Monday, May 21, 2012

Rainy Days

Holy cow, is it ever soggy today. The fields are spongy and the water is already puddling on the hard packed patches. Fortunately, we've put the pasture pen on a high shelf of land and the water is draining nicely. However, I think if we get much more rain we'll probably have to make the chickens a pad of hay or straw so they can get off the wet ground. For now they don't seem to mind the rain and appear perfectly comfortable. Yesterday was their first rain and it didn't phase them in the slightest. They stayed out in the open part of the pen and foraged while the rain was light but I'm glad they had the sense to move into the covered half when the skies opened. They're feathered out enough to handle the heat and the cold fine but getting soaked to the skin definitely won't do them any favours.

This morning when I went out to move the pen I discovered that the chicks had broken their heat lamp. This is the second bulb they've smashed but unfortunately the design of the pen prevents us from raising it high enough so that they can't bump it. It's still too cold for them to be out without any heat and I really don't want to move them back inside, so I picked up a new lamp and am hoping it will survive for a few days - I think they'll be fine without the extra heat by this time next week.

On the health front, on remaining 20 birds are doing great. The chick that we isolated last week perked up a little bit for a couple of days and then went downhill in a hurry. She stopped eating completely, shrank down to about half the size of our other chicks and by Saturday she reached the end of the line. When it became apparent that she wasn't going to recover, Tina shot her. The original plan was to break her neck but Tina couldn't quite bring herself to do it, so the .22 came out and did the job. We've lost two birds now and I really hope the rest of them make it.

Some of the chicks brave the rain and stay out foraging.

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