Replenishing the Flock

After the weasel attacks last fall, our chicken flock was somewhat depleted. Earlier this spring, we purchased some new chickens to add to our flock – this time we purchased day old chicks.

Day old chicks first arrive home in spring 2019.

Although they are sorted by sex shortly after hatching, there is generally an error rate of around 10% so there is always a risk with day old chicks that some might actually turn out to be roosters.

We bought 6 chicks in total – 3 Buttercup hens and 3 Ameraucana hens. The Buttercups are the chicks with the speckled heads in the pictures. We already have other Ameraucana chicks – they are also called Easter Eggers because they can produce a range of egg colors from brown to green to blue to pink (each hen only lays one color its whole life).

The chicks at around 2 weeks old – already much bigger and more active.
The chicks move out to our new weasel-proof (hopefully) pen in the barn at around one month old.

While none of the 6 appears to have been a rooster, unfortunately one of the chicks did have a health issue appear after a few weeks.

One of the buttercup hens was spraddled legged (also called splayed legs). The chicken’s legs were not working properly making it difficult for her to walk – this can be caused by a slipped tendon or similar injury. In our case, our chick had one leg stuck forward and one back so it was difficult for her to walk straight or roost normally.

One of the commonly suggested fixes is actually quite simple. Basically, we took a rubber band, cut it and then used it to tie the chicken’s legs together. This helps to train the tendons and muscles back into their proper place.

It is similar to having an exercise band attached to your legs all the time.

Our buttercup hen with the rubber band treatment applied.

We separated the injured chick from the others while she recuperated.

Our patient exercising her leg with the rubber band on.

After a couple weeks of treatment, she was walking normally again and rejoined her group. The treatment was so successful that, after she rejoined the other 2 buttercups, we couldn’t even tell which one had needed any treatment.

The chicks ready to join the main flock.

The 6 chicks have now been merged with the main flock and they are doing well. They are venturing out of the coop during the day and hanging around near the main flock.

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