I can’t believe we’re already at the end of the first three weeks the Light Sussex chicks have been with us – they grow up so fast! Over the course of the first few weeks, everything about the chicks gets bigger – the noise, their appetites, and their daily pile of brown gifts left in haphazard piles on the wood chippings. Ah yes, and the smell also grows bigger – when you wake up to the not-so-fresh odour of chick poop, it’s probably about time they moved to the garage. Today was that morning – no amount of coffee could unplug my nostrils – so for the first time ever the chicks were lifted out of the house and on to grass. I love that feeling – showing them the world for the first time, knowing that it just gets better hereon. The weather was warm and we borrowed the rabbit run for them to play in for a couple of hours – there were no complaints about cold so we knew we were good to go with the cleaning. Whilst they skipped and frolicked (well – ate and drank), I gave their brooder a thorough clean and disinfect with Dettol, and moved it into the garage. The heatlamp is at its highest, their feathers are coming along nicely, with the black heads appearing quickly. We may even be ready by the start of week four to move them off the lamp, but I’ll check the outside temperature and their feathering before risking that – they may need another week.
They’re still on chick crumbs, with a coccidiostat to help build up an immunity to coccidiosis. At six weeks we’ll start mixing grower’s pellets into the crumbs, over the course of a few days, until by week seven they’ll be on growers only. This will change to layer’s pellets at around 22 weeks – some suggest earlier but as these are Light Sussex chicks – a pure breed and slower to mature – 22 weeks is about right. If for some reason one of them starts laying quicker than that, then we’ll start the layers before then.