Posts Tagged ‘chicks’

Give the gift of …. chickens!


With the holidays approaching, I’m sure you chicken fanciers are perplexed about how to spread the chicken love with those who just don’t get your fowl proclivities.

Might I suggest spreading holiday cheer by giving… chickens!!

Heifer International, a 501(c)(3) charity, takes donations and uses the money to purchase farm animals for poor families in two-thirds world countries.

“Heifer’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.

By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, we empower them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope.

With gifts of livestock and training, we help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. We refer to the animals as “living loans” because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal’s offspring to another family in need. It’s called Passing on the Gift – a cornerstone of our mission that creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace.”

You can present a loved one with a certificate for a flock of chicks that was given to a needy family in Peru for as little as $20! Other options include ducks, rabbits, sheep, cows, and water buffalo.

Consider alternative giving for the holidays and share your love of chickens!

You can find more information about giving chicks through Heifer International on this page from the Heifer site.

Salmonella outbreak linked to chicks and ducklings


An outbreak of 25 cases of  Salomonella Altona has been linked to chicks and ducklings in the eastern United States, including NC, PA, OH, and IN.

Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The disease can be diagnosed with a stool sample. Onset takes 2-3 weeks, and symptoms usually last 4-7 days.

For more information and tips to protect yourself from Salmonella Altona, read the full post on the Center for Disease Control’s website.

Home to Roost Client Writes About Her Chixperience


One of my Oak Park clients is writing for Patch.com! She emailed earlier this year with a definitive “I am ready for chickens!” and asked for my Home to Roost package deal! I scoped out the yard, gave tips and pointers, checked on the new babies, and responded to a call when one of them died. Read all about it here! We Have Chickens!

4/20/2011 – New chicks at Belmont Feed and Seed


New Chicks at Belmont Feed and Seed

New chicks & ducklings coming in today. We are receiving: Araucanas,
Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, Isa Browns (Red Stars), Rhode Island
Reds,Silver Laced Wyandottes Light Brahmas & Silkie Bantams along with
some Pekin ducklings.

3036 W Belmont Ave
(between Albany Ave & Whipple St)
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 588-1144

Starve out, or “Why won’t my new chicks eat?”


Chicks sometimes need a little extra help eating and drinking!

Chicks need to learn to eat and drink – crucial first skills to master! When you get your new babies, you should gently dip their beaks in a chick waterer and watch their throats to make sure they swallow. You should also check to make sure they are happily pecking, scratching, and eating. Their little crops will be full after they’ve had a big meal.

But what if your chicks are not eating? Many times mail ordering delays chicks’ arrival and they’ve depleted their internal supply of yolk and are too weak to eat. This is called starve out. What do you do then?

First, it is crucial to separate the weak chicks from the strong ones. Weak chicks are easily trampled and may suffocate under a pile of their siblings. Keep food, water, and heat available to both groups of chicks.

To feed a chick that is a victim of starve out, follow these steps:

  1. Moisten the feed in water and make a thick gruel that is just thin enough to be pulled into a dropper or syringe.
  2. Pull the the gruel into the dropper or syringe, and place the tip of the chick’s beak inside.
  3. SLOWLY push on the syringe or squeeze the dropper so that food goes into the chick’s beak. Administer the food SLOWLY; if you go too fast, you can easily drown a chick with the food. The trachea and esophagus are very close in the throat.
  4. Watch the throat to make sure the chick swallows.

If you do not have a syringe or dropper, put a bit of the mixture on your finger and work it into the chick’s beak.

Once the chick has regained its strength, monitor it closely to make sure it is eating. Check the chick’s crop to make sure food is getting in, and watch it to make sure it is pecking. You can scatter food on the floor of the brooder box instead of placing it in the dish only; chicks peck at the ground naturally, and if food is in the way, all the better! Once it is past this crucial stage, reintroduce it to the rest of the flock. Congratulations!

Traveling Chicks Land in Illinois


The call of the day was FedEx at OHare – with a box of chicks that had been there since Saturday. They were on their way to Arizona and got stuck in IL. I picked them up this AM.

There were eight (out of 13) still alive and healthy when I got them. I had to teach them to eat and drink, though. They were from McMurray Hatchery, hatched 2/4, and the label said barred cochin bantams (5), light Brahma bantams (1), Araucana bantams (2), Rhode Island red bantams (5). The hatchery sent a replacement shipment to AZ, so these guys are now Illini! They now have a great home on the south side!


My First Chickens


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Roll back the years to 1985. I was in fourth grade, Mr. Summers’ science class. We did a project on embryology, lining up rows of white eggs marked + and 0, pointed end slightly downward, in a white styrofoam incubator. I remember peering through the plastic windows, looking at those eggs. Twenty-one days is a long time when you’re only 10 years old.

Mr. Summers taught us how to candle the eggs with a flashlight to determine the viability of the embryo. The phrase “one rotten egg spoils the whole bunch”… oh, wait, that’s the Swedish version… nevertheless, it’s true. Gases escaping from an infertile or unviable egg can ruin the hatch. We pulled those out and threw them away.

We used a scalpel and cut a tiny window in one hard calcium shell, using wax to seal it off with plastic wrap. Blood vessels carried oxygen-rich fluid to a tiny heart, beating a pulse of new life. I liked the egg with the window and candling. How exciting to see something come from nothing, a tiny life form from what would otherwise be breakfast.

The days passed. We turned the eggs. More days passed. And finally one day, there was moisture on the incubator windows. A tiny yellow chick, wet, weak, and weary, had arrived. The rest of the flock soon followed, and before long the little guys were dry, energetic balls of fluff.

Sadly, the one we’d had a window on, whose development we’d watched with curiosity over the last three weeks, didn’t make it. Like Schroedinger’s cat, it seemed the very observation of life in the making destroyed it. My 10-year-old’s heart was sad for that chick and sorry that our curiosity and desire to know more had killed it.

Did we want to take some home? was the question Mr. Summers posed. Of course, yes! My two little chicks landed in a cardboard box behind the chair in the living room. They were soon joined by my friend Sam’s chicks (her parents decided that chickens weren’t a good idea) and a fuzzy buff-colored chick from my Pappy. I’d inspect the box of avian energy several times a day, to which my mother said, “Don’t pester those chicks! You’ll kill them!”

Far from that: After all my high-quality handling, those were some of the tamest white Leghorns on the planet. Personalities became evident, and naming soon followed: Baby, the sweet, docile hen; Jitterbug, the slightly schizo, easily startled hen; Hot Stuff, alpha male; and his subservient sidekick, Little Boy. The buff-colored one, well, she  was just Red Hen.

A life-long fascination (obsession?) with chickens and other fowl followed hard on the heels of those first little fuzzy critters. I soon had my own incubator. I sold chicks at Easter, eggs to the neighbors, boxes of fowl at stock market. Ducks, peafowl, turkeys, quail, golden pheasants, geese, pigeons… The incubator was running almost all summer, and I candled and turned, and turned and candled, enjoying taking part in the process of new life. But I never cut a hole in an egg to watch a chick grow.