Last week I posted a picture of the new additions to our family, and I have been meaning to let everyone know more about them! We already have 16 laying hens, and have been talking about adding more chickens, and a few ducks, to the flock. So last Saturday we picked up 14 chicks at Rural King, and 6 ducklings at Tractor Supply. All of the chicks are pullets (female) so we will be getting more eggs in a few months, but the ducks we are unsure of the sex. From my understanding it is very difficult to sex them, and so when they make it to the stores you just get what you get. We are hoping at least one lays us an egg!
In our total of 16 chicks, we got four ISA Browns, four Rhode Island Reds, and six Buff Orpingtons. The ducks we are pretty certain are White Pekins, which are supposed to be very good egg layers….if they are female of course. Just today we did lose a Rhode Island Red, which was very sad and hard for me. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a true animal lover, and always go directly to blaming myself. I just feel so bad, but I try to understand that things like this happen. The Rhode Islands were the smallest of the bunch, and we’re pretty certain it got toppled while all the chicks were trying to huddle together. We did have the ducks and chicks together, which worried me because the ducks were growing so rapidly. But I’d like to think that the ducks being in the same brooder didn’t directly cause the little chick’s death. However, we did move the ducks to their own brooder so they can make their watery mess without bothering the chicks, and run around a bit more.
Our plan is to keep the chicks in their current brooder, give them some more time to grow, then put them in with the ducklings. The ducklings’ brooder is three foot by six foot, and is plenty big for all of them once the chicks get a little bigger. Shortly after that we will transition them in with the other hens. We will have to make some kind of pen where the littles can be separated from the other hens, but still all be able to see each other. A wooden frame with chicken wire should do the trick. Chickens can get mean and will peck at the smaller ones, so we have to take our time and watch their behavior. We probably will wait at least another month until we start to transition them.
So for now, we focus on keeping the chicks and ducklings warm and safe!