Monday, August 15, 2011

Chicks, see how they Grow

Hatched on July 12, my little Cochin chicks are growing fast, and looking rather awkward.

Above with one chick (out of nine) showing after hatching.

The first two days they spent hinding under the hen, with the rooster always close by.  As the nesting area is raised I was concerned they would fall out and built a ramp.  By the third day she took the chicks out and started nesting with them under the laying area, so I bedded that with straw.

Young chicks need chick grower ration (which is what is in the dish the chick is standing on in the picture above).  They also will eat the mother hens ration, and scratch.  Chicks must be provided a safe place to drink fresh water. It needs to be a proper system so they do not get wet, as getting wet can be a real problem for chicks whose down will soak up the water (as well as getting a chill they can drown). 

Above we see the two-day-old Cochin chick just beginning to explore.

After a few more days they became quite independant.  The rooster in particular would keep a good eye out and would make a call if he suspected danger.  Rather than running to him, or the hen, the chicks would run and hide.  It was quite interesting to watch as they became invisible in tall grass in a second.

At a month old they have lost most of their down and are not looking quite as cute.  They explore and try to fly, often climbing up on some tall branches they have in their enclosure.  Their feet are getting feathers, and they are becoming quite brave.  If I offer them small bits of bread some chicks will take it from my hand, others wait for mother hen to take it and give it to them.  They also really like dandelion leaves.
Above the chicks at 1 month of age.  There are still  nine of them.

Although they are perhaps not as cute now, its interesting to see how their feathers change.  The one at the bottom of the picture looks proportionately bigger than the others, which is a bit of a trick of the camera but you can see how it has some bigger black feathers on its legs.

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