Meet the Babies

After one brief mention at the beginning of March, I’ve failed to revisit the current baby chicken saga, or introduce you to the new newcomers.

With increasing fears that the Ameraucana chick might be the bossiest baby rooster we’d ever encountered (and unfortunately, we’ve had past experience with baby roosters), I decided to buy “back-up” chickens.

On March 8th, I brought home two baby Rhode Island Reds and a baby Gold Sexlink. Sadly, one of the Reds died mysteriously a few days later.

So now, a month later, we have four rambunctious chicks in various stages of development. They don’t get along, so we have twice the work of cleaning cardboard-box-brooders. Egad.

Aside from their chronic intestinal problems (the vet says they have yeast overgrowths–rabbit yeast, no less), they’re an awfully cute and lovable bunch. So far, the prescribed daily dose of apple cider vinegar in their drinking water does not seem to be making things better.

But, without further complaints, allow me to introduce…

Then... Fife, the Ameraucana, in the foreground and Bell, the Wellsummer, behind.

Then… Fifi, the Ameraucana, in the foreground and Bell, the Wellsummer, behind.

Now... Bell on the left and Fifi (no roosters around here!) on the right.

Now… Bell on the left and Fifi (no roosters around here!) on the right.

Then... Mavis, the Gold Sexlink, on the left and Matilda, the Rhode Island Red, on the right.

Then… Mavis, the Gold Sexlink, on the left and Matilda, the Rhode Island Red, on the right.

Now...Mavis on the left and Matilda on the right.

Now…Mavis on the left and Matilda on the right.

Though of course it’s not fair to make grand statements about chicken breeds’ personalities based on a few individuals. It’s really striking how different these girls are from each other and from the older outside chickens. Bell and Fifi are the snuggliest chickens I’ve ever seen, and seem almost more like dogs in many ways. Mavis and Mattie, for their part, remind me more of our Barred Rock. They are thoroughly indignant and affronted by snuggles or neck scratches of any kind.



8 Responses to Meet the Babies

  1. Okay, first of all, those chickens look really cool as they get older. I kind of like them in the in between stage. I’ve been seeing lots of chickens running around lately over in my neck of the woods. The good weather has been bringing them out, I think.

    Second of all, I really admire your commitment to raising these animals. I have a battle raging in my mind – do I get some or do I leave it to those who are better equipped to handle all that it takes to do it properly? I hate to say it but I know myself. I think I would prefer it if you were my neighbor. That way, I can continue on with my flighty ways and at the end of the day, we could both sit back together and enjoy some fried eggs. I really like the chickens though.

    • They are turning out pretty cool looking, huh? Their eggs should be cool looking too: blue/green for the Ameraucana and Chocolate brown with speckles for the Wellsummer.

      Honestly, though, at this point I am pretty sick of taking care of baby chickens. They are really high maintenance, especially with their pesky yeast problem. But, chickens are not that much work when they’re grown up. Another option for you would be to buy grown pullets that are ready to live outside. Then the hardest part would be building a secure coop for them, but this is a onetime investment.

      I hear you, though, sometimes it’s just easier and more enjoyable to find someone else already doing whatever it is in your neighborhood. We are grappling with how much time we spend beekeeping and wondering whether we should just leave it to all our beekeeping friends and get honey from them.

  2. I’m glad you’re doing all the raising and coop-building and vinegar-watering, thank you very much. Can’t wait to meet these gals.

    • Crikey. If we ever sell eggs they would have to be soooo expensive to come close to covering all the work and hassle of tending our beloved, pain-in-the-butt darlings.

      Can’t wait for you to meet them.

  3. Adorable, especially Fifi who is obviously going to be a stunner! Having raised chicks once which then meant introducing a feisty cockerel to the mix I’d have to say been there, got the t-shirt and never again! My neighbours have moved on to hens rescued from intensive battery farms that arrive looking ready for the pot but soon regrow their feathers and become cute and friendly girls so I’m thinking of going that route in the future Since our last fox attack we’ve both built sturdy chicken runs that will keep anything out…. gulp, perhaps I shouldn’t tempt fate!!

    • I swear I will never raise chicks again, unless there is a hen doing all the work!We have some friends who have also rescued battery hens (and a rooster) from factory farms that went under during Hurricane Katrina several years back. A very noble cause.

      In addition to never raising chicks again, I will never again get chicks from the feed and fuel store where we got this batch. They are all charming and adorable, but have yet to shake their pesky yeast problem/whatever awful else might be wrong in their guts.

      I’d love to see pictures of your fox-proofed run. We thought we’d made a keep-everything-out run for ours, until a wily rat began squeezing through the avian wire last fall, but that’s another story :).

  4. If you’ve not tried it yet, give your chooks probiotics to boost the immune system and sort the guts out. I give mine a spoonful of live yogurt mixed with porridge oats although some say dairy products aren’t good for hens. If you don’t want to go down that route there are probiotic products out there specifically for hens and a google search will flag them up for you. Hopefully I’ll have a photo of my wonderous fox proof chicken run to email to you in a day or two.

    • Thanks, Jackie! We have actually been dutifully feeding them probiotic powder recommended by the vet sprinkled on rice every evening for MONTHS. Egad. I am at my wits end with these girls. Ready for them to be yeast free and out of the house.

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