My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

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

Post by chrismahon » Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:46 am

A very happy group without doubt Eirwen. Sometimes they steadfastly refuse to be picked up but will happily sit on your hand. Chickens don't like to be touched when they are feathering up and at the moment the chicks will be growing new feathers constantly. New feathers are easily damaged and the process of growing them is clearly uncomfortable, more so for some than others. Some like to be carried facing forwards, some prefer backwards; some want their feet supported, some won't be carried with their feet supported as they then stand up; some will be carried perching on your arm, some perch backwards , some forwards. You just need to get to know what they are happy with as they will all be different.
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Marigold » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:11 am

Yes, neglect of other duties, not to speak of husbands, is a sure symptom of a bad attack of chickenitis, Eirwen. This virus can strike at any time, and once you go down with it, you have it for life. It may sometimes lie dormant for years, as it once did with me, but will inevitably flare up again. Attacks can be sudden and quite unexpected, causing the patient to feel an overwhelming need to get some chicks or pullets.

Treatment is expensive, involving the purchase of a great deal of equipment, much of which may eventually be found to be unnecessary. The patient will compulsively browse the Internet for information, and will often join an online support forum to share experiences with other sufferers. As the disease progresses, it often migrates into Morehens Disease, which can have even more serious consequences for the patient's bank balance and marital relationships.
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by animartco » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:43 pm

Hi Eirwen. A proper sun lamp might be a good idea if the weather gets dull and sunless as it did in the beginning of 2013. Also I couldn't see looking quickly through the replies, any mention of garden soil. Chicks need grit to digest. Sorry if you already know this. If they are not out on soil within days of hatching they will need a little fine 'bird grit' added to whatever substrate you are using. Also I always give babies a little chopped grass, but only as much as they can eat fresh. It shouldn't be left lying.
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Eirwen » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:55 pm

Update :) Some photos from last week!
Your comment made me laugh Marigold! :)
Well chicks are 7 weeks old now, and 1 Legbar is 10 weeks, poor girl has to wait for her little sisters now till they can go out! I'm thinking I'll see what the weather's going to be like next weekend when they'll be approaching 9 weeks old. They've had no heat in their room for a week now, and the coldest it's gone down to is 8C, and they've been fine, no huddling except for bed time.

Oh speaking of bed times, they have all taken to roosting on top of their fence now, it cant be comfortable! But every night they're on there in ond happy line! They're always back in by morning! I tried putting them back down first, but I've given up by now!

They are much tamer now, they will happily walk up my arm to perch on my shoulder, and some will just fly up there, I must look crazy with a minimum of 4 chickens roosting on me with my arms out like a scare crow!! I do think I'll miss them when they go outside :(

Oh and by the by, my speckledy sneezed 3 times in a row today.. I hope it was just one of those things, I'll keep close watch on them for any more sneezing.

Oh I do have chick grit in the pen with them thanks :)
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Marigold » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:28 pm

They're doing really well, Eirwin.
If they are going to perch on the edge of the wire anyway, maybe you could fix a length of 2" x2" planed wood, or a similar thickness of broom handle, to make it more comfortable for their feet. I think probably perching on a wire might not be good for them. Just lash the wood on to the top of the wire with strong string would be easy to do.
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by chrismahon » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:22 am

They all look fine Eirwin. We used to put ours out in the day in a run which had shelter and was wind protected and then bring them in at night.

Sometimes chickens sneeze just from dust and there is absolutely nothing wrong with them.

Agree with Marigold, they would be best with a wooden perch to avoid damaging their feet on the wire. At their age you could use something smaller than 2" x2", the important thing is that it has rounded corners, so a broom handle would be ideal. We bought a broom handle from Wilko's I think as it was much cheaper than round doweling from the woodyard.
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Eirwen » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:19 pm

Hi all! Update! Built the coop today, chicks ready to go out next next weekend, just got to sort out electric fence, will have to order more posts I think to hold it up.
As you can see we put a perch in their pen with them, though they still occasionally perch on the wire :-/ not for much longer now! They are quickly demolishing their cardboard home at the mo, scratching and pecking at it! Definitely time for them to fly the nest! They will be nearly 10 weeks this time next week!

The speckledy flies up to me every time I pass, if I bend down she's on my back in a second! She's so nosy she has to see what new interesting fluff is on my clothes! The 'ginger nut' as I call her (the 'blackrock'), is the next most friendly, and enjoys a good belly rub :) The rest are only intersted in me when I have food!

They are all coming along nicely now, and are much more interested in the grit! Can't wait to see them run free outside, though I will miss them in the house, just not their poop and dust!!
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Marigold » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:31 pm

They have come on very well, haven't they?
Do remember, though, that they are still not fully feathered enough to be able to cope with big temperature swings between night and day, and also with the cooling effect of high winds and rain in particular. Has it been possible to cover the roof and three of the most exposed sides of their outside run? After all your care it just wouldn't be worth risking them getting chilled at this stage. If they were mine, I might perhaps put them out for an hour or two if we had a calm warm day with some sunshine, but first time out of the conservatory in January does sound a bit chilly to me! They will,soon be starting their moult and growing their adult feathers, so are due to have less effective insulation in the coming 5 weeks or so as well.
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by Eirwen » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:35 pm

Hi Marigold! Not sure if you can make it out in the pic of their coop, but their electric netting is up around the coop, it's 100m long, so they will have 25 by 25m to run around in, and as it's electric I won't be able to cover it.. But they will be under a tree, and they can also get under their coop if it's rainy.. Temps outside have not gone down below 8C where we are, and though it's going to drop to 5C middle of next week, that's the coldest it's going to get here for the next month, with night time temps of 1C. But next weekend the atlantic weather is back with warmer temps and yet more rain. Also temps are only fluctuating 1-2C from day and night with this atlantic weather we've been getting. I've been keeping the conservatory door open a few hrs at a time over the last week and the coldest it's gotten to is 9.9C. Our weather last march/april was colder than we've had this january! Strange weather these days!

The seem to have been moulting this week, with their more adult feathers coming through, giving them nice tails :) Their heads are getting new feathers coming through right now, can't wait to see how they'll look!

I do hope they'll be ready to go out next weekend, as I'm starting to feel bad for them being penned in a small place now they are getting so big. Their coop will probably be warmer than the conservatory, but they will have to contend with some wind and rain should the want to venture outside. I suppose I could use the puppy pen that they have now as a sort of wind brake outside? I could peg it down around 3 sides of their coop if it would help?
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Re: My first chicks (3weeks old) Brood box?

Post by chrismahon » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:15 am

Hi Eirwen. They are looking great but you will have to be very careful putting them outside mid-Winter. They will need good wind shelter in that area so you need to put something all around the coop. You will have to cover the feeder anyway. As I mentioned before, ours went outside into special broody coop-run assemblies with solid wind protection all round and then came back at night for a while. At that age they are far more vulnerable to predators as well, even during the day. As Marigold mentioned, their feathering isn't complete yet so neither is their insulation and if they get wet they will chill very quickly so you need to keep a very careful eye on things at this stage.

Looks a good setup, but I would definitely add free standing shelters and wind breaks within the area longer term.
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