The chickens seem to be doing well. Two weeks and counting and I’ve managed to keep all of them alive. They have most of their feathers now, and look a bit moth eaten in a few places where pin feathers are still coming in. They’ve grown a great deal, and have started eating a wild bird seed mix and herbs from my garden in addition to their commercial chick starter. And they catch and eat every bug and fly they can. I found some recipes on an Organic Chicken list I joined (OrganicChickens@yahoogroups.com , nice list) and will be purchasing whole grains later this week to add to their diet.
Here's a couple of pics of the chickens.
I moved them outside a week ago, into a chicken tractor made from an old Akita crate, with one of the converted dog houses as a chicken house. All that is set up inside a dog kennel, so I can have double fencing between them and my curious dachshunds and Akitas. They love being outside. I put their heating pad inside the chicken house under their perch for extra warmth and it came in handy last week when the weather took a turn and got cold and rainy again. I put a tarp over the crate so their area stays dry. The first two nights I closed the door, but after that I’ve just left it open and they seem fine. Next week I’ll turn them out into the large dog kennel their tractor is inside, and give them a week or two there before moving them down to the pasture to their permanent home.
I got them a dog of their very own too! He’s a Great Pyrenees mix puppy I call Bear, and he likes them. Right now he stays inside their big kennel whenever I’m away. He showed mild curiosity toward them the first day, and now ignores them. He sleeps lying up against their cage and they peck at his fur. He’s quite different from the dachshunds and the Akitas, who wouldn’t hesitate to eat them. Hopefully I’ll be able to leave him with them as they mature and he’ll be protective.