The chicks have been with us for almost four weeks now. They've transformed and are quadrupedal their once fluffy little ball selves. So, I'm going to do an update. Today we'll cover their growing needs and challenges that have been faced and overcome.
The first brooding box was great for the first week and a half or so, but a new brooding box was required. We went into this knowing we would have to upgrade, just didn't realize it was going to need updating so soon. The new box is in the same space as the first one. (On top of my washer and dryer.)
We took a cube organizer set that was being used for shoes. These sets come with one foot by one foot squares that can be connected like those building sets for kids. I managed to setup a six square feet box and along with a bit of chicken wire and a project board made a much bigger box. An old screen worked really well as a window on the board.
Along with needing to upgrade their feeder, I also discovered these chicks need more than a five pound bag of chick feed. That first bag of feed lasted as long as the first brooding box. We've now switched to a 25 pound bag and I plan on buying that size until they can move to adult chicken feed.
The feeder was quickly outgrown. So I took a two liter bottle and remade the feeder. It's the same basic design as the first one, only bigger. These chicks have found a number of ways to turn over the feeder. It's been a back and forth creative challenge to secure the thing. We've finally found a way to anchor it to the side and a roosting bar above.
This challenge has not been the fault of the chicks, but of my daughter. She's discovered a fear of our feathered friends. This means she's not reaching over top of them to the water, which has to been freshened daily. Also, she's not touching the chicks at all anymore, but more about that in a minute.
The water dispenser has been a dream. No real issue at all. The chicks can use it, but I did have to add a lid to the top once that got bigger. They like to jump up and try to roost on the thing.
I've left figuring out the coop to my husband and daughter. They're somewhere in that process. I see no sign of it, but I've been promised it will appear before the six week mark. A friend offered a coop he no longer used. It's going to require a truck or a trailer to relocate to our yard, but that's not on me.
If there are no signs of the coop by the end of week five I've got a backup plan.
As I wrote above, my daughter has developed a fear of these chicks. Not going to lie, this was not a surprise for me. Chickens, even little chicks, have nails for feet. They have feathers. They peek. My girl just is not comfortable yet with any of this. She's getting there, but it's a process. She is acting as guard when the chicks are brought out of the box to roam around a bit.
We have a baby gate used to block the door from the dogs and cats. My daughter sits in the hallway, sometimes on top of the dog, to keep the peace. She's also really good about making sure the chicks have food and lets me know about the water when she checks on them. So, progress.
In the end...
I'm convinced these chicks are going to shed all those feather and prove to be little raptors. They are fierce and smart. The four of them search the brooding box for weaknesses. They stare at you through the seams and the screen window. So, if they turn out to really be dinos I'm not going to be surprised.