Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Husbanding Floyd: Sure, they're cute now....

Look what's taken up residence with us!

They arrived last Friday.  Ten Tetra Tint pullet chicks.  Our future laying flock.

Tetra Tints are a chicken developed especially for Tractor Supply Company stores.  They mature at around 5 pounds and produce a very light cream colored egg.  They're mostly white with some darker coloration mixed in.  We were originally interested in having Buff Orpingtons for our flock but the opportunity arose to pick these chicks up directly from the store and we went with it.  They were already sexed so we know that they are all future hens.  That's the theory anyway.  It's always possible for a cockerel to slip by when they're that tiny.

Right now the chicks are living in our downstairs suite in a large tub equipped with a heat lamp, thermometer, toys, and feed and water stations.  They were so entranced with the thermometer that we added some balls that rattle, a little mirror and a piece of string to keep them busy.  They seemed bored and would peck at each other and the toys have eliminated that behavior.  Well, except when one of them sits on another's head.  But that's just get-the-hell-off-me-dammit behavior.  Our sons use to do the same thing.  Kids.  There's similarities no matter what the species.
Is that a chick high-5?
 We have two of these tubs.  One set up and ready to go while the other is inhabited.  Every other day I switch them out for cleaning.  At some point in the next few weeks we'll have 5 chicks in each tub after they get big enough to be crowded in one.  The chicks must be kept really warm, around 90F the first couple of weeks, hence the heat lamp and thermometer.  After that the lamp will move steadily upward bringing the temperature down in 5 degree increments until they are fully feathered at 5-8 weeks.  Their little tail and wing feathers are beginning to appear now.

They're currently being feed chick crumble and they really like their chow!  They go through that quart container in a day!  Water is very important.  Chicks drink a lot and have no compunctions whatsoever about messing up their drinking station so that gets cleaned and filled 3-4 times a day.
In another week we'll be adding chick grit to their diet.  Grit helps chickens to process their food.  We'll also be adding the occasional halved and deseeded grapes and a worm or a bug or two for a treat.  No greens for awhile though.  Greens can give chicks the trots and cause a condition called "pasting up".  I don't particularly want to have to wipe little chicky butts if I don't have to.


So far the chicks have been very easy to care for.  They're getting used to us and don't freak out anymore when we handle them.  They're very amusing.  When they're busy playing, we can faintly hear them chirping upstairs.  Cleaning the tubs is easy and they don't smell at all.  What has surprised us is that even though we can hear the chirping upstairs and we often must smell of something potentially yummy after handling the chicks, Franklin the cat has evinced no interest whatsover in what is living beyond the door to the stairs.

6 comments:

  1. Cute! I also have some Tetra Tints, 6 of them. I'd love to see a photo of one full grown, no such luck so far!! lol

    Here is a thread on BYC about the breed: http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=473961&p=1

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  2. my sister has some chicks and they are in the between stage of half fluff and half feather, boy are they ugly

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  3. I was supposed to be getting Red Sexlink Pullets but found out what we got were tetra tints instead. Trying to find out something about them. They're about 12 weeks now and almost totally white, with some splochy dark reddish brown on some of their wings. Wondering when they will start to lay and what color eggs they will lay. These are season 2 to our current flock of 13 hens (bakers dozen!)...anyone can advise?

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  4. There's not really a ton of info out there on Tetra Tints. They'll probably start laying for you around Sept-Oct. Ours are mostly white with some creamy beige on the back and legs. Our girls are about 2 weeks younger than yours so we haven't gotten any eggs yet either. I've been told the eggs are white.

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  5. The eggs aren't actually white, but a cream color. I have 2 of my tetra tints in juvenile feathers right now & they look completely different. One has turned a sandy red with a few black specks thruout & the other is an off-white/white color with black spots like a dalmation. I have 6 more that are just starting to feather & they are a combination of creamy tans & whites with a few black spots scattered here & there. Apparently there is a wide range of color possibilities.

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    1. It's been a year since this post was published and our Tetra Tints have been laying like crazy since last July. All of them are white with a very light cream around the neck area. Their eggs are all mocha brown except for one which is stark white. We have no idea which one lays that egg but she's been productive, only missing a couple of days since she started laying!

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