Sunday, March 23, 2014

Raising Baby Chicks, Week 2: New Brooder!

By the end of the first week, the chicks were definitely showing that they needed a little more room to stretch their wings.  John (Peter helped, too) built our next-step-up brooder for them one Saturday morning, and before long had it all nicely set up for them in the basement.  Here they are in their new place, with the older girls looking on.  These were taken 3/01/14.
They seemed small there and had plenty of room, but from what we'd read, we figured this place would only last them 2-ish weeks really comfortably.  These babies grow FAST.  Wait until you see how they fill out the space at four weeks old.

The floor area is 4 feet by 4 feet, with walls about 2 feet high.  A friend mentioned when he saw it in real life that the pictures I'd posted on Facebook made it look much smaller than in reality, and I realized that I really didn't have very good pictures of just the brooder itself.  I tried to rectify that the other day and took some, which I'll try to link here later.  I'd post them here, but they have enormous pullets in them, which would seem out of place.

Sorry, the red brooder light is supposed to be better for them, but it kind of messes with photos.

They got to use their larger feeder we'd bought at first, but which seemed far too big for the blue bin of the first week.  It fit just right here.

We put two one-quart water containers in at this point.  They drink quite a bit.  We started trying to set them up on something a bit to hopefully help them get less trash in the water.  It might have helped a little for a while, but then they started tipping them over and spilling all the water out.  Sillies. If they did it to both waterers during the night, guess what?  They'd run out of water.  Then when you refilled them, they'd all run to surround them like parched desert creatures, poor things.  You can see where the term "bird brain" came from.  Anyway, we eventually had to get a larger water container.  Again, I hope to show you later.

Almost immediately after we put them into the new place we noticed this strange new behavior.  It was hard to get a good photo, but I tried...

They would lie down, usually on their sides, and look like something might be wrong with them.

We were trying to judge whether we had the temperature nice for them, so this was disconcerting.  Were they too hot?  Too cold?  Suddenly sick?  These weren't the signs we'd heard of to look for if they were too hot or cold.

What can you do but Google it, right?  And on some message boards at (useful site if you are starting out with chickens!), I discovered that they were most likely "sunning." 

Haha!  This thread totally cracked me up.  Here we'd been all concerned over our little chicks simply enjoying their new place and basking in the light!  Too funny!  See in this one how one is stretching out a wing, just soaking it up? 

It's been a definite learning experience for all of us.  They're interesting animals.  God's creation is truly amazing.

For more about our chicken experience, follow this link, or click on the "CHICKENS" tab at the top of the page.

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