Update On The Baby Chicks

At the beginning of the blogathon, we also began to raise a new batch of chicks. It had been nearly 3 years since we'd taken on this challenge and we were ready. - Well, at least we were willing. You can read how we got started here: New Baby Chicks

Over the past 3 1/2 weeks we've advanced from the tiny cage with a heat lamp to moving them to a sort of nursery cage outside. We are waiting for them to grow larger and finish filling in their feathers before we introduce them to our older chickens.

May 5, 2011
Through these past few weeks its taken quite a bit of decision making on what our next steps should be with the chicks. Its been a season where snakes have been acting unusual and I've heard plenty of stories of them getting onto porches and garages when the storms come. The weather has wreaked havoc on their habitat and feeding grounds so its no wonder they want to come live with people. I've had two so far this year, one being in the chicken coop. It greeted me at the door by hanging from the ceiling near the door and a window. It ended up being a 4-5 ft black rat snake that I had to knock out of there and unfortunately end its life. A chicken had died 2 days before and I just wasn't taking any chances. I think if I want rodent control, a cat that's a good mouser will do me just fine.

May 24, 2011
Thinking about placing the chicks outside really had me concerned that they would end up as snake food. Chicken wire has holes large enough  for a snake to crawl through, even though its may not get out after eating one the chicks. It was because of that we decided that we could use an empty rabbit hutch we had open to hold the chicks for a few more weeks. I had to modify it a bit and make some much needed repairs that was a result from a bored rabbit who chewed through the wood around the door. I sealed up every nook and cranny around the ceiling that I thought a snake could crawl through before I could feel comfortable about leaving the chicks in there.

I was thankful that the chick's nursery cage fit right in the hutch. I thought if anything, the nursery cage would provide a place where they felt secure, like a coop would normally do. Surprisingly though, the within an hour the chicks were out and about, leaving the nursery cage behind. They even slept outside of it the first night.

Its been 4 days so far and I must say I'm really satisfied with this arrangement. The chicks are safe and they are MUCH easier to care for now. No more kicking the bedding out on the floor, changing their water every couple of hours because they've filled it with bedding. I do miss their singing though. Did you know baby chicks sing? Yes, they do. Its a pleasant sound and often reminds me of my parakeet's songs. It is a far cry from the adult chickens voices that are deep and screaming at times.

See how much they've grown? (click on photo to see it better)
Through all of this, I've come to realize that having a "hospital" type of cage outside is important. I needed a place for the baby chicks to be in isolation until they develop large enough. But it also will be great if I need to house an injured or sick chicken. They need to be kept separate from the flock anyway because a) they may be contagious or b) chickens can be cruel and pick on a weak or injured one. Either way, it allows me a level of control of how they are treated.

Phase 2 is now underway and I'm thankful. I must tell you that phase 3 will make me nervous when I introduce the chicks to flock. I may have a few sleepless nights and lots of visits to see how they are socializing. A new pecking order will have to be established and I'm not looking forward to witnessing it.


  1. Oh, I LOVE hearing about your chicks. Hope to stay tuned.

  2. Thanks. Chickens are so much fun to have around also. They have WAY more personality than you'd think. They're nosey and try to not miss a thing that I'm doing out in my backyard.

  3. Melissa, weasels and fox will get into a chicken yard and coops looking for a meal. I never thought about a snake but guess that is possible. I'm petified of snakes, I don't care what size it is!


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