The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Forgetting the chick rules

Chicks going outside

After so many years of raising chicks annually, we've got chick care down to a science....until I forget to follow the rules. Problem one this year was when I started out with the automatic feeder you can see at the top of this post instead of the tray feeder I usually use with very young chicks. I had forgotten that minuscule feet can hop right in the larger automatic feeder and scratch grain all over the ground. After wasting about half a gallon of feed, I remembered and went back to the old way. I'll upgrade to the automatic feeder once the chicks are eating the entire contents of the tray feeder in a day and need a bigger reservoir.

Chicks in grass

The bigger mistake I made was completely forgetting to shut the brooder door on Friday night. Keep in mind that the brooder is located only a few feet from our back door, in an area fenced off from the wilds and patrolled by Lucy at regular intervals. Despite this supposed safety, I woke up to one dead chick, a spooked flock, and perhaps four other birds missing. (It's hard to count when they're all cowering in the weeds.) It always hurts when you lose plants or animals due to human error, but hopefully the sad reminder (plus Mark's backup memory) will suffice to keep the brooder door closed every night in the future.

On the plus side, the surviving chicks are growing like crazy and have reached that perfect age where they like to ramble through the nearby raspberry patch. It's fun watching each breed grow into its unique feathers!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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What kind of chicks are in your first picture? I have one that kinda looks like that but she's supposed to be a White Plymouth Rock except she's not white! More golden colored with really pretty black and white stripes on her wings. I'm at a loss to know what kind of chick she is.
Comment by Na Yan Tue May 5 09:33:33 2015

NaYan, my plymouth rock chicks were mostly a very pale cream color, with grayish coloring on their heads to varying degrees. Now that they are feathered out, they are all white. Anna, sorry about the chick. Do you know what got her? We had coyotes in the yard last night, but I think my coop is pretty secure. However I have a pair of goslings(they are the cutest, most personable critters) sleeping in the run, and it worries me a little. They are in a cage inside the run, but still.....

Comment by deb Tue May 5 22:48:01 2015

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