Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Chicks and More Wet Weather

My chicken flock has tripled in size in the last week! Last Thursday, Tina picked up 40 new chicks and got them settled in the brooder. For the first couple of days we mixed apple cider vinegar and honey in with their water, just to help them get off to a good start. I can't guarantee that it does anything but it certainly can't hurt. All 40 are doing well and growing like crazy. I have found that I'm much less paranoid about this batch. With the previous 20 I was out checking on them a million times throughout the day but with the new batch, I feed and water them in the morning and Tina does them in the evening and that's about it!

Things are still incredibly soggy around here and the long term forecast promises even more rain. Our 20 big birds out in the field appear to be healthy and happy but they're looking a bit grubby these days. The wet ground and the concentration of poop means that they always have some delightful brown smears on their feathers. It was so wet for a couple of days that we decided to make them a straw pad so they could escape the dampness. The first time we did it the dummies were afraid of the straw and avoided the little bed we'd made, so the second time around we spread it under the whole covered area and then put the food on top of it. Since they're willing to brave anything for a meal, the got over it pretty quick!

Although the straw mat was a good idea in theory, in practice it didn't really keep them much cleaner or drier. Because of the mat, we ended up only moving them once a day. That would be fine if they'd poop in the outside part but they just ended up pooping on the straw and then laying in it. *sigh* Unless the weather gets really nasty and the rain puddles on the ground, I think we're just going to let them live on the damp grass. They certainly don't seem any worse for wear. I hope the weather is better by the time the next batch is ready to head outside!

Shah "helping" Tina spread the straw for the chickens. He was determined to get at their grain, the little brat.

And now I'm off to give my dog a bath. He and Tina's dogs love all the poop scattered around the field but for whatever reason, Cairo and Briggs, Tina's chocolate Lab, have a special fondness for the chicken manure. Cairo especially loves to roll in it and today managed to grind a bunch into his coat before I could stop him. As a result, he's a wee bit pungent at the moment. Ah, farm life...

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