Raising our first round of chickens and guineas have been a learning experience for sure. We’ve learned about feeding, watering, predator proofing, and loss. We learned signs of a hen between a rooster. What to expect week by week as the chicks grew. We’ve experienced joy and sadness as we continue to learn.
We worked daily to find treats and ways to keep our chicks cool during the hot summer days. We found they loved frozen spinach leaves and beets. We’d add oregano or thyme to their frozen salad, put cold apples on a stick, and halves of watermelons to help them get some water and keep cool. We found they we’re not big fans of the sprinkler, but loved the damp ground afterwards. We also began to hear the familiar calls of “come-back” from one of our grey guineas. It was so cool to hear the calls and see them feel confident with their calls and chirps to one another. Unfortunately, we also learned our pen wasn’t predator proof as we thought.
One morning, I walked out to the pen with their morning treat of mealworms to find all but one of our chicks greeting me at the gate. After doing some looking, I found one of our lavender guineas passed away. Half eaten and feathers strewn. I immediately removed the bird and cleaned up the area. I started to look around the pen and try and figure out how to make the pen better. I plugged up the holes I found, redid the netting around the housing, and secured the bottom of the pen as best as I could. The other birds were unusually quiet for about 4 days. The kids and I worked hard to comfort the other chicks and showed them we were trying to keep them as safe as we possibly could. We also added 4 new babies to the flock. It was during this time we learned about signs of a sick chick and different ways to try and heal it. One of the babies was very lethargic. not wanting to eat or drink. All it really wanted to do was sleep. Every 2 hours we were holding it trying to get it to eat or drink something. we tried egg yolk, scrambled egg, Apple Cider Vinegar, and just plain ol’ water. We had to wash her little bum each morning due to it having “pasty bum.” We found out about Corrid, which is supposed to help, but we were too late. We lost baby chick number 2. 2 chicks in 2 weeks. We were just devastated. Fortunately we still had 3 other baby chicks thriving, so we had to keep going to make sure they didn’t get sick.
The days kept on and every morning we’d count heads, make sure they made it through the night. Every evening, we’d check around the pen. Make sure we didn’t see any holes that needed fixing. We would visit them throughout the day to keep them cool and watch them strutting around. Soon, we’d begin to hear the calls of the Guineas again. The chicks would start chirping away as they ate their treats. All was well with the world again.
All was well, until one morning about 2 weeks later, we found our beloved Red was deceased. Once again an animal was able to get in and he was gone. We grieved Red pretty good for a bit. He was so full of personality and determination. He also made it his mission to protect his flock, even the guineas that were bigger than him! The flock grieved him as well. They were very quiet again, but this time they weren’t as active either. They seemed lost without their Red. They were more skittish and jumpy without him around. It took the kids and I about a week to help them learn to trust us again. They began to meet us at the gate again as we walk towards them.
It was obvious I was missing something. I needed something better for my birds. I began to research and get a plan into action for a better coop and run for the birds. IN the next blog, I’ll discuss our changes within the flock and the new coop and run I’m building for the birds.
Here are some of the treats we give to our chickens and guineas! They absolutely love it when we shake the bucket, they know yummy goodies are coming their way! These are my affiliate links. It cost you nothing to buy, but if you do, I’ll get a small commission.
Manna Pro Garden Delight Poultry Treat, 2.25 lb
Manna Pro Mealworm Munchies, 30 oz
Manna Pro Chick Non-Medicated, 5 Pounds (Pack of 2)
We use this to feed our baby chicks until they’re about 4 weeks old. We add garlic cloves or Apple Cider Vinegar to their water to help add the vitamins they need.