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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Possible Sick Baby Chick?

I LOVES my baby chicks!
I don't think I've had time to post about our recent acquisition of baby chicks...so I'll start there. Isabella's 7th birthday was fast approaching and I wanted to get her something she'd remember. Five White Leghorn baby chicks from the local feed store later...mission accomplished!

I purchased five chicks, an inverted feeder, an inverted waterer, a heat lamp, a 5 pound bag of chick starter feed (since they were out of the 50 pound bags), and a cardboard box. Total was around $56.

I was told they were two weeks old when we got them and that they were all "for sure" layers. The girls loved, LoVeD, LOVED them...as did the neighbor kids. I'll upload a video of them playing in the backyard once the video completely uploads to YouTube.



Now, eight days later, Wifey texts me at work and says one chick is acting funny. With it's head tilted to one side, it keeps running into the wall of the plastic tub. I should explain that after about five days in the cardboard box, the ammonia smell was overwhelming. The girls had changed the newpaper out at least once but the smell remained, obviously soaked into the cardboard. So, Wifey retrieved a plastic storage tub from the garage and swapped out the chicks into the tub. Whomever says that chickens don't smell or make much noise, and there were more than a few of you, must not have kept them indoors.

My studies of Joel Salatin revealed that he uses a carbon based substance and admits he spends more revenue on carbon than most farmers. He puts it down in the chicken coops on the floor to combat/reverse the ammonia buildup and says that because of this, his coops don't stink. It is a non-issue with us...I'm just sayin'!

Does anyone know what carbon item he uses?

I asked Wifey to take "wobbly" out for some fresh air and see how he does. And here is the video of aforementioned "wobbly chick":



 She is very vocal, you know, as far a "quiet" chickens go.  Like any over-educated person would do about the situation, I googled it.  "Chick running into walls" led me to a forum discussing quail babies running into walls. The recommendation there was to add electrolytes to the water.

Any ideas forlks? Is he dainbramaged from the ammonia levels? Should we be bathing them? I have thrown a little bit of green grass from the front yard in their box to give them a little variety/freshness.

Thanks!

~OJD

1 comment:

Leigh said...

Off the top of my head, I recall Joel explaining his deep litter method in You Can Farm. I recall it as being called carbonaceous material, something like 30 parts carbon materials to 1 part nitrogenous materials, which would be the chicken excrement. So I believe the carbon can be anything like chopped straw, dried grass clippings (which I get with my lawn mower and bagger), chopped leaves. I used pine bark mulch when our first batch of chicks were little. Cedar isn't recommended at that age because everything goes into their mouths at first and cedar can be toxic. (Not a problem when they're bigger.) The key is to keep it loose and easy to scratch up. Sawdust doesn't work because it compacts.

Baby chicks are so vulnerable. We always lose a few. Bathing probably isn't a good idea but the electrolytes are.

Sorry for rambling on so. It's hard especially when the kids get attached. :(

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