Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Tall Shanghai Rooster

Why in the heck did they bring just a rooster, anyways? Were the hens simply not worthy of mention? Odd, in a song with a distinctly feminist bend.

Last Saturday, we picked up 21 day-old chicks (21 chicks that had hatched the day before that is, not chicks who were 21 days old). Perhaps now the chicken coop will get finished. We have time before they're ready for it, but now there is, at least, a firm time limit!



What type are they? Who knows. Mutt-chicks.

They're growing like mad, and are notably bigger today than they were a week ago.

They spent the first several days in our bathtub. Our master bedroom is set up really oddly - the bathtub and toilet area are right there in the room, visually separated by a low wall. Therefore, the heat lamp kept waking up the baby all night, and therefore me as well. Unfortunately (or thankfully, depending on your perspective) they kicked up LemurDa's asthma, and they had to be evicted to the spare bedroom. Now I'm sleeping better, and feeling a little friendlier towards them.

We lost one on Wednesday. Not sure what happened. I checked them and found one lying around lethargically; breathing, but barely moving when I picked it up. I isolated it in case it was contagious, and it died within an hour or so. Poor thing.

We don't know what happened. Did it have a contagious illness? I saw no obvious signs of an illness beyond the lethargy. No nasal or eye discharge, no obviously wrong poop. The other chicks were all normally active. It may have gotten wet and chilled, though it wasn't obviously so at the time I found it. It could have had a heart defect or something.

This led to a debate: One school of thought considers this a reason to go and dose the chicks' water with antibiotics just to be on the safe side. As newbie chicken owners who are not adept at recognizing subtle signs of chicken illness, this is tempting. However, we believe that, while antibiotics are a powerful tool, widespread antibiotics usage causes more problems than it solves. So I decided to keep a close eye on them for a while and see how they did, and do the antibiotics if any of the rest of them showed any sign of illness.

They were all fine, though I probably stressed them out a little, poking at them whenever they settled down to rest. We haven't lost any more of them so far.

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