Trials and Tribulations of Fall Born Chicks

It’s been a stressfull 24 hours in the chicken coop…

Chickens interesting poseUSE

Clover and babies got out of the coop today to enjoy the sun. This is their first day out in four days!

It was only October 30, but the weather was turning cold quickly and the winds were blowing in at 50 MPH off of Lake Michigan. We were both worried about our five week old chickens who only have feathers on their wings.

The literature says keep them at least 70 degree warm until they are 10 weeks old…well not gonna happen unless I brought them into the house and into my kitchen. And with our trained bird dog, Sassy, who does not realize yet that we have them, bringing them into the house is not really a good option.

babies up ad down best USE

Two babies on the roost and two babies on the sand litter.

And then once they are warmed up to house temperature I am certain that  putting them back out into the cold will stress them even more?

Ah, the trials of newbie fall baby chicken raisers!

Now to set the record straight, I am not a total chicken novice. I have had baby chickens before but it was always in the spring. They started out as two days old chicks and I raised then first in our laundry room since that is the warmest room in the house. Then as spring warmed up the babies went outside.

Jo Jo jumping down

Jo Jo the flying chicken, as he leaves the coop today for the sunny chicken run.

But fall babies…that is another cup of tea all together.

I had been under the miss-impression that chicken babies were always born in the spring. I was wrong. In this instance, Clover went off into the woods, laid her eggs, brooded and hatched them and then walked out with them and brought them back to the flock as day old chicks. She is one tough momma!

But fall babies bring a lot more troubles to the table and a lot more worries.

I was handling things fine when it was 50 degrees in the warmest part of the day and stayed 50 at night. But when the weather report predicted 2 7 degrees and huge windy overnight, I became a bit panicky.

So after dinner last night Gene and I were out in the blowing wind trying to put up a tarp around the coop to help to shelter the chickens from the worst of the winds. That was a bit of a comedy routine to say the least.

10-30-14 tarp to block the wind

Last nights 50 mph winds necessitated a tarp to block the wind from the coop.

We had been leaving a 60 watt light bulb on 24/7; against all the books and literature as that much light apparently stresses chickens. But what’s an adopted chicken grand-momma (me) to do?

So at 6:30 a.m. after a fairly sleepless night filled with nightmares I get up early and go out and check on them. It’s still dark out here in southwest Michigan at that time of the morning. I had steeled myself emotionally for the loss of the tinier, less mature babies. I open the coop up and everybody is awake and moving around. Momma is hissing at me to leave her babies alone….which she does every time I com near. RELIEF!

Not even the baby waterer was frozen solid like I expected. I quickly fill the baby’s feeder with started feed and close the door. I did not want to let any of that precious heat out.

I’m surprised but pleasantly so. I guess chickens have been doing just fine on their own for centuries. It the humans, like me, that are the ones that are not.

Ah, chicken adventures 101.

Small House Homestead, Donna

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