Tag Archives: chick photos

Lesson 1392 – Leaving the nest

For the last 13 days I have had the most incredible experience of watching robins hatch from their brilliant blue eggs to then seeing them become little, but perfect birds in their own right.

Late yesterday afternoon I noticed that the chicks were starting to stretch out and sit on the top of the nest. That’s it, I thought, it’s like when you unfold a map, once opened there’s no putting it back.

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And then this morning, I went out on the porch to find this. Continue reading

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Lesson 1390 – Eyes wide open

I can’t get enough of these baby robins. The mom and dad are very tolerant of me  – I coo to them and they no longer fly across the street when I come outside and instead just move to the end of the porch. As long as I bribe them with blueberries they don’t seem to mind me getting near the nest (and then leaving quickly.)

It looks like one of the chicks didn’t make it (four eggs hatched) but honestly with how these little guys are growing so quickly I’m not sure the nest would have supported 4 chicks. All chicks have opened their eyes and the feather growth is nothing short of amazing. It’s such a pleasure and honor to be able to see all this.

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Lesson 1388 – Blue eggs countdown – they’re here

A lot has happened in our neck of the woods. Because our Robin has nested so close to our front door and because (I hope anyway) I continue to leave blueberries out for her each morning, she has tolerated me taking quick snapshots of her little family. Just take a look at what I am so lucky to be able to see.
Lots of pipping on that top right egg.

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Oh, look, here she is giving her siblings some emotional support. Continue reading

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Lesson 1383 – Medicated mash or not?

 

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It’s chick season! My Facebook page is filled with all sorts of adorable chick photos (not that I’m complaining.)

I recently gave a chick workshop to some people who are interested in perhaps “trying chickens” (my advice? just bite the bullet and go for it.)

One way in which my workshops differ from others is that I suggest that all chicks receive medicated mash (baby food) until they are fully feathered and ready to live in the coop. Even if you want to grow “organic birds” I suggest medicated feed for those first few weeks.

Sorry, but it’s the microbiologist in me. I know what bacteria can do. Think about it. If you get chicks from a feed store they are typically housed in low tubs. Moms’ bring their young (sneezing) kids over to look at them. People pick them up (because they are so cute) and then return them to the tub (because they are not cute enough to keep.) Not only that but chicks are typically kept with many, many other chicks some of which may be weak and it’s the weaker ones that get sick. When one chick in a tub with hundreds gets sick, chances are many others will as well.

So I see medicated feed as a sort of insurance policy. Eat this for a few weeks just to make sure. Continue reading

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Lesson 1382 – Blue eggs countdown

I’ve been using this week to catch up on a lot of work that had been put aside for the past few months. I still have an article to write and a trip to the college for administration purposes before I can close up shop for the weekend.

Regardless of whether I’m ready or not, life goes on. Two days before my mother’s funeral, I got a call that our ordered chicks had arrived. I briefly thought about bringing them with us for the weekend to Connecticut but then figured the hotel probably wouldn’t be too excited about that. So I set them up in a trusty Tupperware box and found a chick sitter, who through the wonder that is Facebook, kept us connected to the newest members of our flock all weekend. Continue reading

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Happy Presidents Day

Happy President’s Day 

This is one of our hatchlings from the summer (yes, I plan ahead, how do you think I can pull off Christmas with 6 kids?) Although as a writer, I don’t have the day off, Marc does and he’s offered to take me out to lunch in celebration. Lucky me!

Tomorrow I’ll be back with my prediction of whether Charlie is a boy or a girl and give supporting evidence why. Also, this week, I’ll talk about another rooster that popped up in our flock (they were all born at the same time, it stands to reason they would all mature at the same time) and tell you about a bird that I think may be a rooster but who has now decided to talk through clenched teeth.

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Lesson 371 – Can’t we all just get along?

Honestly, taking care of a flock of young chickens is like, well, taking care of a flock of young children.

The screeching, the bickering, the pecking – oh please!, can’t we all just get along?

Back of Morgane's neck

This is one of our more mature birds: Morgane (pronounced “more-gone” – she’s a french breed). For whatever reason, the other members of the flock are now pecking her on the neck. She’s been a member of the flock now for two years and I have no idea why her sisters would suddenly turn on her unless of course, it’s the stress of having all those young ones underfoot. Can’t say that I blame them, having young ones constantly under my feet (can you say summer?) causes even me to henpeck at times. Continue reading

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Lesson 366 – Update on our littlest – Alkaia

Time for a littlest one update.

So many of you have asked about Alkaia that I thought I’d give you a bit of an update. This little one, the one we saved from being trapped inside her egg, remains the tiniest of the flock. She is so darn cute. She doesn’t run so much as hop all over the place and, like a toddler, if she hits uneven ground she tumbles over, picks herself up and continues on her way. Like a miniature the Bumble from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, she seems to bounce.

