Escapees, Grasshoppers, Feathers and Sad News

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Posted by Jennifer | Posted in Past Posts 2010 | Posted on Fri,10-29-2010

Well, I need to be careful what I wish for.  I wanted chicks that would grow up to be good foraging/free-ranging birds, as a result I got chicks that are good at foraging/free-ranging.  Sounds great, right?  It would be except their coop isn’t even big enough to hold them.  I went out this afternoon and, SURPRISE, there were chicks running around the yard.  Fortunately they are pretty friendly so it only took about 15 minutes to catch and re-coop the 20 pint size escapees.  I quickly found their tunnel and filled it with dirt, but I’ll go out to check on them again soon.

As of a couple days ago the chicks decided they were big enough to handle eating grasshoppers.  When a slow thinking grasshopper accidentally finds itself in the coop, or when a slow moving grasshopper gets caught and thrown in (there is no love lost between myself and grasshoppers), the chicks go crazy.  Mob mentality overtakes the group and they fight over the grasshopper, tearing it to pieces.  The action is so fast pace I can’t get a good picture, but I’ve posted the best one I was able to snap.  In the picture, the little yellow dark cornish that is running onto the scene with a wild look in his eye and his beak open in full peep, really captures the emotion of grasshopper slaughter.  Chicks are cute, but this kind of behavior does help make me feel less guilty about having to eat them later on.

The feathers just keep coming.  I know the feathering process happens fast and that the birds will be nearly fully feathered by week three, but it makes me sad that they’re growing up so quick.  Their wings have even more feathers now and the down on their shoulders is starting to be replaced with feathers too.

All in all things are going well, but we did loss a couple of birds to mysterious deaths early on.  Not much of a surprise since young peeps are fragile creatures.  Last night though I found two sick birds, which I immediately removed from the coop and brought in.  Harry set them up in a box under a heat lamp and we got them to drink some water and administered each some raw egg in a syringe – no luck though.  They both passed last night.  Their symptoms were that of something called crookneck or limberneck.  It has many causes so I’m still unclear what happened to these two birds. It’s sad but 146 out of 150 chicks left by day nine isn’t terrible.  Hopefully everyone else will remain healthy.

Grasshopper Slaughter

Comments (2)

Jennifer, I am loving your website and your blog. Thank you so much for sharing. Is there a way to subscribe? Looking forward to meeting you next weekend and hopefully we can visit your farm sometime.

JoAnn, You are welcome to visit just about any time we’re home, however keep in mind the house and farm are both works in progress. I can’t figure out how to set up the blog for subscription, but I will work on that – it sounds like a great idea. We’ll see you Saturday.

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