Meet the chicks

As I promised, pictures πŸ™‚

Pippin is the one that I helped, looks really fine to me πŸ™‚

We’ve got chicks

Like I told you in an older post, we put some new eggs in the incubator. There were 10 Silkie’s eggs and 4 of Ameraucana.

And now we have 7 Silkie and 3 Ameraucana baby chicks. I’ll promise to show you some proper pictures with them after they will fluff up a bit, as now they are a little messy πŸ™‚

But the main thing I want to talk now is that even if I know that you should let nature take it course, is OK to help a chick come out of its egg.

I know that this might lead to problems, everybody around me told me so, every articles I read said so, but sometime you have to choose, and I decided to help a little fellow come out of its egg.

It was the end of day 19 and a little chick decided that was time to come out of its egg. I don’t really know what happened, but it didn’t make it. It just made a hole and stopped. On the second day, more than 12 ours after the first pip it was still in the same situation. Couple of hours later it managed to break a little piece of shell and kept rising it but didn’t manage to go any further. I guess it was stuck and could not make the ring in order to split the egg and come out. We hoped that the high humidity from the incubator will eventually help it but no, it didn’t. While on the day 20 and 21 others chicks were hatching without any problems it remained trapped inside its egg. Through the little hole I could see that the membrane was starting to dry out and keep it more trapped. So after almost 40 hours of trying to escape I decided to take my chances and take it out of the egg.

It was a process that made me so nervous that my whole body was shaking of emotions, but I did it. Using a small pair of tweezers I chipped the shell while with a small syringe I wept pouring warm water over the membrane. Finally I managed to take it out, peeled almost all of the membrane and than put it on a wet, warm piece of paper towel and put it back in the incubator. An hour later it was just like any other chick that hatched naturally. It still has some small pieces of dried membrane stuck to its feathers, but I will try to clean it when it will be more vigorous.

It’s a happy ending story with a happy healthy chick.

Sometimes is good to follow your instincts and do the right thing.

You will see him soon, now is not very presentable πŸ™‚Β 

We do not give up

Our first experiment of hatching chicks has failed. Most certainly the eggs were not kept in proper conditions before we got them. They were not stored for becoming hatching eggs.

But we don’t give up. We search this time to find what kind of chicken is the most friendly of all and we found out that silkies are the ones for us. So we went to see some and to get some eggs.

They truly are the most friendly, docile and calm chickens I have ever seen, so they make a perfect pet – especially for children. They like human interaction, unlike other chickens. They love to sit in your lap, snuggling up close and piping quietly like trying to tell you a story.

They come in all colors, hope we got eggs from each of them πŸ™‚

One stood in my lap for more than half an hour, just napping and piping, loving to to be pet. When I put her down she went straight to the coop, laid an egg and then came back for more love πŸ™‚

They are so fluffy πŸ™‚

Hopefully this time we will be more lucky.

Electrolytes for Chickens

A good chicken health is what we want. To keep them healthy, some time our chickens need a bit of help. In special cases, like: weak chicks, dehydration, diarrhea, heat exhaustion, shipping or traveling stress or stress caused by a predator attack or injury, they need a special drink called electrolyte drink. Electrolytes are used to replace the lost of sodium, potassium and minerals in the body. They are also used to re-hydrate and re-balance the body’s pH levels.

It is easy to make it at home using ingredients from your kitchen, this way is always available when you need it. For the dry mixture you will need:

8 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon potassium chloride (salt without sodium)

Mix all the ingredients and store in an airtight container.

When it comes to use it, just dissolve 1,5 teaspoon to a liter of water and offer the drink to your chicks or adult chickens instead of water for few hours and then give them plain water again for few hours. Repeat the process until symptoms disappear.

In extreme cases you can dissolve 2 teaspoons of the electrolyte dry mixture into a cup of water and give to the affected chick or adult chicken by eyedropper a few drops at a time.Β Only use in cases of emergency and discard any unused drink solution. Always make a new drink every time you need it.

Additions to chicks feed

I was searching for a quality, natural, non-medicated crumbs food for my future baby chicks. Unfortunately I could not find any so I ordered some online from an UK Company. This is just to offer them a good start in life. After that I am going to create my own crumbs to feed them using wheat, corn and sunflower seed (those I found to buy organic).

While I decided to grow my chicks medicated-free, this will mean to search for natural alternative to keep their immunity on the highest level by adding different ingredients to their food.

After reading lots of chicken growers pages on the internet I made myself a list with what would be beneficial additions to their feed:

1. Raw rolled oats – antioxidant, helps prevent and alleviate pasty butt in chicks, provides protein, fiber and nutrients, supports immune system health

2. Garlic powder – boosts immune system, aids in respiratory health

3. Brewer’s yeast – important for strong bone growth

4. Sea Kelp – reduce the incidence of coccidiosis in baby chicks, is a prebiotic which improves probiotic activity in their digestive system, contains calcium, iron, niacin, and Omega-3 and vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K,Β  (recent studies found that Sea Kelp has the ability to act as a natural antibiotic for poultry)

5. Alfalfa – rich in chlorophyll, carotene, protein, calcium and other minerals, vitamins B, C, D, E and K

6. Calcium carbonate (washed, dried and crushed eggshells) – important for strong bone growth

Any of these can be added to their daily feed at a ratio of 1/2 teaspoon per cup of feed.

Growing happy & healthy chicks πŸ™‚

Chicken Dust Bath Recipe

We all know that keeping chickens will, at some point, lead to parasites infestation such as mites and lice on your birds. In order to prevent this they need a dust bath.

What can we put in their dust bath to make it more efficient?

I search over the internet and found a recipe that sound really good to me and this is what I’m going to use when I will set up the dust bath for my chickens:

2 parts dry dirt or dust
1 part wood / paper ash or charcoal – make sure is clean, not from burning rubbish
1 part sand – ensures the dust bath won’t clump
1/2 part food-grade diatomaceous earth – kills mites, lice, fleas, ticks and other parasites by cutting through their hard-shelled exteriors

Optional we can add powdered dried herbs – 1/2 part of any of the following o a mix of them: sage, lavender, peppermint or rosemary

Mix well all of these ingredients and put the mixture in the dust bath. It will be a real chicken spa πŸ™‚

Organic (BIO) – The BIG question

Considering my small experiment of trying to hatch some chickens, I started to search for solutions to feed them. I’m not a “only-BIO” addict, but I try to find solutions to feed my family as close to the natural way as possible, so I also want to feed my pets the natural way.

I know that small chicks can be feed naturally using egg yolk and cornmeal, but being at work most of the day I was searching for some baby chick crumbs to feed them. And guess what, there are no organic baby chick crumbs to buy in our country. Many say that their products are natural, but none organic. They also contains medications. Maybe for a big grower that is ok, but not for me.

Now the BIG question that occur to my mind – what the “organic (BIO)-certified” poultry growers feed their birds in our country? I suppose they don’t boil hundreds of eggs and mince them to feed the baby chicks.

Hmmm?

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