Monday, 30 July 2012

Growth Spurt

The Chickywicks have had a growth spurt.   They still have downy fur on their backs and heads and chests,  but their wings are now huge.    We put them out when the dew had mostly gone from the grass this morning (about 10am), and I put them away at 6pm.

In the meantime, I put a plank raised onto two pairs of bricks across the run.  This gives them something to jump up on to, and off from, without hurting their feet. It also gives them something to walk under, to sit under, to run under.     I'll shortly introduce them to the ladder that we will be using on the Cube (DH built a wooden chick-ladder to go over the standard one last year), but they are too small at the moment.

I also removed the side panel (with a door in - we have doors everywhere) from the Big Girls cube run and swapped it with a normal side panel from the chicks' run.  I'll swap it back when the Chicks move to the Allotment. The Girls were rather alarmed at the sight of me dismantling their run, and they came over to help/hinder/complain.

I spent quite a bit of time today with the run door open, and feeding Garvo Alfamix chicks to the boldest of them.  Four in the end, who were happy to be stroked while eating,  who now run up to the door when I appear carrying the cup.  I've had to upgrade to a large coop cup to accomodate 4 beaks at once.  One of the little blighters keeps getting into the cup though - hisher scratch reflex is so strong, heshe just can't help themselves.

I sprinkled Alfamix on the run for everyone else, and they all loved it, especially the Exchequers.  They are proving an absolute nightmare to catch, so I'm hoping that I can tame them with food.

We're going to have to put netting across the top of the shed brooder.   One of the Exchequers got so excited that heshe managed to jump out onto the side.
Cleaning out the brooder is a daily requirement now, even though they are only in it for the evening and overnight.    I guess we could leave it a couple of days really, but it's much better for them to have a clean floor each night... and it won't be too long before they don't need the brooder at all.

It won't be long now until we introduce the Cube to the chicks.  They need to be a little bit bigger before we do so, but as they are already 3.5 weeks old, it won't be too long.  We have a second Electric Hen which we will put in the back,  and that means that the chicks can stay even if the weather is a bit cooler (although not cold).  Eventually, of course, it means they will be able to stay out overnight, but they need to be more fully feathered before we think about that.

We've also got out our chick netting.  DH has staked it round the garden se could see the state of it.  Some of it needs redoing.  We've got a few days before the chicks are big enough to be allowed out of the Cube run.    Last year we didn't have such a big Run available (I bought two 1xmetre extensions second hand ready for this year) so we let them "out" earlier.  This year they are in 3metres already, and they'll have another 2 metres when we attach the Cube.  Lucky chooks.

As soon as I put them away, I dragged the Cube run to fresh grass, then raked the used grass.  I also sprayed it with water to help the remaining poo break down.  

Thank goodness it's only for a few weeks a year.   But it's worth it.

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