Thursday, March 6, 2008

Day 2 as Chicken Mom

I only got up three times last night to check on my new chicks. All baby chicks survived the night, but they were very quiet and drowsy through this morning and into early afternoon and I was worried. One had pasty butt, but nothing too extreme that a little wet paper towel couldn't manage.

Now, when I first began envisioning my flock some eight months ago, I pictured having all my chickies arriving at one time, kind of like at a birthday party. This has not been the case. Wednesday (yesterday), I purchased my first six chicks, three separate breeds, at one store and needed to wait until the next day (today) to purchase another six, three other separate breeds, at another store. Mother Nature again, however, chose to play by her own rules and the Araucanas I expected today were not in the shipment. They aren't expected now until next week some time.

That's ok, we came home with four beautiful new chicks, bringing our total flock number up to ten. Maybe I'll still get two Araucana (not Americauna, like I had originally thought) next week when they finally decide to be born.

Here are the four new babes who joined our family today:
Two Rhode Island Reds (modeling hands courtesy of Alana, my oldest son's girlfriend):

and two Barred Rocks (modeling hands courtesy of my son, Teagan):

After a bit of jostling, everyone seemed to settle in fine together.
Eating, like good girls:

Doing chick investigation:

And everyone seemed to be getting along fine.

Until late this afternoon.

Nobody warned me that Barred Rock chicks are the chicks from HELL.

For some reason, these two brand-spanking new Barred Rock chicks have decided to zero in on my two, older Black Star chicks and have been - literally - pecking the crap out of them. For example, I watched in horror tonight as the bigger Barred Rock gal saw one of the Black Stars and ran (yes, chicks run), the length of the box for the sole purpose of biting the Black Star right under her little eye. The little Black Star is screeching in pain and running around the box trying to free herself, to no avail, from this piranha hen. It was awful. And it kept happening, again and again and again. Why specifically these two chicks are the target is completely beyond me.

I finally wound up dividing the chick box into two parts with cardboard this evening, sending the two Barred Rock Beasts into time-out exile. Bad chicks!!

Here is another picture of the Devil Chicks, just in case you should ever run into them on the street. I'll let you guess who the Supreme Evil One is:


  1. Oh My! I have no experience with the Barred Rock breed. My only troubles were with the two older (by 3 weeks) Rhode Island Reds that I mixed with some day old baby Buff Orpingtons, but I never had "devil chicks" before. Things should chill out in a few days when everyone gets aquainted.

    Your new babies are still incredibly cute. Thanks you so much for the great photos. I needed to see that today. Your chicks make me think of new positive growth in spring.

  2. Congrats on all the new babies! I'm so out of the loop and trying to catch up here.

    Hope you enjoyed a very nice birthday.

    Those polish babies are making me want to buy a couple more chicks just for the silly and cute factor!
    Those fluffy pompadors are hilarious!

    Crazy that your barred rocks are acting 'mentally unstable'. I don't think it's the breed standard, though. Our barred rocks are very sweet and have never caused any trouble.

    Our Rhode Island Reds, though, a different story. They both like to fluff themselves up and fly or run directly at another chicken. If that chicken tries to flee then they chase them for a bit.

    And if the other chicken just ignores the Rhode Island Red, which is what usually happens, then the RIR loses interest and goes on about her business.

    Thankfully noone gets hurt and it just seems to be a game.

    Maybe your Barred Rock is actually a rooster? They do tend to be more aggressive, even as babies. But that might make one of your Star chicks a rooster, too.
    Time will tell, as they say.

    I just hope they learn to get along before then, so they don't worry their Mama so much. haha

    In regards to their lethargy, sounds like your chicks are just tired from all their sexing, handling, packing and traveling. They'll get more lively as they settle in.

    But even for the next few weeks, you'll notice that when they are tired, they will literally drop and sleep wherever they are or during whatever they are doing.

    They need the extra sleep as they grow amazingly fast in such a very short time!

  3. If the devil chicks don't settle down I'd consider disposing of them.

    As long as the chicks are warm, watered and fed they should be quiet. When they get very noisy it's usually because something's wrong.

    I keep trying for real Auracanas but always end up with Americaunas. The two new girls have excellent ear tufts but they have rump feathers. =( I thought I had a rumpless rooster but he had rump feathers too. Maybe next time!

