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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Snow? The Chicks are Not Fans

Our little peeping fuzzballs are transforming into awkward (but cute) pullets! By the time our previous batches of chicks were at this age, we had been able to take the little buggers outside each day for a bit. This year's poor chicks have only been out once! They must  think they've come to live in some horrible jail-like farmhouse. This week (on my spring break, I might add), the highs have been in the upper 30s-lower 40s, and it actually was snowing at one point! No chance these babies got to go outside during spring break.

For those of you thinking of getting chicks or for those just interested in the process, day-old chicks must start at 95 degree temperatures. With each passing week, the general rule of thumb is that the temperature can be decreased by 5 degrees. These little peepers arrived on March 23, so they are around 4 weeks old. They should be able to happily tolerate temperatures around 75. Although I didn't anticipate the temps being that high this week, I did hope they'd be in the 60s once or twice. I would have taken them to a sunny patch in the yard for an hour or so and let them frolic!

Instead, each night, we've been taking them out and letting them run around our exercise room. They like pecking at dark spots on the hard wood floor and using our heads and arms as roosting spots.
Prudence, starting on the leg
 We're fearful that "Rita" is a "Rocky." Her comb is much thicker, she's a bit aggressive, and when we let Benson, the cat, hang out with us, she rushes after him, almost posturing. We're giving "her" lots of love, petting, and time on our laps in an effort to form a good interpersonal relationship. We hope he/she will be a silly, affectionate rooster/hen like Zappa.

Rita (or Rocky?) and Lucy-Poo
Rita the Rooster? (four weeks old)
 Sadie is a Barred Rock. She LOVES climbing. Two nights ago, she spent a good 15-minutes on Andy's head. Thank God she didn't decorate his shirt (or hair!). I've recently read that the climbing is to be expected of most Barred Rocks. For now, it's endearing. I wonder if she'll still be trying this when she's a full-grown hen!

She hopped on his head, where she firmly planted herself, moments later.
Sadie is the most affectionate of all these fuzzballs. Is it her breed or just her specific personality?

  Hopefully soon, these little chicks will get another go at worms and dirt and stuff. For now, they get to hang with the cats inside.

Benson and the chicks have an interesting relationship.
L-R: Prudence, Rita, and Lucy (3 weeks old)

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