Silkie Chick Update + Bath Time

Stop what you’re doing, right now, and watch this sweet silkie chick enjoy a quick bath and blow dry! This baby chick is guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Silkie Chick Update

The chicks are doing so well! They have adjusted to the brooder and learned to go up and down the ramp to the fresh grass. I’m pretty sure they have almost doubled in size since they hatched, almost two weeks ago. The broody mama chickens are starting to go about their regular business, and everyone is settling in wonderfully. In three to four weeks we will take them out of the brooder and move them into their new home, The Silkie Shack!

If my instincts are correct, we should have four females and one male. The one that I believe is a little roo has bigger/thicker feet and is the first to go out of “his” way to peck my fingers (and latch on pretty well for a bitty little thing). I’m excited to see how that plays out.

Bath Time

When I got home from work I noticed one baby chick was just covered in yuck, all under its belly. So, I scooped up the baby chick and head toward the kitchen sink to run some luke warm water. Then, using just a tiny dab of Dawn, I gently cleaned up the chick.

Honestly, I expected a lot of flapping and chirping. Instead, the chick seemed to really enjoy the bath and the blow dryer (low speed and low heat), and actually started to fall asleep for most of the process.

It was precious, to say the least.

5 Chicken Keeping Essentials

Here are the five chicken keeping essentials I choose not to live without…

1. Dried Soldier Fly Larva

Don’t knock it until you try it! Well.. I wouldn’t recommend you personally try it, but your chickens will absolutely love it! Think cat nip, but for chickens, with the added benefit of being a high protein snack! We buy the biggest bucket of Flock Party – Dried Soldier Fly Larva that TSC sells.

Our girls have learned the “here chickie chickie” call means you better waddle your fluffy butts over here for first dibs on treats! The bucket doesn’t give quite the same snack shake sound effect that the smaller bag does, but they still get very excited!

Chicken Essentials : Dried Soldier Fly Larva

2. Diatomaceous Earth

When I started my chicken journey I had never heard of diatomaceous earth(DE). It has several benefits, including killing external parasites like ants and fleas, killing internal parasites like worms, but the main reason I use it is to keep gnats off of my chickens! I googled bug spray for chickens and I found several recommendations for DE..

I add DE to the areas where the chickens take their dust baths most frequently. They get themselves nice and dusty and the gnats, for the most part, leave them alone! I can’t stand to see gnats landing and flying all around there faces. I immediately saw an improvement once I implemented DE, making it a chicken essential for us. You can order on Amazon here.

3. Food Storage Bin & Automatic Feeding System

I can’t stress how important well stored food is. There is nothing worse than going to feed your chickens and finding little bugs or water mucking up your precious feed. We use this waterproof Husky storage bin, purchased at Home Depot. We have had it almost a year and our food stays dry and bug free. I have tried other bins and everything else has let me down. Its worth the money to protect your feed.

In addition to the storage bin, we built two 3-inch PVC automatic feeders. We are weekend warriors, so most weekends we are not working on a project at home, you can find us camping at a state park somewhere. The automatic feeder allows us to supply the chickens with enough food to get by for a few days without us being home. You can easily build this yourself with a few items from your local hardware store:

  • 3 inch PVC Pipe (the longer pipe you can use/fit, the more food you can supply at a time)
  • 3 inch PVC Cap (for the top so water cant get in)
  • 3 inch 90 degree elbow
  • 3 inch hub adapter

If you don’t feel super confident in your handyman skills, there is a similar concept feeder on Amazon here.

4. Watering Cups and Watering System

Much like the automatic feeder, the automatic waterer is perfect for people who go out of town for a few days and don’t want to mess with having someone come look after their flock. We used a regular old 50 gallon trash can, some PVC, and some screen netting to create a rain collection barrel to source our chicken water. Another PVC pipe and shut off valve come off the bottom of the can and into a smaller hanging bucket with chicken watering cups. You can install these cups into any bucket, round buckets will work too. I do recommend using some plumbing tape when you screw the watering cups into the bucket to ensure a tight seal. We also keep a small pallet under their hanging bucket with cups in the coop to prevent the chickens from kicking debris into, and clogging, their water cups.

If you’re not worried about refilling the waterer every couple days you can find this handy water on Amazon here.

Take a tour of our Automatic Chicken Feeder and Watering System!

5. Automatic Chicken Door

This one is the newest addition to our little homestead. We have survived without one for years, but with our very busy schedules, coming home late from work or sports, its not unheard of to forget to close the chicken coop at night. Luckily we haven’t had any run ins with predators at night, but I’d rater err on the side of caution. We ordered this one from Amazon. It is battery powered but can also be converted to use solar power, which we are doing on the new Hen House. It was very simple to install, setup, and configure the open and closing times.

You can find links to all of my favorites, here.

The BEST Iced Coffee Protein Shake

Don’t roll your eyes, I promise this easy-to-make Iced Coffee Protein Shake ACTUALLY tastes good…

My morning routine usually goes a little something like….

Wake up at 7am, stumble over to my closet, stare at my clothes for about 3 minutes until I finally decide to throw on something decent enough for work.

Head over to the girls room and try to wake up my youngest daughter, for the first time, and then I’m off to the bathroom to turn on the flat iron and put on some mascara.

Back to the girls room, for the second attempt, to wake up my daughter and then return to the bathroom to finish fixing my hair…we need to leave the house in like ten minutes.

Third trip to the girls room, to once again try, to stir the tiny-grumpy-monster, I mean, my daughter, from her bed.

