Category Archives: Chickens

Chick flip over brooding chick lessons with heat lamps

I feel terrible that 11 chicks died the first night we got Cornish rock chicks.  I believe I over heated the chicks by using a 250 watt heat lamp bulb.  We ended up with a 75 watt house bulb which can still hear the area up under it to 100 if it is low enough.  I aim for 95 degrees for the first week.   I knew I should have put a thermometer in the brooder to begin with.  The next morning 5 were dead and others looked and ended up dying.  We saved one and kept others alive with the follow

ing techniques.

We noticed the chicks would start a death run throw their heads back, stretch out and die. If we grabbed then while they did this we would then hold them, massage them a bit while blowing  air at their beaks.  This kept them alive for quite a while as in over 30  minutes in some cases.  The next challenge was to keep them from doing this again and dying.

We were successful in keeping one chick alive who did this several times.  We used a syringe to give the chicks electrolyte infused water while we were holding them.  Dropping a drip on their beaks.  The healthier chicks kept drinking this water once we gave it to them.  A sign they were hot a dehydrated.  Another sign they were hot is they were spread out.

The final step we took with the chick that lived was to get her to start eating food.  I set the chick down next to the feeder and moved the feed around with my finger for several minutes until the chick decided to eat.  At that point she stayed calm and has lived for another day.

We started with 15 chicks which was well less than originally planned.  This enabled me to use a smaller brooder than originally planned which in combination with the 250 watt heat bulb that TSC  uses led me to assuming I should use the same bulb.  I promise to not make assumptions again.  I knew about using a thermometer but I didn’t. A bigger broder would have enabled the chicks to get away from the heat.

Hopefully these techniques will help you save some birds that are to hot or are dying of what I think is refered to as chick flip over death.

I plan to switch the heat source over to bulbs that produce red light or the heat stones that plug into bulb sockets sold for reptiles.

This photo was evidence to me that the birds were already to hot.

A photo of baby chicks that are to hot
A photo of baby chicks that are to hot
Polycarbonate panel on chicken coop for solar heat gain

Chicken coop gets Polycarbonate panel for solar heat gain

The orange PVC panel on the south side was replaced with a polycarbonate twin wall panel. The thought is this will all light in during the day to heat the ground. Also letting more light in which can help the chickens produce more eggs. After I seal the edges the panel should have a better R value than the PVC panel it replaced. I might cover the polycarbonate panel with the PVC panel in the summer time to help cool the coop.

I found the panels at homedepot. I was looking for a clear PVC panel when I found these. Not ever homedepot carries PVC or polycarbonate panels. I was told at the store that didn’t have them that they didn’t carry them because they were not approved for roofs in that area.

Polycarbonate panel on chicken coop for solar heat gain
Polycarbonate panel on chicken coop for solar heat gain

Speaking of eggs we are up to 7 eggs a day from the 9 chickens. They molted this past month and have come back strong. I think putting a heat lamp in the coop that comes on when the temperature approaches freezing is helping with they production. It is keeping them warm and providing some light.

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And a view from the inside. Even thought it is dusk the panel is letting in good light.

A view of the polycarbonate panel from inside the coop at dusk
A view of the polycarbonate panel from inside the coop at dusk
Stolen chicken feed found

Chicken food thief

Update 2nd week of December, I caught and moved him out of the coop, about 1/2 a mile away. He kept hiding the chicken feed.

Chicken feed thieving mouse
This is the mouse who was hiding all the chicken feed and living in the chicken coop.

Something is taking the chicken food and storing it in the walls of the chicken coop. I noticed some near a window and then discovered several cups worth of food in about a one inch gap in the walls. It also looked like the critter wanted to make a nest in the food box. There were sticks feathers and poop all over it. Yesterday I discovered sticks, leaves, feathers and an old bagel in a slit between the walls.

Stolen chicken feed found
Stolen chicken feed found
Critter packing materials chicken food thief
Critter packing materials chicken food thief

 

an look who I found in the coop.

Mouse stealing chicken food
Mouse stealing chicken food
Chicken molting and losing feathers

Chicken molting and losing feathers

Chicken molting is losing feathers at about 16 to 18 months of age or a multiple of that. It is obvious when your chickens are going through a molt because many of their feathers fall out and the egg production stops. The chickens look really bad when their neck feathers fall out.  She is missing neck and tail feathers.  It will be interesting to see how much the egg production decreased after this molt.  A good reason to have different age chickens is to always have some producing eggs.

Chicken molting and losing feathers
Chicken molting and losing feathers

Chicken run version two hawk proof

Yesterday I moved and changed the chicken run for the chickens. After watching a hawk eat one of the chickens, all of the runs will now have a top on them.
Since I have two runs of wire that are about 4 foot wide I used one for the side and put the other on top. I had to keep it skinny enough to keep the top from falling in. I used metal fence posts again. This setup took longer than my other setup and it provides maybe another foot of width. This doesn’t use both runs of fence though so I will probably try another triangle shape when I move it next since I’ll get twice the length if I use all of both fences.

I used removable zip ties to hold it together.
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Side view.
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Another side view.
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Hawk proof chicken run

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Hawk proof chicken run

Seeing a hawk eating one of the chickens made me realize the chickens always need to be enclosed. This is my first method which is taking the fence and laying it over so as the tops touch to form a triangle. I covered the end where the top is open with wiring along with the opening by the door to their pen.

I’m thinking about making some wooden triangles to replace the metal fence posts which the metal fence lays on. Thinking it wold make it quicker to move the run to fresh grass.

I’m also hoping I can cover this with plastic to form a kid of greenhouse for the chickens in the winter.