Good news!! They all arrived alive. They looked healthy and ready to lay me an egg, cause I would know…pfft! My big challenge now is to keep them breathing and healthy. They over shipped 1 baby. Either someone at the hatchery can’t count, or they figured I’d kill at least one and they gave me a bit of a buffer.
They arrived in the same box, but with a divider between the different age groups, the almost 2 week olds and the 5 week olds. What a disaster!! The box lid is one piece, not divided so the exit plan went to shit before it was executed. I had to get them out and I tried to do it one by one separately, mission impossible. Lift the lid and they are out of there!! I had to grab them as wings are flapping and chirping and squawking and what a procedure. I was sweating buckets keeping everyone apart and trying to not have a mass murder in front of me. I wanted the little ones in their pen so the big ones don’t bully them. By big ones I mean the 5 week olds. In the end, everyone got separated and no one was injured, not even me. I set up the water and feed and got the lamp going for the babies. They all kept their distance from me and the big girls went to the back of the baby pen on the outside and I thought they were going to try and get at the babies. After all, it’s in everything I read and was told would happen.
Well, let me tell you how it really works. There are 5, 5 week olds and 12, 10 day olds. Everything I read to prepare myself to be the best flock mommy I can be, all went to shit when I saw what went down in the next 30 minutes. According to books and blogs, the 5 week olds, being bigger, will bully and possibly even kill some of the 2 week olds if it gets crazy enough. Separation was mandatory.
The babies could get out of the pen .. They were small enough to fit through the holes (I have since put chicken wire around it to keep them in) and it took them 2 minutes to figure that exit out. The 2 week olds actually bossed the older girls around. The babies peck at the older girls, flap their wings and bounce off the bigger girls. Obviously, in the poultry world there is power in numbers, not just size. The big girls haven’t been mean at all to the babies. Obviously, the babies are the ones to keep an eye out for.
Pecking order is a bit disturbing to witness with the bigger girls. It’s kind of political, like they are running for office, just with not as much lying and deceit that we humans are used too. It’s all about who will be the boss, who won’t be allowed at the feeder and who’s feathers will they make fun of the most. I want them all to be so carefree and happy, not pecking at each other.
Yesterday the 5 week olds had a squabble and the smallest girl had a bloody toe. By the way, chicken feet are nasty!! They are so prehistoric looking they disturb me greatly lol. I kept an eye on her bloody toe, washed it with some peroxide and well, now I can’t even tell which one had the bloody prehistoric toe. They walk on each other, peck at each other, and sometimes even peck at the eyes😳. I want to interfere and tell them to knock it off or they’ll be sent to their coop corner for a time out, but you have to let them sort it out and the majority of it should be all done in a few days.
I’m giving them organic apple cider vinegar in their water. Many reasons. It’s good for their digestive tract, helps with any internal parasites and helps prevent pasty butt. Yes, that’s right, I said pasty butt. I also add probiotics to their feed. They help with immune function and healthy intestinal flora. I’m not doing a medicated feed for the chicks, so I’m taking other precautions, like probiotics, DE and apple cider vinegar.
Last night I added 4 tbsp of apple cider per litre … Ummm Ooops? It should of been 3-4 tbsp per gallon. Good news! Everyone was still alive this morning. I also gave the older girls a sand bath this morning … I’m paranoid of mites etc., and when Flyp gets home we’ll do the babies. I lost track of which baby had been dusted and I think I dusted one baby at least 3 times, if not 4 times. I’m bathing them all in DE and sand. The hatchery says they are mite and lice free, but for my own state of mind a dusting is in order.
Flyp & I think we know who The Fonz is. (The rooster). Oh boy, I can tell he’s going to be a handful. He spends his entire time trying to get out of his pen and bossing all his girls around. He better not be a total dickhead or he’ll be dinner before he can say Cock-a-doodle-doo!!
The big girls aren’t overly adventurous yet. They are free to come in and out of the coop into the pen all day at their leisure. They are at the point where they are at the door and even take a step or two onto the exit/enter ramp, but that’s the extent so far. I know the relocation is hard on them, so I’m giving them their space and time to get sorted and comfortable, You can tell they’ve been caged … They aren’t very ‘free’ in their habits yet. They also don’t eat fresh food. They’ve never had it at the hatchery, so they haven’t bother with it yet. Tomorrow is watermelon with their feed sprinkled on it, and hopefully they will at the very least sample it.
C’mon girls, let’s live a little!!!