Buttercup

New Spring Chicks

April 2, 2017 , In: Backyard Chickens , With: No Comments
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Buttercup

Spring is busting out all over in California and it’s the perfect time to add two new chicks to the Hensongs flock.   Little yellow fluff balls are so cute and “Eastery”. The warm Spring weather is perfect for them.

Thinking Ahead

A couple of months ago, we started looking at different breeds to choose the right “personalities”.  Our current gang includes a White Rock (Blanca), a Black Sexlink (Nugget), and a Speckled Sussex (Dot).  We picked Buff Orpingtons this time because we’ve had one before (Buffy). They are very gentle and quiet and good with children.  They tend to go “broody” but we’re OK with that trait since they are so darn sweet and friendly.

As fortune would have it, a friend who has a ranch in the country a few miles from us put the word out that she was ordering chicks and asked if we would like to add our order to hers. This is a HUGE benefit. We would get our chicks directly from a reputable hatchery and, in the off-chance that one is a rooster, we can re-home him back to the ranch and get a hen as a swap.

It Takes Preparation

Taking care of chicks takes extra work – just like adding any newcomer to the family.  We’ve planned our general schedule so we’re home for the next three months (with chick sitters arranged for when we’re not).  Mr Hensongs built a new indoor nursery for my studio.  The box is filled with fresh shavings with herbs and their first little roosting bar. It’s finished off with chick starter food, water with apple cider vinegar, and we hung the warming light above it.  The lid will keep them from flying out as their wings mature.  They’ll be cozy in the house for the next 12 weeks.

Hensong Creation – The brooder folds flat for storage

The Big Day

Our friend Karli helps choose his chicks

Since our Little Man is very interested in the chickens and helps his Papa (Mr. Hensongs) with backyard chores, we included him in the chicken pickup and naming.  We were cautioned by his parents that we may want to rethink the naming part, since most of his naming at this time includes butts and wieners.

Off we went to the ranch so Little Man could pick out his two new charges from the flock of 25 peeping chicks in the nursery in the chicken shed.

I think we did OK – Fluffy Butt and Buttercup joined our family.

His first job was to watch them carefully during our 10 mile drive home.  We cranked the heater in the car up as high as it went to keep the babies warm for the ride.  He took the job SO seriously. As I was sweating, he made sure I didn’t open a window!

Home At Last

Fluffy Butt

There are many opinions about how to keep chicks safe and sound for their first weeks; here’s what works for us.

  • Find a place inside for their first months – my studio works for this. I can control the day and night temperature in the room.
  • Keep them warm – The temperature in their brooder is kept at around 92 F for the first week and then slowly lowered as they grow their feathers.
  • Minimal handling – Chicks are fragile babies . This is the primary reason I don’t buy chicks from a pet or feed store. If I see that they allow people to handle the babies, I’m not adopting from them.
  • The best food – Scratch and Peck organic, non-GMO feed is what we use for all of our flock.  The Chick Starter collection is perfect – plus it comes with all feeding instructions.
  • Keep it clean – Babies are messy!  Chicks can fling food everywhere and stand in their water if given a chance; then there’s the poop.  Our brooder has a vinyl floor so it’s a snap to clean and sanitize it with some vinegar water.
  • Aroma Therapy – I have an Essential Oil diffuser and I have it running with lavender oil. Makes the rooms smell lovely and is also calming.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be entertained with sweet little peeping as I work.  Can’t ask for much better than this.

 

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Hello, I'm Linda

I am a City Girl who was raised with backyard gardens and a chicken in every plot.

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