My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

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Eirwen
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Eirwen » Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:21 pm

They've been roaming about the pen all day, they go back under the lamp to have a snooze every now and then, they were so cute today, all layd on their sides, using each other as pillows! I didn't expect one of the legbars to be twice the age of others, I was concerned that she'd bully the smaller ones, but she's been so good with them, and they follow her around and copy whatever she does hehe. She's quite calm too and will already let me stroke her, the amber stars are calm too, but the others are more skitish. I will work on them once I get some corn to bribe them :) The only thing I'm worried about now is that the older one will need to go on growers sooner than the others, but can't see how I can do that? Also, can you give 3/4 week old chicks mealworms as occasional treats?
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chrismahon
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by chrismahon » Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:44 am

Great brooder box Eirwen. Cardboard boxes cut up and stuck together was the way we went. No need to clean them afterwards either, just straight in the bin. At this stage you may start to notice the feather dust, so anything in the room with them which will be difficult to clean afterwards needs sheeting over.

I wouldn't worry too much about the age difference. They should go onto grower pellets at 6 -8 weeks and some will take to them faster than others so for quite a while they will be mixed. The pellet size is important as some are too big for the transition from chick crumb -we used the smallholder range. Even then One buff Orpington wouldn't eat them and we had to crush the pellets for a few weeks. Over here they have a even smaller pellet for that transition. I would hold back on the mealworms as the chick crumb is very high in protein anyway and there will be fighting to get to them. They won't be able to digest the corn at this stage because they need grit as well -we sieved the standard stuff to get the tiny bits out for them. They have a very small system at the moment and it won't take big stuff so if they do eat stuff too big they could bind up.
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Eirwen » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:45 am

Thanks Chris! I did enjoy making the brooder box :) Luckily with ordering my green frog chicken coop online, and the other equipment online, we had lots of big cardboard boxes!
I am noticing the dust yes! Luckily theres only our wellies in there and an exercise machine we never use :-p
I do have chick grit in there with them, but they're not that interested yet. I'll hold off on the corn and mealworms for now then, is there another way to get them to come to you?
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chrismahon
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by chrismahon » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:15 pm

We found that some are just naturally inquisitive Eirwen. But the best way is simply to pick each one up every day. If they struggle or run off pick them up again. Often, as with fully grown chickens, if you just put their feet on the ground for a few seconds and lift them again, perhaps a few times, they will calm down. They will recognise your voice of course. So when you do give them treats in your hands you will be mobbed! Don't give up on the one that always runs away. One of our Leghorn Bantams still remembers the 'game' she played as a chick and will jump onto my shoulder given half a chance. She is laying now and getting noisy but can easily be calmed down by a quick 'chat'. They will all take time to talk to me -the little greeting basically says "Hello. I recognise you as a friend. Remember me?" The flighty birds are the hardest to deal with as they will instinctively run away. So pay particular attention to the Legbar. If you name them begin your chat with their name. They will often recognise it forevermore. Their hearing is very good and we whispered to Merlin, one of our cocks we bought, from 30 yards and he stopped to listen, knowing we were talking to him. You get out of your chickens what you put in very early on. Making them easy to handle helps regular health inspections and the first sign of illness is often when they stop talking, long before they look actually ill. Yes, I am a total chicken 'nut', spending so much time time talking to our birds. But that is a big part of the pleasure of chicken keeping that is overlooked by many unfortunately.
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Eirwen » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:38 pm

I'm happy to say that all the chicks are doing well! I took your advice Chris and have been getting myself and my husband to pick them up everyday, I'm getting the hang of it slowly! My husband is much more confident than I am because he grew up breeding and showing canaries with his dad, he's used to handling birds, so lucky for me he's been giving me tips! To my surprise the older legbar is the most calm, she fell asleep in my hands! She's great, not at all bossy with the little ones still, very placid bless her!
The others are more flighty, but the spekledy and amber stars will eat from my hand now :)

I have given up on using newspaper below the shavings, the scratch it up, tear strips off, and chase each other for the best strips!! So funny to watch!
I have been swaping the ceramic infra red bulb for uvb heat bulb when the sun goes down the last couple of days. I only leave it on for a couple of hours, make sure they get their vit D ! They seem more active when its on, and when I switch it off they all dustbathe in the shavings before going to sleep! They are all very cute indeed! :)

Thank you all for your advice during this time!
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Eirwen » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:48 pm

Some pics!
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chrismahon
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by chrismahon » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:17 am

They are all very sweet Eirwen and growing fast. The Legbar looks very laid back and will probably assume the roll of top hen. Reminds me of our Lucylou who hated being picked up but would hop onto your hand and be carried about anywhere. As she got much older she struggled to get off the perch so every morning would step onto my hand and be lowered to the floor. She didn't say much and was always very laid back, but when she got annoyed a simple squawk would send the others running for cover. Initially her and her sister Lottie wouldn't roost in the coop, preferring a small tree. I used to go down and get them out of it at night, which sometimes needed a pair of step ladders and a degree of patience. Problem is, although they are safe up there during the night, in the morning they may jump down into the jaws of a waiting fox. Perhaps we will get some more when we have bought a place.
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Marigold » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:10 am

Aren't they lovely? Obviously they're all doing very well, good healthy chicks and growing fast. I like the motherly Legbar, they are beautiful little birds and so pretty, especially when the little feathered 'hats' begin to grow on top of their heads. I had my Nutmeg as a chick, along with Marigold, who is the Buff Sussex in my avatar, and right from the start, Nutmeg took over, showed Marigold what to do and where to go. Now that the two of them are my oldest hens, Nutmeg is top hen, with Marigold pottering along behind as a rather scatty second in command (although Saffron, my young and assertive Brown Leghorn is pushing for this position at feeding times.)
The social life of hens is so very interesting, and I think that people who just have a few, and get to know them individually, can best observe the nuances of their behaviour.
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Eirwen » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:15 am

My husband said today (jokingly) that he feels neglected because I'm spending so much time with the chickens! I swear there's a time warp inside their box, I spent 3 hours in with them today without realizing it!
I have discovered the speckledy is by far the bravest, she flew on to my shoulder today and quite happily roosted there! She is also pecking my hands constantly in search of food, she's very quick to catch on :) Many of them will let me stroke them now without batting an eyelid, the blue ranger, sussex, and younger legbar prove to be the most nervous, and still aren't cofortable with handling, unless they are sleepy, then they will accept my hand next to them. I will perservere though!
The legbars still fly to the top of the 3ft fence to roost at night, we put them back with the others though and they stay there as far as we know. The wire can't be comfortable to perch on!

I'm loving getting to know my chicks, they are so much fun to watch! Thank you Chris and Marigold for sharing your experiances :) I'm glad I'm not the only one who spends so much time with the chooks! :) I think I will miss having them around when they have to go outside! I will not miss picking up sooo much poop every day though! I'm starting to not notice the smell in their room now, can't be a good sign! :-/
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Eirwen » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:26 am

You can see that the other chicks are catching up with the older legbar!
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