Friday, 6 October 2017

First Time Hatching Chicks Late

Hey everyone! You may have seen on my Instagram that about two weeks ago we had some little chicks hatch! It was a complete surprise, as I didn't actually expect the eggs to be fertile. Our hens go broody every now and again, whether there's a cockerel about or not, so it's not something I worry too much about.

I've hatched chicks before, but they were done in an Incubator, and after losing Bob the Duck a few months ago I vowed not to hatch any for a long time. I don't plan on having ducks for a while either. Anyway, when I was hatching in the incubator, they were born in Spring, almost Summer. this gave them enough time to grow their adult feathers and be able to fend for themselves for the Winter without a heat lamp (heat lamps are good while they are young, but can be dangerous when mixed with bedding in a small building or coop). These little guys, however, were born on the 21st of September making them very much cold weather chicks. I've also heard of them being called Blackberry Chicks at this time of year.

So, as the Crazy Chicken Lady that I am, the four chicks along with their mum are happily tucked away in my pantry. I'm very glad I don't use my pantry to store food! They're already growing adult feathers, and their wings are pretty much ready to fly (it's more like falling with style). I hope to have them moved out by Christmas, but that depends entirely on the weather.

The weather plays a big part when hatching eggs, be it ducks or chickens or any other bird. If it's too cold, they can become ill, their feet and comb can even freeze, and if worst came to worst they could die, and that's even when they are adults. As the weather here has been so unpredictable, I didn't question whether the chicks should come in or not. Their mummy hen will obviously keep them warm, and if they were wild birds they wouldn't come inside, but I'm able to provide them with more shelter and warmth so I do what I can. Plus little ones chirping away would probably invite the local hawk and other predators into the garden.

Winter chicks definitely need more care than Spring or Summer chicks. Last year my chicks were out of the house by 3 weeks and in the shed (which had been turned into a big brooder). These little guys probably wont be going outside for a good while, even if they do make it out to the brooder shed in a couple months.

If you've been following me for a little while, you might know that we also have a dog. Most people would think I'm absolutely mad for having four chicks and their mummy hen in the house while I have a dog about. In fact, when we adopted the dog (Kobi) we were told by the home visitor that he'd kill all our birds! Thankfully they were wrong, and Kobi now goes in the coop and run with us to collect eggs. Non of the birds are bothered by him, and he knows to give them their space or he'll get a peck on the nose! We all live as one big family, and each member respects the other. It might sound a bit cliche, but it's most certainly true!

Do you have any pets? Do you have, or want, chickens? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Thanks for reading,
Love, Bella xo

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