Monday, 22 February 2016

The Chicken Diaries - Week 7

I love having the chickens outside, I could watch them all day! They are scratching around the cage (eating lots of dirt, mind you), and I even chopped up some baby bok choi for them but they didn't get excited over it. They are definitely uninterested when I don't chop the vegies up small!

86g (that actually says 437g) was Bubbles' weight gain which is good since she only put on 53g last week. I saw Bubbles raise her hackles at Spot yesterday - is that a bad sign that Bubbles is probably a boy?
Cacciatore put on 71g this week, and is now trailing Bubbles in weight by 20g. She's as friendly as ever and eats very well - in fact she is the first one to get all the juicy caterpillars and worms when I offer them!
I really want to give Mary a bath - her feathers are a bit soiled. She has put on 87g this week! Being outside must be good for her, and getting lots to eat. She has been much friendlier lately, and is often flying up to my leg when I sit next to their coop watching them.
A rare picture of Spot sitting quietly - it took ages to get this photo. 103g gained this week by Spot! Spot is very skittish and runs like crazy to avoid being caught, and seems to be definitely showing some male behaviour. Spot looks most like a chicken in terms of being feathered now.
The other exciting thing is that on Saturday, they started going into the hutch by themselves! I had been putting them into the roosting house manually each night, and I remember late one night I came home and they were all sitting on the ground getting ready for bed and I picked them all up and popped them into the house. Then on Saturday I noticed that Spot and Cacciatore were occasionally going up to the house by themselves in a flurry of wing flapping, and when I went outside with the kids at 8pm on Saturday night all the chickens were already inside! That was exciting! On Sunday I watched as they went up the ramp by themselves to go to bed just before 8pm, and I'm happy that it didn't take them that long to get used to the coop as home.

I also noticed that if I let them out to wander, if I chase them, they run straight back to the coop, so that's a good sign that they're used to the coop being home.

My Dine-A-Chook came today, and I set it up inside the pen but it's a bit high! I put some stepping stools for the chickens, hope they can reach it. I also need to buy a pet food scoop at some stage and more feed.

And if you're easily grossed out, give this next picture a miss.

My fly trap is getting full of flies. And do you know what else is in there - there are live MAGGOTS inside the trap. White things crawling around in the fluid, probably devouring the other dead flies. And the smell is a bit gross, but sometimes it's hard to tell if it's the trap or the chickens. It just smells like sweet rotting stuff. And the worst part is I keep hitting the fly trap with my head when I go into the coop. I have dreaded visions of me tipping the thing over onto my hair /shudder. But, the flies are well controlled around the coop, they're not all over the poo buzzing around my head.

Mum came to visit and saw the chickens, and was quite impressed with their size. Even my 18 month old nephew beamed with childish delight as the chickens ate feed out of his chubby little hand. I think it's almost time to switch them over to a different feed!

I was tossing up whether to use Vella's Pullet Grower (which is $12 for 10kg Sydney Pet and Garden) or to use the organic Country Heritage Feeds Chick Starter Mash (which is  $24 for 10kg at Sydney Pet and Garden). The organic feed can be used from birth till point of lay, whereas the grower is from 7 weeks to point of lay. The advantage of that is that Mary is still a bit behind the others so I didn't want to start her on Pullet Grower too early. Also, they website says that Chick Starter Mash (organic one) is good for meat birds too, which is what will happen to the boy chickens eventually, so perhaps it will be good for them. And I need to get more chook feed this week again, gosh they eat a lot!


  1. They are really looking like chickens and not just chicks now!