G.F. Ranch

The beginning of His vision

Learning the Hard Way

on January 25, 2016

I am sure all of us could learn all we need to know the easy way, but truth be told, it doesn’t often happen that way.  And it’s not that we mind learning things the hard way, but we do mind when it cost a life.  We have had chickens for a bit less than 1 1/2 years.  We have learned so much through research, asking questions, friends & neighbors, and hands-on-experience.  It’s not for a lack of seeking, but we lost a newborn chick yesterday.

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Midnight

Midnight is one of our silkies.  Out of the four chicks we bought, 2 were hens and 2 were roosters. We were excited because the silkie hens had finally started laying; even though they are very small eggs.  Yet we were surprised when Midnight went broody so quickly.  Even in the beginning we continued getting an egg from Rosette (the other silkie hen), then they stopped.  We figured out Midnight was adding them to the pile under her.

My friend Em helped break some of my misunderstandings. I thought did not realize the eggs would be viable to hatch for up to a week after they were laid.  Looking back at the other two hens we have had go broody and hatch eggs, we had marked the eggs we originally gave them and would gather the others.

Our silkies don’t go up to the roosting bar in the coop, nor ever used the nesting boxes.  They gather, sleep and lay on the floor.  So we began just putting hay in the two insets )for lack of a better word) they used.  Those insets were originally put in to create nursing area, but hadn’t completed them yet.  Guess we will add it to our projects because of what we have learned this time.

We have 2 sections to our run with a door we can close when we need to separate chickens for whatever reason.  And this is what we had used when our other hens had hatched babies; which is why we had never finished the nursing areas (for a lack of another term) inside the coop.

Yesterday, Bug & Hubby come up from morning feed time for the animals and say we finally had a chick.  Bug was so excited! New life excites him and I love that about him.  He said how cute it was, gray with black spots.  But we had to get ready for church.  We didn’t get home until evening and Bug and I went down to check on the chick.  We went in the coop and Midnight was still sitting on eggs, but no chick to be found.  So we went out to the run and found a dead chick.  It hurt Bug’s heart tremendously.  It saddened all of us.

Honestly, from our experience with the other times, we felt we didn’t need to separate them until about day 3.  Maybe we just got lucky the other times?  Perhaps it was because the other hens hatched the chicks in the nesting boxes and the chicks couldn’t wander from the hens? Whatever the reason, I hate learning things the hard way when it costs a life.

So we decided when she hatched another chick, we would move them immediately to the separate area of the run.  Bug was super excited this morning as he came to tell us there was another chick, just as cute as yesterdays’.  So he went and put fresh hay in the portable nesting box Hubby created last year.  Then he carefully transported Midnight, chick and the rest of the eggs over to their new area.

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New Home

Sadly, it’s not going to well.  Midnight is not happy about the new situation!  She does go check things out in the box, but then she goes and runs along the fence line wanting to get back to the coop.  As I was in their side trying to get their feed set up, she snuck out and ran right back to her spot in the coop, even though her eggs and baby aren’t there.  It took a little longer for me to get her back to the new side since Bug accidentally locked me into the run.  So I had to wait for someone to come outside and free me.

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Baby Chick

Thankfully it’s not real cold out today, but it is very windy (as usual).  As I have been writing this post, I have been trying to keep myself in my seat instead of running back down there.  Want to give midnight a little time to see what she will do.  She may have nothing else on her mind but to get back to the coop.  But I pray she will start taking care of her baby.  Even if she does nothing else with the rest of her eggs.

But I think I need to get back down there and check on them.  I am pretty sure I will need to set the chick up in the house with a heating lamp the way we did with our first chicks if  Midnight is not tending to it. Also, Joy is laying in here with me with silent-but-deadly farts, so I need to escape.

So if you have any words of wisdom or encouragement for us, we would greatly appreciate and accept them!

 

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