Things are really moving along nicely with our little chicks and the second set of eggs in the incubator!
- “The Yellow One” has started roosting while sleeping! This is sort of a big step forward as, just a recently as a 2 days ago, both chicks would typically sleep in the area the heat lamp was still warming.
- “The Grey One” is being a rather typical Silkie and not roosting to sleep but instead choosing to sleep in the bedding. From all my research, this seems to be a very common trait of Silkies.
- Both chicks had their second trip outside on a recent warm-ish day and actually walked around a little this time. The wind was strong and I noticed them puffing out their feathers (presumably for warmth) so their trip outside was short and sweet; 4 minutes max.
- There is very little down left on their tiny bodies. I believe this is referred to as the teenager stage of chickens where their looks have almost fully matured but they still have some down and look… well… awkward most of the time 🙂 While you might be tempted to think that it’s hard to tell if a Silkie has lost their down – it’s really isn’t. Just like with regular feathered birds, you can see the little pin feathers on various spots over The Grey One’s body; indicating their “adult” feathers are coming in.
- The coop is done! At least, done enough to be warm and dry for these little fellows. Timing couldn’t be better as these chicks will probably be moving out to the coop a day or two ahead of the next set of chicks that will be hatching.
- We’re currently at Day 13 of about 21 of the hatching set.
- Of the original 17 eggs set, 10 still remain and are developing right on track.
- The remaining eggs are: 1 Jubilee Orpington, 5 Ameraucana, and 4 Silver-Laced Wyandottes.
- Of the 7 eggs removed from the set, 1 showed a blood ring (indicating early embryo death) and the other 6 were simply clear at Day 7. I’m paranoid about having a bad egg ruin the entire batch so I don’t play around and leave the clear ones in with the hopes they may develop; I simply discard the ones that aren’t developing or have ceased developing as they should.
Lessons Learned in the last couple weeks…
- Despite numerous articles out there touting the benefits of using actual tree branches for roosts I found that The Yellow One only started roosting to sleep when I put a piece of dowling in the brooder as a roost. Previously, I had a small tree branch in there but The Yellow One never seemed to be able to get comfortable on it and would constantly jump off or attempt to fly off. Now seeing The Yellow One comfortable on the dowling roost makes me happy with my decision to use dowling and 2×2 roosts in the coop. Once the birds are full side I may need to change up the 2×2 to a 2×4 but at least I won’t have to scour the forest for the perfect tree branch 🙂
- Chicken Math! Seriously, this is a thing. Essentially, Chicken Math is a phrase to describe the desire to get more chickens than you originally intended or to add to your flock. When I was recently offered some various colour Marans chicks I couldn’t possibly say no! They should be arriving end of February/ early March 🙂
- Build a bigger coop than you think you need! This obviously ties into the last point and you’ll read it everywhere – if you’re researching owning chickens that is 😉 The coop I built is 4×4 feet and I figured it would be fine for the 4-5 chickens I was intending to own. Clearly, 2 chicks + 2 to 4 more chicks + 10 possible in the current incubator set = WAY MORE THAN I EVER THOUGHT WE’D HAVE! However, you can’t count your chickens until they hatch so the 10 in the incubator aren’t guaranteed. That being said, I’ve already made plans to have a large shed and run built because I’m definitely starting to understand how people can get obsessed with chicken keeping.
- Find your local feed store and ensure they carry chick feed starter! Up here in the ‘north’ that means going to a non-big box retailer but I like it that way. I was buying 5lb bags of medicated chick feed online for between $23-$30 PLUS $20-$30 for shipping!! I went to a local feed store and picked up a 55lb bag of medicated chick feed for $19.95… I’m not kidding. Lesson learned 😉