Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Babies Are Growing Up!

My little chicks are heading into their teen years.  They love being out of their brooder as long as the big chickens are kept away from them.

The older chickens we acquired have pre-developed habits that are bad. In order to protect our little ones we keep them separate.  I tried to introduce them and it didn't go well.

We are in the process of creating a permanent home for the big chickens and the little ones will move into the chicken tractor.  Once the little ones have grown (11 ladies and 1 cockerel) and are laying then we will bid farewell to the older chickens.

 This is "Snowball" our cockerel.  Our four year-old named him before we knew it was a him.

 This is Samantha, "Sam".  She is the only other chick we can tell apart from the others at this stage.  The first day we tried the big and little chickens together she got attacked and all the feathers on the top of her head were pulled off and she was bloody.  She was clearly traumatized and I thought we might lose her.  But I pulled her out and cleansed her wound with witch hazel and lavender essential oil (1 Tbsp. of witch hazel and a couple drops of lavender eo) dabbed on her head lightly with cue tips.  Then I put her back in the brooder with food and water and pulled out another chick to be her companion .  Later that evening I collected the rest of the chicks and put them all back in the brooder because I wasn't going to risk putting the chicks in the tractor with the big guys.

I had nightmares that night.  I thought for sure I would go out and find her dead in the morning.  I felt so guilty and was ready to throw in the towel with the animals because I really felt it was my fault for forcing the chickens together and expecting harmony.  Next morning I went out and she was doing much better.  And now, a week later, she is totally back to normal except for her bald head.  Poor thing.
 Here are Sam and Snowball together.  They seem to have a strong bond.

Taylor enjoys the chicks while the big chickens look on from the locked chicken tractor.  We just haul out the chicks in a cardboard box and corral them up in the evening and take them back to the brooder.

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