Monday, December 17, 2012

Chicken Crazy

As of my last writing of chickens you were aware that we ordered and received two batches of baby chicks about six weeks ago.  They about two weeks apart; the Leghorns came first followed by the Dorkings.  We tried putting them together, but immediately the elder chicks started picking on the younger ones.

We keep the chicks warm in the house for the first couple weeks until they grow some feathers and until they start to smell and then we put them in the green house.  The two batches each got their own penned in area in two of the raised beds.  We left heat lamps on them at night and as they grew we opened their pens to allow them a bigger space.

Sadly the Leghorns cornered three of the Dorkings and nearly pecked them to death.  Their heads were cut and bloodied.  Leaving them would have meant infection and certain death.  Most people would have dispatched them on the spot, but we are chicken people so my wife took them to a vet to get stitched up.  They spent the weekend in the animal hospital and we got them back with a bill that was much more that we will ever recover from the sale of their eggs.

We have since moved Longhorns into the main coop and gave them some cover to prevent the adult hens from pecking them to death.  Now the Dorkings have the greenhouse to themselves.  We are going to wait several more weeks before introducing them to the other flock.

You know you are a chicken person if you go to these extremes to keep your flock alive.


Blogger ErinFromIowa said...

I am no chicken expert but I have read here and there to put new ones in after the chickens roost. In the morning supposedly the old timers wake up and think the newbies were always there.

7:48 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

It helps to introduce them at night, but they always assert and test the pecking order on a daily basis even after the order is established. Sometimes it is one breed that constantly tests the water while other accept what the order is. Really funny animals.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

This is just exactly why Ms. Gearhead won't have a chicken on the property.
When I proposed to her 34 years ago her response was, " Yes, but no chickens"!
Her dad was not a good chicken person and apparently there was always blood all over the place.
Grossed her out.

9:27 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Gearhead, You're lucky she lets you keep bees. That would be a deal breaker for a lot of people.

It's actually rare to see anything other than the occasional peck. For us they keep down the fly larva during fly season for the horses. They eat our table scraps, till and fertilize the gardens and supply us with eggs. So they are a win-win for us.

7:28 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

As long as you weren't getting a chicken chemotherapy or a liver transplant to keep it alive then a few stitches is quite reasonable.

7:26 AM  

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