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Budget Friendly Brooder

I am frugal. I ultimately picked our chickens based on cost. It should come as no surprise that I didn't order a complete brooder kit. Not only do I want to avoid wasting money, but I think it is important and more sustainable to reuse what you already have. There are several plans on the internet and in the books I checked out of the library to build brooder boxes. We have some wood on hand and I could always hunt out heat treated pallets if I needed more, but even building something from the ground up seemed wasteful. All you really need is a draft free secure space, where you can regulate the temperature.  I saw pictures of brooders made out of wading pools and fish tanks, but I didn't have anything like that on hand. I wandered my house a few times while trying to think of what I could use to make a brooder.

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After the first two weeks our little chicks started to become little ladies, that is, they started to develop some feathers. At two weeks they had a few here and there, mostly the outer most parts of their bodies, wing tips and tails. The degree of feathers seems to vary by breed, and their various breeds are still mostly unknown to me. Once the chickens hit three weeks old they have become a mess of new feathers, fuzz, and changing colors.

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Injured Chick

Not long after we lost the runt we had a baby chick get a piece of bedding stuck in her eye, folded down into her bottom lid and covering the whole thing. She happened to (now) be the smallest of our chickens and the same breed as the one that had passed away. Whatever type of chicken she may be has not proven to be hardy in our home. I scooped her up and soaked her eye and the bedding attached to it in warm water, gently pulling the foreign object out as it softened. I dried her and put her back with her group. Over the next day or two her eye seemed to have a film on it and she still wasn't able to see our hand if we reached for her on that side.

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They Don't All Make It

I mentioned in an earlier post that the first week is the most challenging (thus far) of raising baby chicks, mostly because they don't all make it. I was happy when we first opened our box of birds and all 16 chicks were alive and moving. We opened the box of chicks up around 4pm and watched them all evening, we ate a quick (and late) supper and then watched them some more. We noticed the strange sleeping and looked that up online. But then I noticed one of the smaller chicks who seemed to do nothing but sleep. I re-dipped her beak in the water and in the special gel that the chicks came with and watched as she laid her head down in the gel and went back to sleep.

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Chick Haiku

Sweet, cheeping little chicks

eat, drink, stink, dashing madly

the brooder is home

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