Week one: Tail feathers!

The Olive Egger is the biggest of the bunch, and sporting both wing and tail feathers.
The Olive Egger is the biggest of the bunch, and sporting both wing and tail feathers.

It’s amazing how much the chicks have grown in just seven days.

They have gone from egg-sized balls of fluff, to having almost fully feathered wings and the beginning of teeny tail feathers. They now stand from 4-1/2 to 5 inches tall and have been testing their wings by taking mini-flights inside the brooder.

Hanging out at the water cooler.
Hanging out at the water cooler.

And did I mention they are poop machines?

I’ve gotten into a routine of changing the paper towel in their brooder twice a day. Considering how teeny the chicks are, I can’t believe how much poop they produce.

About midway through the week, I thought one of the chicks had diarrhea, and well, I totally freaked out. I know that can quickly kill a chick. I researched it, then called a chicken vet in Detroit for advice. He basically told me to keep an eye on the chick, make sure she drinks and eats. Once I got home, I realized the chick in question had what’s called pasty butt. It’s a condition that occurs when poop dries over the vent (where bodily fluids — and eventually eggs — pass through). Since the vent was blocked, the chick could not eliminate. With a warm wet cloth, I was able to free the blockage and the chick immediately pooped and scampered off. Situation solved!

The chicks are slowly developing personalities. The Olive Egger is much larger than the other two, but is a gentle giant. She also enjoys being held. The Marans and the Dominique are a little flighty, and scared of my hands. I’m sure this will pass the more I handle them.

Five 50-pound bags of sand. We still have another 10 to go.
Five 50-pound bags of sand. We still have another 10 to go.

This afternoon, Matt and I decided to add a little sand into the chicken coop run. With the massive flooding we experienced with the thaw, we realized we need to build up the inside of the run much higher than originally anticipated. Our goal is to have 6-8 inches of sand in there. So today we picked up five 50-pound bags of all purpose sand, which contains a lot of gravel. This will come in handy as the chicks will need grit to help digest their food.

The weather calls for temperatures in the 50s, beginning in about a week. I plan to take advantage of this warmer weather to get a second coat of stain on a good portion of the coop. We also need to hook the guillotine door to a string to make it operational.

It will be a while before the chicks will move outdoors.

I can’t wait to show them their new home.


6 Replies to “Week one: Tail feathers!”

  1. How’s the Ecoglow 20 working out for you? Do the chicks use it? I got one for Christmas, and plan on using it when I pick my chicks up in April.


    1. It’s been working out, but in all honesty when I’m home I supplement with the heating lamp. I totally think it’s unnecessary, but I wanted them to be as warm as possible in this first week. While I’m at work I use only the EcoGlow and the birds love it!


  2. Do you purchase your sand at Lowes or Home Depot? Lowes charges $1.13 more per 50 lb bag, but if you ask them to price match Home Depot, they’ll do that and also give you 10% off. We just picked up 12 bags from Lowes yesterday (we have to make 3 trips total), and paid $2.56 per bag. Just wanted to let you know if you weren’t already aware. Your chicks are very cute by the way!


  3. Yay! I have been waiting for an update. 😉 Try feeding your babies oatmeal after crushing it up in your palm with your hands. It will teach them to love the hand instead of fear the hand. Soon they will come running towards your hands whenever they see you!


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