shavings and a wire top) I suddenly remembered that it isn't as hot as it was when we bought the first batch of chicks. Fortunately after a cool night or two, the weather warmed back up again. On cool nights I've put a double-folded towel over the wire top of their bin to hold in the heat, with a corner flipped back for ventilation.


The accepted way to brood chicks is to keep the brooder at 95°F for the first week, then decrease the temperature by 5° each week until they are ready to go out to the coop when they are well-feathered, at about four weeks old. In the summer, I'm sure the mudroom is at least 95°. My chicks are now three weeks old, and they are doing just fine without a heat source. They are happy and healthy and growing well.

One of the older girls, a black sex link.

When I move them outside with the bigger chicks, I'll keep them separated for awhile to prevent the older ones from beating up on the younger girls. I'll put the top of a kitty litter box in their small pen so they can cuddle up under it at night like a mother hen would shelter her chicks under her wings. It will help hold in their body heat. It worked well with the older chicks so I'll use it again.

On the left, a straight-run chick of unknown breed. On the right, another black sex-link pullet.

I don't like using heat lamps. By raising my chicks later in the year than most people do, I don't need one.

(Note: hubby took the blue tags out of their wings today. I didn't know that you're supposed to do that or the skin will grow over them. Evidently it's how the hatchery and store mark the pullet chicks.)



This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
Facebook | Pinterest | Bloglovin | Subscribe via email

21 comments:

  1. Buffs are great birds, Kathi, and this will mean more meat and eggs on your table. Besides that, they are cute aren't they? We have wondered a few times why we hatched a late batch of birds, too. Most of them will be meat in the freezer or in jars.

    Fern

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are definitely cute, Fern!

      Delete
  2. I've not had Buff Orpingtons myself, but I've heard good things about them overall. I just... wanted something different, so I went for Australorps, lol. (Though I can already tell I'm going to need a better heat management system in the coop next summer.) It seems nearly everyone in Oklahoma has either sex links or Buffs.

    Your unknown breed looks like it's a Speckled Sussex.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buffs are pretty calm and quiet, Rebekah. I had black Australorps when we lived in Michigan and had a really mean rooster, but that can happen in any breed. I've noticed that most local hatcheries sell mostly sex links now - the easy way to guarantee pullet chicks to their customers.

      Delete
  3. Your unknown breed pullet looks like a Speckled Sussex to me. Pretty birds, I had one go broody and produce exactly one chick this summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mel. I think you're right, that chick is a Speckled Sussex. I have two of them, and they are growing up to be very pretty. Thank you!

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Mel. I think you're right, that chick is a Speckled Sussex. I have two of them, and they are growing up to be very pretty. Thank you!

      Delete
  4. Aren't they sweet? It sounds like you've found the perfect spot to get them started! I didn't know that about the tags either! Thank you for sharing your wonderful outdoor post on this week's Maple Hill Hop! Always good to see you there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you, Daisy. Yes, they are very cute! Teenage chickens go through an ugly stage, but at the moment I have cute chicks and some young, pretty ladies.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The little ones are so cute--I guess any babies usually are. The close up is so cool with all the fuzziness showing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Betty, thank you for your comment. Yes, baby anythings are usually pretty cute, aren't they?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I wanted to get chicks at a time when I wouldn't need the heat lamp, but it didn't work out this year. Maybe next year! I hate using the lamp, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope it works out for you next year, Jamie.

      Delete
  9. Oh my goodness, those chicks are so cute, Kathi! I was interested to read how you got them ready to go outside. How lovely to have fresh eggs every day! Thank you for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Hop.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you, April. Tiny chicks are adorable. Pretty soon they'll hit their awkward gawky teenager stage and will look pretty funny, then eventually they turn into pretty hens. We are really looking forward to having fresh eggs again!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good luck with your chicks. Buffs are one of my favorites as well. We will be adding chickens back to our mix next year. We had a predator problem too. Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Tambra Smith9:40 PM

    Great photos of your birds

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you, Tambra.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Those chicks are so sweet! Thanks for sharing at My Flagstaff Home!

    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  15. Congratulations! This post will be featured this week at My Flagstaff Home.

    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you so much, Jennifer!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you'll leave a comment - I would love to hear from you. If you wish to email me instead, please click here. Thank you!

Please note that anonymous comments are usually deleted unread because of the high amount of spam. Instead of commenting anonymously, consider choosing the NAME/URL option - just fill in your name, leaving a URL is optional.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...