  4. Oh, so sorry you're experiencing the dark side of chickendom. Chickens can be ruthless. My barred rock chicks were one of the sweetest, friendliest breeds (to us humans) in the beginning. But, they were in a box full of other large breed chicks (are the ones they're picking on the smallest?) My barred rocks did end up being the top hens in the pecking order, so maybe it is due to a more aggressive nature. Keep an eye on those injured birds. Once the other chicks notice a wound they can literally peck the chick to death in no time flat. Good luck!

  5. We are doing a class at school called Mean Girls and this is a perfect example of The Bully and the Bystander. Good thing you gave her detention. She can think about what she has done. You would think she would bully the chicks with the funny hair.

  6. Uh Oh....twinville said the "R" word.

  7. I am so glad that it is you going through tried to convince me to go through this with you remember. I am just going to sit back and learn from your experiences!!! You guys sure got some mean animals though! Between your killer chicks and ga.farmgirl's Annie I just don't know!

  8. Oh my, oh my.
    Thankfully, our chickies always got along well.

  9. The chicks are cute, even the mean ones. I still can't wait for my chicks to arrive. You know on chicks they tend to peck a spot on another chick and just keep pecking that spot no matter what. I hope they have settled down.

  10. Oy. I believe participation in a 12-Step program is in order. I, myself, am quite a pro, having membership in two such organizations. You will have to Google CPA (No...not the accountants) Chick Peckers Anonymous.

  11. OHHHHHH Danni! I'm cracking up here. Your new babies are soooo cute! I agree with "twinville" you may have "you know what" on your hands. I'll have Mike tell you the story of his first straight run chicks and the morning of the "first crow". Hope everyone is doing well today! :)

  12. Your post was hysterical! The descriptions and the photo with the circles and the arrows, too funny. I don't have any barred rocks, and now I'm not sure if I want any. Fights happen and once they establish the pecking order it should settle a bit.

  13. Oh, those chicks are so mean! I have to say, sometimes our chicks pecked each other, but not hard, and not at the eyes! Man, that must hurt...
    Thanks to your pictures of the Rhode Island Red's I now no that my Lilly chicken is really a RIR...She looked just like your two when she was little. We have a mixed variety of chicks-you have 2 of each kind, we got one of this kind, one of that, etc, and about...I think around 10 of one certain kind my father liked. We had ordered 17, got 16(they just forgot one) and then a few days after getting them one died :( and then we gave 5 away to the Amish man who built our we have you'll have 12 in all? We have 10 and they lay-at most-9 eggs a you'll have a lot of eggs! ;-)

    Wow, this was a long comment....

  14. We didn't know that chicks could be evil. Thanks for the info. We sure hope your other ones arrive soon..

    Big Sloppy Kisses
    Gus and Louie

  15. Your blog is such a delight! I was really grooving on the idea of a chick birthday party and didn't think any image could top that--until it was summarily replaced with the idea of devil chicks. Maybe you could use your digital red pen to add little horns and a goatee?

  16. Hmmmm...Ok I know, KNOW Barred Roosters (even though I've only had 1 to speak of) can be wicked "turds" when they want to be. When Bill bought home those 2 roosters, Foghorn was all over them, and then, the "turd" hurt my duck. But he's a year and a half old, doesn't have a spur to speak of yet, and is nice to us humans and doesn't mess with the dog or cat either and loves and protects his hens with all his Rooster might. I would say you might have a boy in there. If it was me, I'd keep a close eye on him. Birds have a natural pecking order, and they'll establish that order by fighting, picking, being "turds". Some are agressive, some are gentle. The rest fall in between. If that brat is getting to really hurting the other chicks, I'd separate that one for a while, let the others establish their order and then return the brat to the flock. If it keeps happening and you really get uncomfortable with it, you could try keeping that one totally separate till he/she feathers out to see what you have. What I really appreciate about having a Rooster is how he keeps his girls in line and watches out for them. Keep us updated! I'm really interested in watching how your babies grow up!

  17. Thanks for your nice comments on my blog about your birthday table and Sunset magazine. How fun! I did comment on your comment there.

    I have been having a difficult week and you were so kind (and psychic!) to notice. Thank you. Your baby chicks helped brighten my mood a lot. It's so cool that you can share them with us via the internet.


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