Saturday evening, Matthew and I worked to get the chicks out of the bathtub. For some reason, I suspect the highly processed feed, these chicks stink SOOO much worse than the buffs did. So, I was eager to get them out of my bathroom. They seemed to enjoy the extra space and spent their time running around, chasing each other, and trying to fly. I tried to tail sex the Delawares but that is best done at a week old, not 12 days.
When I went to check on them later that night, about 45 minutes before dark, they were all piled up against the front wall by the feeder to keep warm, completely ignoring the brooder heating plate.
I climbed in and put them all, one by one, underneath the brooder heating plate to show them how to stay warm. About a third of the chicks freaked out, wouldn’t stay under the plate, and started cheeping their fool heads off. They have to be some of the LOUDEST 1.5 week old chicks I’ve ever heard. After I finished helping Matthew settle the buffs and the laying hens for the night, I went back and checked on the chicks. Using the glow of my cellphone screen, I saw that most of the chicks were happily tucked up under the heater plate, but there was a small pile of chicks crammed in the far back corner. I climbed in and moved 8 chicks from the corner, under the brooder. This time they didn’t start peeping or freaking out, but there were 1 or 2 that kept popping out to see what was going on. It was almost completely dark, so I decided that any chicks that didn’t stay under the brooder on a night that was going down in the 30’s and after all that work had to be too stupid to live. I checked this morning and all the chicks were alive and well. When I checked on them this evening, they were all tucked safely under the brooder.
It’s a good thing they’ve learned the lesson of how to stay warm. We have a frost warning in effect for tonight. I was worried about our tomato plants, because put them in the ground a couple weeks ago. They have more than doubled in size, but one frost would kill them off.
To prevent them from dying, I threw some tarps over the tomato cages. Hopefully this will keep them safe.
The buffs are learning how to deal with cold weather as well. If the wind gets too strong and cold, they all pile into the grow-out coop for some protection. I think their juvenile feathers aren’t as warm as their adult feathers will be. One thing I find interesting is there is usually one or two roosters on watch outside the coop at all times. I watched and it isn’t always the same rooster.
The buffs also took to their new lodging place like ducks to water. They put themselves to bed well before dark now. When they were in the broody house with the run, they would be out until it was almost completely dark. I guess they feel more vulnerable in an open top run. In the two days they have been in the electric poultry net run, we’ve only had two pullets get out (or maybe one pullet twice).
They are doing a really good job on cleaning the weeds around the brush pile. It looks much less disreputable now.
The Cochin is growing up to be quite a handsome, good sized bird. His temperament has mellowed out a good deal.
The broody mama hen is still going strong. I can’t see that she has left the nest at all since she was moved there. She doesn’t like being messed with, but she is very good about not being mean.
The Dominique who went broody as well has been broody on and off ever since and is still being mean. I think I need to re-read some of the stuff I read before about how to “break” a hen of her broodiness. If she won’t sit steady on eggs. we want her laying them and she isn’t laying if she is broody.