Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The empty nest

Well, the chicks have left the building. They are now snuggly housed in the coop. They were getting so big so fast.

There was an obvious progression of things going on. The more they grew, the more they ate. The more they ate, the more they poo-pooed. The more they poo-pooed, the more they stank. The more they stank, the more I wanted them in the coop and out of my house!

We continually were adding more and more bedding (woodchips) to their little troughs, but we just couldn't keep up with the deposits left by the chicks and thus, it began to stink. Just too many in one compact location.

Don hauled them all out to the coop this morning in the dark. He talked up each batch of ten that he took, telling them about all the fun they'd have in the big coop. The chicks were fairly freaked out by their dwindling numbers in the basement, but eventually, they all made their way outside and inspected their new home.

Here is a picture of a bunch of them in the new coop. You can see how much the feathers have come in. They are not quite as cute as they once were. Their legs are also getting much thicker.
Here's another shot. You can see the cage in the background. That used to be the indoor part of the old dog run, but we've been using it as a place to feed the cats. It gives them someplace to shelter from weather, but also keeps them away from the chicks. We are so evil. Those poor cats have to eat their dry cat food while watching 77 chicks run around. Torture! And, do you see how much dust is on the light? That light was in the basement with them. They somehow manage to kick up an INSANE amount of dust. My basement is covered.
You can see here how much more room they have! Right now, it's downright luxurious. It's a mansion. But, by the time they are full grown, it will be just the perfect size to give them adequate space. That is, once we've weeded down the roosters a bit. By the way, we STILL can't really tell which is which. Someday, I'm sure we'll figure it out!

You may have noticed that I said there were 77 chicks. We originally thought we had 76, as that is what we ordered, but when we had to divide them into 2 troughs, we realized there were 78. (Hang with me here...I know that still isn't 77!) So, we had 78 for a while. But, just on Monday, when I was adding bedding, one of the chicks didn't get out of the way & I realized he was dead. We have no clue what killed him (or her!), as again, we don't really know what to look for, but I can verify that his vent was clean, which I know is one sign of trouble. So far, we've had no other trouble, so hopefully it was just a fluke. We had read that you should expect to lose about 5 percent, so I guess that's just the way it goes. It was a little sad, (it was one of the ugly turkens!), but the kids are learning to have a farmer's sentimentality about animals fast.

Anyway, our basement "nest" is now empty and it's time for me to air out, deodorize, and DUST!

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