Loss and Learning with Chicks
Loss: Last weekend we noticed that some of our chicks had developed pasty butt – also known as pasting, paste up, or sticky bottom. Pasty butt basically means that some of the chick’s droppings are sticking to their vent, and then harden and seal the vent shut. IT IS A VERY SERIOUS CONDITION and despite twice-a-day cleanings with q-tips, warm water, and gentle touch, three of our chicks were lost. Babette and I gave them a proper burial with flowers and a yellow crepe paper shroud.
Learning: Due to the pasty butt problem, we decided to look into natural ways of prevention. One simple answer was fermented grain. Turns out fermentation is good for the chicks’ gut bacteria too! Now we give them an ice cube tray full twice a day. They are growing fast.
We also remodeled the wool-y hen into a wool-y castle, complete with starter roosts made of twigs. The chicks love being brave and hoping up, then practicing fluttering down. They are learning to be real chickens!
Loss (and excitement): Some of our chicks are no longer as baby – they are growing real wing and tail feathers and have doubled in size. We think these might be the roosters. While we are sad to lose the cute baby-ness of them, we are excited to see them grow into big boys and girls!
We got our incubator in the mail yesterday and will be picking up some eggs on Thursday. Another learning experience is just around the bend.
Chow for now Arizona,
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