The Life of Ferndale Chickens #1 – The Babies Are Home

JudyPalmer01The Life of Ferndale Chickens #1 – The Babies Are Home

(Jillian Bogater, orig. Chicken Scratch Fever, April 1, 2014)
BACKGROUND: Jillian Bogater and Matt Greenberg are cooped up in Ferndale, which in 2012 legalized backyard chickens. This is their first time urban farming with hens. Jillian, a professional journalist, and Matt, a brownfield redevelopment consultant, added three chicks to their household in Spring 2014. On March 17 they picked up a Black French Copper Marans, a Dominique and an Olive Egger from a hatchery in Ohio. They have built a Detroit-style Wichita Cabin Coop, which passed inspection in January. Their full journey is chronicled on chickenscratchfever.com. Selected posts will be here on oc115!

Jilli, just before picking up the chicks.After spending the weekend in Cleveland (most of it holed up in a hotel room because poor Matt is awfully sick) we got up early this morning to pick up the chicks. While we were finishing breakfast at the hotel, I received a cheerful call that the chicks were ready and waiting for us.

We drove an hour away to Polk, Ohio, where Meyer Hatchery is located. When we walked into the shop, a sound wall of peeps greeted us.

We got three chicks: a Black French Copper Marans, a Dominique and an Olive Egger. I think I’ve figured out the Olive Egger, but the others look too similar to figure them out right now.HowesLocation When we lifted the lid, they were huddled on top of a warming pad, a ball of fluff.

The ride home went quick for me, since I had chirping music to listen to. Matt held the chicks on his lap, occasionally lifting the lid to take a peek.

“We’ve got chicks!” I would exclaim randomly, as Matt would nod and blow his nose.

Our first look at the chicks.

Once we got home, I ran downstairs to turn on the EcoGlow heater, and to set up the water. I needed to add a dose of electrolytes and vitamins, then scatter marbles in the water tray so the chicks wouldn’t fall asleep in the water and drown. I also made this green pile of goop called Grogel that will provide nutrients to the chicks as well.ctechad

Before we took them downstairs, I wanted to take a photo, and the most curious of all was our cat Cora. We made sure the chicks were secure, and let her check them out from a distance. Once we picked up our dog Charlie, he made a beeline for the basement. He shoved his nose against the wire mesh to sniff the chicks’ soft fuzz, then he howled. “What’s this all about?” he seemed to ask us.

Charlie looks in on the chicks.

The chicks took to the brooder well, but huddled together. Even though I put them under the EcoGlow, they scooted out in front of it, huddling and cheeping. So Matt hooked up the heat lamp for additional heat on this first day. We are both home, and will keep a close eye on it. Once the temperature in the brooder rose to the high 80s (the basement is about 56 degrees) the chicks started exploring. They walked over the Grogel pile, and even checked out the waterer.dinos02sidelogo3

I have to say, teaching a chick to drink is wild. I took each chick to the waterer, and dipped her beak in the water. I did this several times, and I’m hoping they caught on.

All settled in.

Apparently, when chicks are tired they just drop where they are at and hit the floor. They look, well, dead. I knew about this beforehand, but it’s still startling to see.

The runt of the group (I’m not sure if it’s the Marans or the Dominique yet) seems to sleep much more than the other two. Of course, this causes me worry. But really, the poor thing just busted out of a shell this morning. She deserves some shut-eye.

Speaking of shut-eye, Matt is snoring away. I’m wondering if the poor guy will ever get over this cold.

As for me, I think I’ll have trouble sleeping tonight. I have three little babies to check in on.

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