Cheep, Cheep

Posted on March 7th, 2012

Having baby chicks around is definitely the most fun we've had so far this year. They arrived on Sunday morning, which means they hatched on Saturday. Granted that's a rather small egg this guy is standing next to, but it's already hard to imagine that it could have held a chick.
As you can see, their wing feathers are starting to come in. As soon as they have their adult feathers and grow out of their fuzzy, yellow chick feathers, they'll be ready to move outside.

Since it's so early in spring, we won't want them to go outside if it's too cold. We'll keep them inside until sometime in April. All this time indoors, however, means increasing their space so that they're never crowded. We give them hay chaff to eat and scratch around in. This get them used to foraging for food, a necessary skill when they're on pasture. Hay chaff is the seeds and bits of grass left behind from a bale or flake of hay. Imagine when you pick up some hay and everything that is left on the ground and on your clothes. The chicks love it and it's is full of nutrition. We also gave them some swiss chard yesterday, which they loved.

As soon as the weather gets warmer and the snow melts, we'll let them go outside for a couple hours in the warmest part of the day. Even though they'll come back in at night, this allows them plenty of sunshine and again, lets them practice foraging.

In a month or so, they'll move to their portable chicken coops. They'll have their organic grain, fresh water and all the bugs and grass they can eat. The coops don't have a floor, so when we move them twice a day, fresh grass is underfoot for the chickens to eat. We'll let them out of the coops during the day to stretch their legs and explore their pasture but it'll be really important to keep them in the coops at night so that they're safe from predators.

Their happiness and health consumes a lot of our time and energy right now. From the moment we wake up ('have you checked on the chicks yet?') to right before we go to bed ('where's the flashlight, I want to see if they're ok since it's supposed to be cold tonight') we're thinking about them.

They're pretty darn cute and a lot of fun. I can't wait to watch them as they grow up and I'll be so excited when they're old enough to live out on the pasture. They'll be happier out there and that's what we're aiming for.

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Rebecca - March 14th, 2012 at 8:47 AM
Glad to find a new post! So cute. Keep 'em coming...

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