Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Raising Your Own Chicks




With all the attention I've been giving to the Robin family, the arrival of these three little chaps, or rather  chapesses, let's hope, has gone fairly unremarked. They're about three weeks old now, and looking a bit less adorable than they did when they arrived, as they are starting to lose all their soft down and grow proper feathers, which makes them look a bit tatty for a week or two. I did take a pic of them at their downy best..

- note  I gave them a pretend Mum as they were hatched in the incubator so didn't have a proper mum. I kept them under a heat lamp for the first week or so, but they seem fine in a large cardboard box by the Aga now, where they will stay until they are fully feathered, hopefully at about five weeks or so. Then they can go outside and start exploring the big wide world. 
Sadly I only managed to deliver three of the six eggs I had, - I always find incubators more problematic than a broody hen, - there was nothing wrong with the eggs I had, two of the three had died in shell and one had failed to develop. Hopefully the next lot I do I will have a broody for, and won't have the same problems. But for now I have three lovely English Cuckoo Maran chicks, let's hope they're hens not cockerels.

..
What with the chicks, and the Robincam it's just babies. babies, babies round here these days....

14 comments:

  1. Aw, how lovely to have made a pretend Mum. I can't believe you haven't shown the chicks to us before now!
    We've got two broody hens at the moment but they've both decided to sit in the nest box that all the hens favour for laying their eggs in.

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  2. A very proud and busy grandmother, lovely chicks.....feathered and otherwise.

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  3. Nothing like babies, in any guise.

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  4. I have a few hens I can send you -- the ones that keep escaping the coop. I have no idea how. Sneaky chickens. :)

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  5. Oh how sweet! We had baby ducks some years ago and they were so gorgeous- one used to crawl up onto my shoulder and hide under my hair. Thankyou so much for the robincam- my 6 year old loves visiting your blog to take a peak.

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  6. Sorry LBM time's the issue for me at the moment, will try to keep up with the blog I promise...

    Thanks Louise and Doc, babies are all lovely aren't they

    would love a few of your spares at the moment Nancy, but i fancy the trip from Nebraska's a bit far for a chicken...

    That's really lovely to hear Tammykingdon, must be my youngest blog visitor!

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  7. It seems that you are being kept very busy at the moment what with one thing or another.

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  8. We've beent thinking about an incubator, but was not sure how the chicks would learn the art of survival without a mum to show them the way. We did have a three fledglings thrown out of the nest a while ago, and Lester raised them successfully, but they bonded to him and used to sit on the doorstep waiting for him to appear. Any thoughts about how you stop the bonding thing happening?

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  9. Nothing more time consuming than babies Rob, or one sort or another!

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  10. Hi Vera
    I'm not sure that you can stop the bonding really - it's for this reason and many others that I so much prefer to use a broody hen to raise new chicks. I've never tried rearing wild birds in that way, I'm sure it must require great dedication, chickens do seem to get past the dependency stage though when they go outside. One upside is that they are usually easier to handle when they've been incubator raised. Interesting subject though, thanks for raising it.Kathy

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  11. I agree about the preferring the broody hen route for raising chicks, Kathy. It is such a delightful experience seeing the mother hen trundle her brood around the place, showing them how to live. Having had the experience of having chicks minus a mum wondering around, I much prefer the first option, although all was well in the end and the orphans became accepted into the flock eventually. It is just that I thought they missed out somehow.

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  12. They are so cute and I'm glad they survived without a mother hen to keep them warm.--Inger

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  13. love thefamilypic ( and I am talking about the non chicken one)
    the chicks are sweet too!!!!

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