The Rudd Rangers are growing right before my eyes! We have had them about 1 week, and they have grown from an average weight of 33 grams, all the way to 95 grams! Each day they grow more curious, more playful, and certainly hungrier. Even though they are still fluff balls, I am starting to notice them getting more muscular and tall. Their wing feathers are coming in, but I will not have to worry about them flying out of the brooder for a few more weeks still.
They are relatively low maintenance at this age. They do eat and poop a lot, but since they are small, it hasn’t become a huge mess…yet! They get clean water, fresh food, and a sprinkle of clean shavings each day. The weather here in Alabama has been very wet and cold, so it is very important to not only keep their heat lamp on, but also to keep the warmth from escaping. We use what we have laying around, and I found an old, plastic swimming pool from last year. I carefully placed it over the brooder (just on half to allow for some air flow). It creates the perfect little warm dome for them. (Please be super careful not to let the heat lamp get too warm or touch anything on/near the brooder).
Unfortunately, as can happen with having chickens, 2 passed away with 2 days of arrival. One was weak on arrival, and another was seemingly very healthy, but both passed away despite my efforts to take care of them. It really felt like a personal blow to lose them, but this does sometimes happen without explanation. The 13 remaining chicks all are very healthy and growing well. After arriving, some of the chicks had pasty butt. This is just a nasty little buildup of poop on their vents. It can be caused by any number of reasons, but occurs frequently in shipped chicks due to the stress of travel. It is an easy fix. Just use a warm, wet paper towel to gently clean away any poop, then put a little Vaseline on the vent. It is a gross job, but hey, welcome to world of chicken ownership! Sometimes we have to get dirty in order to ensure our animals are healthy and happy. They may be destined for the dinner table, but they will still receive the utmost care available until that day arrives!