Our two little sickly Barred Rocks are 41 days old today. They look about three weeks old, spend a great deal of time with their two little beaks burrowed into the corner of the brooder cage in the sunny and warm garden room. They still do not get on a perch, nor show any interest in mealy worm treats or fresh picked chickweed. They do peep around in the mornings, are eating their starter feed again, and no longer have diarrhea. They look like they went through a agitator washer and were blow dried on high. Poor little things.
These chicks did not eat well from the time I brought them home. My mistake was to not pay close enough attention to the signs and make adjustments from that first moment. I’ve learned a number of things I could have done then, but that time is past. I deal with where we are now in this adventure. Here are adjustments I’ve made:
- I’ve gotten vigilant with my gluten-free starter recipe, following as closely as possible the recipe given in Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, by Gail Damerow. That recipe gives options from feedstuffs one might have readily available and wheat is easily avoided.
- I was thrilled to discover a nutrition booster product that doesn’t contain wheat or soy–Farmers’ Helper Ultra Kibble for Chicks. I think this is evidence that the producer knows people are trending away from these overly used feeds. The Ultra Kibble is mixed in with your basic feed at varying ratios. I increased the ratio, using it partially as the fish meal recommended in the Storey’s Guide recipe.
- I became vigilant about using baby grit. I had not bothered with it in the first weeks, as I had listened to advice that it was not needed in the first weeks when the chicks did not consume whole grains. But I used it with the first flock I raised and didn’t have any trouble with those chicks, so I’m using it now.
- I am also again putting tiny bits of fresh chopped garlic in the water each day. That was something else I did with my first little flock. Garlic is a natural antibiotic. I had put this in the chicks water the first days when I brought them home, but as the chicks seemed to not eat or drink well, I had stopped, thinking they did not like the taste. I watched them this morning, and they are drinking the water just fine.
A quote reported from the Talmud: “Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.'” I have done that with newly planted rose bushes, and so I do now with these little chicks, then leave it in God’s hands.