Here is a close-up of Alkaia. She is just beginning to get her pin wing feathers, you can see them starting to pop out. Mostly though, she is still covered with her baby down which makes her cute but with the temps going down into the 50’s the other night (just days after the day temps were in the 100’s go figure) she would will not be ready to go out to the henhouse for some time.

Compare her feathers and size to those of her sibling in this picture. The brown chick is well on her (possibly his – do you see that butt-bling?) way to being fully feathered. In about 2.5 weeks, she’ll be ready to go out to the henhouse to join our adult flock. By the way, the criteria for joining the adult flock is not only possessing a set of full-feathers but also being large enough so that you don’t fit through the fencing (which Alkaia does all the time).

But then there is little Alkaia. Here she is with one of her lighter colored siblings. Not only is she far behind in feather production but she’s also holding in stature at roughly 1/3 the size of the others. A standout definitely and one on which we need to keep a constant eye when we let her outside to play.

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Lesson 362 – A rooster’s butt-bling

You know that deep feeling of dread you sometimes get in the pit of your stomach. That “oh no, here it comes” sensation when you start feeling the wheels leaving the road – that the older you get, the more you pay attention to?

Whelp, I’ve got it big time, right now.

In looking through the photos yesterday, this one in particular jumped out at me.

I flagged it and every now and then I’d go back to it. Could it be? Nah, there’s no way, these chicks are only 2 weeks old, there is no.way. on.earth it can be what I think it might be.

But then in one of those great co-incidences of the Universe, Spencer came up to my office yesterday and said “Mom, I hate to break this to you but I think at least 3 of the chicks are roosters.”

Apparently he had noticed that when he put his hand in with the chicks 3 of them would essentially attack him. He said that he also noticed that they had those “things” (combs aka wads of chewing gum) starting on the top of their heads.

Hmmm, I said as I turned to my computer. Was this one of the chicks?

Spencer looked carefully at the photo. “Yup, that’s her, er, I guess now it’s him.”

Now that we are experienced chicken owners, I can tell you that those large feet on that chick? Not a good sign and that little tuft of feathers in the back is probably not butt-bling. It is most probably (but I’ll still give her the benefit of the doubt until we’re absolutely sure) the beginnings of a beautiful tail.

And I know the chick’s tail will be beautiful because I had seen the Dad: Rocky Road.

The farm where I had gotten the fertilized eggs had said they will take back all roosters so I’m not worried about the nuisance a rooster might (will) cause to our neighbors, but I also know that all extra roosters are donated to the local food pantry around the holidays.

And while that’s a noble and on some level very ethical thing to do and I understand that it’s the right thing to do, I still don’t have to like it.

 

Tomorrow the littlest one gets her name – you’re going to like it.

(and she better not be a rooster)

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Lesson 361 – my what big little feathers you have

The growth of these chicks is simply amazing.

What a big chick

Coming up on their 2 week birthday you can see that many have lost much (but not all) of their baby down and have replaced it with the feathers they’ll need to keep them warm.

Two days ago I turned off the heating lamp in their nursery. Each day after they’re born you’re supposed to raise it a bit higher as the chicks grow feathers which keep them warm. Ah, but then we had the littlest one whom I would always find directly under the light taking her naps, concerned about her welfare I kept the light going a little longer, a little closer than I normally would have.

This week we’re expecting the heat wave that has socked the mid-west, you can bet that no heating element will be on in the chick’s crate. We’ll be covering windows and keeping a fan on to circulate the room air as best we can.

Now to the down-side of baby chicks, as all moms know with growth comes poor table manners and prolific poop. Little chicks make little poops, big chicks make bigger and stinkier poop. Our downstairs is starting once again to smell like a barn (we change the bedding every other day). Not only is there more poop but they tip over the water (soaking the poop infested wood chips) and they spread their feed all over that soaking mess. Old McDonald had nothing on our house.

The results is well, rather odoriferous. We’ll not be having many dinner parties until these chicks move outdoors which if they keep at this rate should be in about 3 more weeks. I can last for 3 more weeks, I can last, I can.

Except for the littlest one – see her in the middle there? She STILL hasn’t sprouted one feather and has retained all of her baby down. Although we’re in the summer months (weeks) of New Hampshire, if she doesn’t have her feathers by the third week of August, she won’t be able to spend the nights in the hen house, it would be too cold for her.

Marc is still trying to deal with the fact that we now have a bunny on top of the dogs and chickens (and kids) – I don’t think I want to even mention the fact that there is a possibility we may be having an indoor chicken this coming winter.

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