Chicken Days: The First Week

Chicken Days: Week One ~ Stories from a first time crazy chicken lady

 

Trust me when I say, that we have been on quite the adventure since April! It’s one reason why the blogging dropped off. If you follow along on Instagram, then you already know that our adventure involves some new feathered babies.

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Chicken Days: Week One ~ Stories from a first time crazy chicken lady

 

I’m really thankful that I kept a chicken journal {for the first few weeks anyway}. It has been a flurry of learning & experiences, and if you don’t already know, chicks grow into chickens in a flash! Our story began when our 26 chicks hatched on April 18th at a local Alberta hatchery. They are all female laying hens of the ISA Brown breed. It’s a perfect breed for beginner poultry folks in our climate.

 

Chicken Days: Week One ~ Stories from a first time crazy chicken lady

 

Those tiny fluffers arrived at our doorstep the very next morning, in a small cardboard box, hand delivered by a curious Canada Postal worker. We’d been anticipating their arrival for months, and had the brooder all setup in our spare bedroom, aka future nursery. Looking back, I can’t believe these gals were ever that small!

 

Chicken Days: Week One ~ Stories from a first time crazy chicken lady

 

They quickly got settled in, drinking water, nibbling food, pooping, cheeping, napping, while we dived into all the chick cuddles we could get. Ever had a baby chick sleep in the palm of your hands? So precious. I also dived into my role as mama hen, gently cleaning their vents with Q-tips, adjusting the heat lamp, and inspecting their tiny bodies. By day two, I had already named one, my favourite cuddly baby, Chickaletta, who had distinct markings around one eye.

 

Chicken Days: Week One ~ Stories from a first time crazy chicken lady

 

By day four, my mama hen role really took charge. I noticed some of the chicks sneezing, gasping for breath with their heads tilted back, and clear nasal discharge. Yep, some sort of bird cold. We immediately separated the birds with symptoms into another temporary brooder {had to send hubby out for supplies at our local UFA}, and contacted some poultry farm friends for advice. We got the birds started on meds {Tetracycline HCI} in their water, along with Oregano oil, and apple cider vinegar. It started with just two and by the end of the day six were showing symptoms.

 

Chicken Days: Week One ~ Stories from a first time crazy chicken lady

 

By day seven, after no new sick chicks and no symptoms, we decided to re-introduce the quarantined chicks into the main brooder. The quarantined chicks were treated a little like strangers and by midday, showed small signs of pecking by the other chicks. By evening, they seemed to have sorted out the pecking order among the group & all seemed content.

 

Chicken Days: Week One ~ Stories from a first time crazy chicken lady

 

We made some changes as needed to the brooder and general room setup that first week. My best advice: observe as much as you can, be flexible, and able to make changes quickly. Also, don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself becoming one of those “crazy chicken ladies”. It happens to the best of us. Ha!

 

Chicken Days: Week One ~ Stories from a first time crazy chicken lady

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