Isnt it amazing how far cameras have come. I look at these photos from four and a half years ago and there is just no comparison. It took me a long time to afford a good digital camera, but it has been one of the best presents Ian has ever gotten for me. I have always loved to take pictures.
These two pictures are from the Buffs first outside experience. Oh yes, they have names, and yes I could tell them apart. Look at all those leaves on the ground. We had so many trees in the back yard. I hated raking leaves all the time..and the gutters were always a mess as that was Ians job and it never got done. Well I won't say never...but hardly ever. I don't miss that at all. Not having any trees can have a few drawbacks when the wind picks up or it is especially hot out...but I don't mind at all. I just hated raking leaves.
I knew the basics about chickens, but there was so much more to learn. I learned the hard way NOT to use straw hay of any kind in the brooder. Some might disagree...but I use pine shavings now, fine pine shavings. About six weeks into it one chick decided to try and eat the hay in the brooder. To eat something like that a chicken must have grit in its craw...or whatever you want to call it...where the food packs in as it is digested..its so early...why cant I think of what it is called...lol. Not enough coffee yet I guess. Anyway...this was an emergency situation. When chickens eat little pebbles and dirt it is to help grind up what they eat in that pouch. Chicks dont have that unless they are born on dirt outside like the two Serama chicks I let hatch out with their Mamas. So, what goes in, comes out the same. Getting stuck. Bad bad news. I tried everything. Mineral oil, tweezers, cotton swabs. I was trying to coax that hay out without damaging the insides of the chick. You can pull them inside out so to speak and that would surely kill the chick. Well it died anyway...I couldnt get enough of it out to matter. Lesson learned the hard way. Some would say not to put them on shavings either. They try to eatthat too. But at least they just eat the little tiny dust pieces and that passes. Nowadays I keep my newborns on layers of papertowels and peel them back as the towels get dirty. I try to do that for at least a week if not more.
So I lost one. Now I had five. I have had these same five up until recently when I found one girl dead under the pool deck. I don't know what happened to her...they are getting older...but a chicken can possibly live for up to fifteen years. So now I have four left of my original girls. There is nothing like your first chickens. I have new layers out there now, but they are just not bonded with me like my first girls. When you only have five you can spoil them rotten with love and attention and treats. I even wrote a story about them once. I still have it on my computer. I read it now and it seems a little silly, but it was written with a lot of love in it.
As my attachment grew, so did they. It was time for them to go outside and I knew it. Soon they would have to, they were getting too big to keep in the brooder. During the day I would open up the top of the brooder and let them perch on the side. They never got down, just perched there all day getting in and out of the brooder. I would walk by as I was cleaning house or whatever I may have been doing at the time...talking to them and petting them all day long.