They are here and the boys are overjoyed. New baby chickens have a way of making us all feel like a kid again some how. They also pose a minor health hazard and housing problem right now for us.
My allergies have always been, to say the least, extreme but since January. They have been more than my normal crazy level. So, adding twelve little chicks with their shavings to my daily routine has been a bit of a challenge. Like any good Mom I just make sure we all wash our hands well afterwards which also protects us from anything the chickens may have bacteria wise.
While we are still working on our pig shed we really do not have a location to keep the little critters that is what I would call a perfect place. For now they are set up in a nice dog kennel, well insulated with a heat lamp in the garage. The little guys have all the food and water they could dream of and plenty of space for at least another week or two.
Baby chicks always seem to remind me that spring is coming and that nothing stays small and cute forever. Soon they will need more space, laying boxes and special treatment.
Baby chicks can often suffer from a condition known as “pasty butt”. It’s a nasty little situation, literally. Basically the chicken’s one area it has to relieve itself gets plugged up with the watery substances they are passing and it pastes the butt shut. This condition if left untreated will kill the baby chick.
So how do we treat this? Very simple really, and naturally of course. Just add some apple cider vinegar to their water from time to time during the first few weeks of having them. It is important to note that if they already are having issues you will need to clear the blockage with a damp rag and check them regularly until it clears. Anyway…chicken health lesson complete.
That one health issue aside, raising baby chicks is really a great time for kids and parents alike. Plus they are a low cost start to your homestead. If you get laying hens, as we did, they also provide you with the benefit of fresh eggs too and a more bug free yard.
If you want to try your hand at homesteading gardening and chickens are the places to start. Once mature the chickens will help tend the bugs and weeds in your garden. In return they provide fertilizer to your plants and help cut your work load but be sure to use a chicken tractor so they don’t go after your tomatoes.