What could possibly be the downside of having little fluffy balls of cuteness hatch out – well apart from having your house smell of chick poo until you can move them on from their brooder boxes?
Early in the season I tend to keep the chicks inside for a few weeks. I then move them over to a shed in the Pear Garden. They have a heater in the shed, but can also run outside. Once they have got a bit bigger I move them into the smallholding chicken field and gradually integrate them into the existing flock.
What can possibly go wrong? Well, after I moved the chicks into the shed, I noticed that one chick was bleeding on its head. Once a chick or chicken has an injury the other birds will keep pecking at it – chickens are not always very nice creatures. I had to move this bird back in the house to heal. I started putting it with some little baby chicks for company but they just started pecking at it as well – not so cute and fluffy after all.
Then disaster struck. I should add that Zephi really does like the chicks.
When I take them outside to play in a dog crate in the front garden he counts them into the box and out of the box – I put them out for a few hours at a time when the weather is good. He is also often in the front garden with them while they are bopping around in their dog crate on the grass and everything has been fine.
I went to London for work for a couple of days this past week and while there the chicks escaped from their dog crate. Zephi was outside with them. I can only imagine he was being curious, trying to herd them back into their crate, or play with them. To cut a long story short 6 of them died – he hadn’t bitten them but I can imagine that being nosed around by a giant dog eventually becomes a little too overwhelming. This was all pretty disappointing for me. I felt bad about the chicks and Zephi.
But I have another two batches in the incubator so hopefully all will work out well with them.