Off to the kitchen to start making my breakfast protein shake. Its now 7:25 and we need to leave in five minutes. I find a clean cup, add in my crushed ice, water, protein, collagen, and instant coffee mix.

I’ve now resorted to hollering across my house for my daughter to get dressed and brush her teeth. We’ll figure out her hair in the parking lot at daycare…

I drop the immersion blender into my cup and give it a few quick stirs and my shake is ready to go… usually after a minute or two the less-than-cheery five year old graces me with her presence in the kitchen.

Did you brush your teeth? Its now 7:32. Hurry up, please! We’ve got to go!

Collect the stuffed animal for nap time, the laptop bag, phone, wallet, keys… I think we have it all. Its 7:38. Ah, don’t forget the protein shake! Ok, ok, load up!

Mornings aren’t always easy, but this protein shake, always is!

The Ingredients

2 Scoops of Orgain Organic Vegan Protein Powder, Iced Coffee Flavor (contains caffeine)

2 Scoops of Orgain Collagen Peptides

1 Scoop of Caffe D’Vita Instant Iced Coffee (contains caffeine)

2 cups of crushed ice covered with water

The Instructions

Grab a large cup, I prefer something that is not glass. Add about 2 cups of crushed ice (my fridge does the crushing for me) and top it off with water, just enough to cover the ice. Add in two scoops of Orgain Organic Vegan Protein Powder, Iced Coffee Flavor, two scoops of Orgain Collagen Peptides, one scoop of Caffe D’Vita Instant Iced Coffee and mix it until smooth.

I use a Bella Immersion Blender. It also comes with other attachments but I use it for protein shakes and also for making all the creamy soups in the fall and winter.

The Macros

Calories per serving: 300

Protein per serving: 40g

Carbs per serving: 29g

Fat per serving: 5g

Moving the chicks

We decided to move the chicks into the chick brooder and away from the mama hens last night. Upon doing so we realized the chicks could fit through the wire on the brooder coop. We have used this coop before with other chicks and not experienced this problem. I think because the mama hens were still around, the chicks were a little more eager to escape than the chicks we previously bought from TSC.

Kev brought me some twine and I started to weave a temporary wall through the wire to keep the chicks from nosediving out. As the sun went down and everyone settled in for the night without escaping I thought we were okay…

When I went to check on the five chicks this morning, I only found four. Worried, but hopeful, I started toward the big coop where the mamas sleep.

At some point during the night, a baby had wiggled it’s was through my twine wall and found it’s way, all the way across the yard, to the big coop, and under a mama hen. I was relieved to say the least, but this also meant finding a better solution than twine first thing this morning.

Kev found some spare half inch hardware cloth for me in the shed. Using wire cutters, a staple gun, and a few zip ties, I reinforced the bottom layer of the run area and coop door. Seems to be working so far!

My hope is that the mama hens will go back to laying eggs and foraging the yard soon, but for now they seem content hanging out by the brooder.

Annie Banannie the “Farm” Dog

Meet Annie! She is our 5 year old dachshund, “farm” dog. Annie is relatively new to our home as she originally belonged to Kev’s mom, but has adjusted to the farm life pretty seamlessly. We did put her on a bit of a diet, I’m sure she misses the home cooked chicken and egg dinners her first mama used to cook her! She was more of a sausage dog, than a wiener dog, when she first arrived!

Annie, our dachshund farm dog.
Annie on porch duty means less chicken 💩 on the porch!

You can often find Annie keeping watch on our back porch. Up until Annie moved in, our free range flock had become pretty comfortable around our other dog, Rosco, to the point they forget they are still birds of prey. Annie has put a healthy awareness back in their little chickie minds. Although not rough, Annie will chase the chickens off our porch and out of her “perimeter.”

The Silkie Shack

Cart before the horse…

Poor planning on my part last year to go ahead and buy a dozen chicks from without a chicken coop ready to go. “They’re just so darn cute.” Famous last words of just about every chicken mama… Luckily, we already had a small brooder at home to get us by for 4-6 weeks until we moved the newborns out to the yard.

Bringing the chicks home
Headed home!

This chick warmer is my favorite brooder essential. I feel so much more comfortable with it than with the heat lamps, the chicks all snuggle underneath it and can easily escape it if they get to warm.

Chicks in the chick brooder enjoying their chick warmer
Checking out the brooder!
New coop build for backyard chickens
Looking a little leany there, bud….

With a dozen chicks growing rapidly, as well as the smell of baby chicks, in my living room, we started to step up our pace. With most of our projects I have a rough idea in my head of what I think I want. I sketch or describe the best I can to Kev, and he usually works out the kinks for me and somehow our projects tend to come together pretty darn well.

Chicken coop build in progress for backyard chickens
Chicken coop build for backyard chickens

This coop has earned its keep. It stays very dry, there is a lot of room for roosting, and it comfortably fit all 12 ladies. We also added two PVC pipe gravity feeders and set up a rain water collection and watering system, which has worked out extremely well for our needs.

Because this coop stays so dry, it will be the perfect home for our Silkie flock. Because Silkie feathers do not have the barbicels like normal chicken feathers, they do not repel water quite the same way, and therefore can have a hard time drying off and staying warm, especially in colder months.

Protecting the Silkies…

Silkies do not make great free rangers. They have fluffy feathers on top of their heads that often make it hard for them to see overhead predators. Also, they can only jump about 12 inches off the ground. Their special feathers make them very flightless birds, and even harder for them to escape or evade predators. Our plan is to keep them safe in their new Silkie Shack with supervised free range time. Once they get a little older of course….

Baby silkie chick, day old chick.
Day Old Silkie Chick – Born 6/23/22