Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Growing Chicks

Our six chicks hatched a week ago and all are doing well. They live in a brooder box in our tiny home office.
We built the brooder box a year ago, a plywood box with tall sides and a wire hardware cloth cover. The box disassembles for flat storage. Last spring we brooded the chicks in the garage during May and June, but we're ahead of the game by several weeks this year and decided it was far too cold in the garage. We can check on them frequently in the office, and we keep the door closed to prevent cat mischief.

Temperature is a big issue when raising little chicks. For the first week, they need to be 90-95 degrees, as if they were sleeping beneath a good broody hen. We provide heat with heatlamps and adjust the temperature with different wattage bulbs.

The girls have wood shavings for bedding. We covered the shavings with paper towel for the first week to keep them from ingesting it. They eat Purina chick food and lots of fresh water.We freshen their water frequently because it heats up in the warm brooder box and they prefer cool water.

Every day we watch for signs of pasty butt. Yes, that's really what it's called. Little chicks run the risk of having their vent blocked by dried poop. This is quickly fatal so we check regularly and gently wash chicky butts with warm water. You didn't think this was ick-free, did you?

The girls have been busy working on pecking order in their little flock. So far, Rhoda the Rhode Island Red seems like she's the boss, but Daisy the Delaware is no wall flower. (I'm cracking myself up!) Poppy the Partridge Rock is still the littlest and we watch out for her. Crocus the Easter Egger has had pasty butt, and we washed Daisy's butt the other day, too. Petunia the Barred Rock is Madame Mellow and doesn't let much of anything bother her. Squill the Speckled Sussex seems like the entertainer of the crowd.

So that's the chick update. If you're in the neighborhood, stop over for a quick peek. The babies are growing wing feathers and teeny little tail feathers are beginning to sprout too, so don't delay!

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