Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Baby Chicks!

Back in April, Jeff and I went in to the local feed store and bought 24 Barred Rock chicks. We chose this breed for their egg-laying prowess and their cold-hardiness. I began scooping up the little fluffballs, two at a time in each hand, in to the three boxes the sales associate provided for transport. I rode home with the precious cargo in my lap, as it was still too cold to let them ride in the truck bed. The little darlings spent the next half hour pecking at my jeans through the air holes.

Baby girls!
For the brooder, we set up a large Rubbermaid bin just outside the kitchen, where we new it wouldn't get too cold. I filled it with pine shavings (which smelled wonderful at first), then I set the food tray and water jug into the bin. Next came the baby birds. I lifted them, one at a time, out of their cardboard boxes, dipped their wee beaks into the water supply, and turned them loose in their new domicile.
We positioned a warming lamp over the brooder to keep things nice and toasty. A word to the wise - those things suck up a lot of electricity. You will notice.

Brooder full of babies.
The following morning we were relieved to find that all 24 chicks survived the night, and were adjusting well to their new environment. Success! With stars in our eyes, we began planning the outdoor chicken coop for our mature flock. We were old pros at this whole chicken thing.

Well, not exactly. After a week or two, the birds had nearly doubled in size. We had to set up a second brooder with another Rubbermaid bin. Not long after that, I discovered one of the chicks had jumped onto the top of the water jug and was surveying the living room. When I tried to catch it it flew onto the lip of the bin and made a break for it. With much scrambling and praying to Jesus I was able to thwart the attempt at escape. Some hastily trimmed window screening and lumber scraps provided a couple of makeshift lids, but we realized we were going to have to hustle on getting their new digs set up.

Two weeks old
Nobody warned me they would grow so fast! Time to get crackin' on that chicken condo...

I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. Psalms 50:11

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