My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, www.rosemary-ridge.blogspot.com ... thank you!

FORAGE TEST 1

As of yesterday, the chicks were 2 weeks old. Old enough, I thought, for the "forage" test. I wanted to see if they'll go looking for the food and water if they can't see them. Will they hunt? Obviously, since I'm not a scientist, this isn't a real scientific project or test!

(Started typing this as yesterday wore on.)

8:00 a.m.: In the box "maze", placed the feeders and waterers in the 2 outermost boxes. They'll find it or starve/dehydrate. Sounds mean, but I need to use only the smartest for my breeding program.

8:20 a.m.: Just checked and they were all huddled in the middle box. But when I approached, they scattered to the far ends. And found the food and water. Not sure if this would qualify as successful. Will check again in a little while.

9:12 a.m.: Several eggers but only 1 silkie were in the outer boxes when I snuck up. Hope it goes better than that!

9:49 a.m.: Was just out feeding the other chickens and the goats. Let the adult eggers out to forage. Came in and as I walked by the room with the baby chicks in it, stopped short. Both front boxes (the ones with the feeders/waterers) are full of chicks. Alright! But ... will they keep it up?

3:26 p.m.: Periodically checked all day. This last time, saw more silkies than eggers in there. I think they are all "motivated"!

5:45 p.m.: Getting dark. Moved the waters and feeders closer to the boxes with the heat lamps. They don't like to go in the dark boxes at night.

Good enough test for one day.

Update 3/3/11 at 8:04 a.m.: Moved the feeders and waterers back in the furthermost boxes and within 2 minutes I saw the chicks find them. Woohoo! Success!

========

If they keep going to the outer / front boxes of the maze to get food and water, that should mean that not only are these chicks able to survive whatever killed the first 7, but they are also good for looking for food and water. Still, will keep an eye on.

========

I'll do similar forage tests periodically as they grow older. Want to encourage them to find sources of food and water. That way, their chicks will also have that ingrained in them, and thus, be good for people who want independent chickens that cost little to care for. That's my hope, anyway.

No comments: