Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The New Girls - A Rocky Start

We picked up our three new chicks, an Easter Egger (“EE”), Buff Orpington (“BO”) and Barred Rock (“BR”) from Belmont Feed.  Once home we placed them in the small brooder where our Silkies lived for their first two weeks.  Being a novice chicken keeper, I was thinking I’d just separate the Silkies from the new girls for just a couple days, then integrate them.  Now that I had the new chicks, it was definitely going to be more than a couple days before integrating the two flocks.  The Silkie’s were huge compared to the new tiny girls.

3 week old Silkies on left - New chicks on right

So now in our dust filled dining room I had two brooders going, one with our three week old Silkies and the other with our new mixed chicks. 

I was up late cleaning the day after we picked up the new chicks and as I was headed off to bed, I checked on them one last time and noticed something was off.   The BO just didn’t look right.  I had been noticing throughout the day that the EE and BR were snuggling and eating/drinking together, but the BO just seemed on its own, mostly face down sleeping.   She was very unsteady and just could not keep her eyes open.  I do know that chicks fall asleep standing up, but something was wrong.  I pulled up a chair to watch through the little brooder window to observe some more, my sleep would just have to wait. 

After watching more closely, I noticed that in a matter of a day, it looked like the BR and EE had already grown, but not the BO.  I had been checking for pasty butt throughout the day and found all the girls did have a little, the BO did have more than the other two chicks.  Upon checking her again, I noticed her vent (where they poop from) was sticking out a bit.  I’m not certain whether this was my fault from maybe being a little too rough with cleaning or if it happened on its own.  Now in a panic at 12:30 a.m., I boot up the laptop and turn to BYC  for some trusty advice.  I sat for ½ hour just watching to see if she'd poop and she didn’t.   Upon the advice of BYC, I put a Q-tip in Vaseline, then gently inserted into her little vent (she didn't like that).  I put her back into the brooder, meanwhile the EE and BR kept pecking at her face.  They just wouldn’t leave the poor girl alone.    I took the BO out again and filled a little bowl some water with Sav-A-Chick and Probiotics.  She drank a ton, then her eyes literally popped open and she had a small poop.  Hooray!    

 I can’t tell you how excited I was that she perked up, what a relief.   As soon as she finished her water she started chirping and didn’t stop - like 45 minutes of non-stop annoying chirping.  I put her back in the brooder so she wouldn’t get cold and the EE and BR started totally bullying her again.   It was now 2 a.m. I decided this was out of my hands and in the hands of Mother Nature; I did what I could to help her.  Off to bed I went with a nagging feeling that I was going to wake up to a dead chick.  I was sick to my stomach.

I came downstairs early the next morning so I would beat my 6 year old to finding a dead baby chick and low and behold, she was just fine.  I don’t know if it was the Vaseline, the Sav-A-Chick or what, but thankfully she seemed okay.  She’s still a little smaller than the other two, but they now all seem to get along.  I laugh that she’ll probably end up being the biggest, yet for now she’s the most petite.

I do have to tell you that the novelty of getting pooped on has worn off a bit with the family.  Even with using old towels, the chicks always seem to miss the towel and poop on your hand.   These new guys are not getting as much TLC as the Silkies did or as many visitors.   Therefore, I do try to make sure this new batch is used to getting their cheeks pinched and cuddled as much as possible. They really are just so incredibly precious.  This is the cutest they will ever be. 

Meet the new girls.

BO (2 week old)

BR (2 weeks old)

EE (few days old)


  1. I am so excited you found my blog and in turn I get to read yours! I am going up today to pick up 2 more chicks. An Austrlorp and a Silver Laced Wyandotte - two we don't already have. I sort of wonder why I am I doing this to myself (our others are 2), yet when I get there I know I'd like to have 3....or 4 more. I know you can related! Can you search Nourish on FB so we can chat more directly?

    1. How exciting to be getting your chicks today. I contemplated a Silver Laced Wyandotte too, they are so pretty. So the big question, did you only get 2? =) I will definitely find you on FB.