So, here are my first 2 early lessons learned in the school of hard knock chicken farming:
1. You don't have to move the heat lamp very much to make a major difference in the comfort, and discomfort, of your chicks. I thought it would be a good idea to separate the meat and egg birds, so I split them into 2 boxes with the heat lamp hanging over both boxes equally. The 6 little egg birds seemed to like the idea just fine. The 10 meat birds didn't like it so much, and all piled on top of one another right under where the light was hitting. Just in case you were wondering what would happen if 9 of your brothers and sisters all piled on top of you and went to sleep for the afternoon... you will die.
|From the book, The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals|
2a. Get a container that you're not going to be sorry to throw away when you're done. No one's going to want to eat out of your cereal bowls if they find out you've been soaking off chicken shit in them. We used one of our large 32oz yogurt containers that was otherwise headed for the recycling bin, and cut the top off of it (to make it wide enough for a baby chicken tub, but shallow enough that if we dropped the chick, it couldn't sink far enough to drown)
2b. Fill you mini spa tub with warm water, and set your chick's bum in. Let it soak for a minute or so.
2c. Using a warm wet paper towel, gently wipe the crusty poo bits away. If they're not budging, soak again. You don't want to pull at them because they can take skin away with them when they tear off.
2d. When things look spick-and-span, dab any soaking wet parts with a dry towel, and plop your chick back in it's box under the heat lamp.
2e. Prevent from happening again by adding some smashed up oatmeal bits to their food. Thanks to some awesome forums on the Backyard Chickens site for this tid-bit of advice.
2f. Thank your husband for some quality time spent together wiping off chicken bums with you.
If anyone else out there has dealt with either of these issues, I'd love to hear about your trials, tribulations, and suggestions. I'm a big fan of learning from other peoples' knocks...
Thanks for stopping by,