CLUCK, CLUCK, CLUCK and CHIRP, CHIRP CHIRP!!!
(Note: It's hard to get the pictures of the chicks that I want since the flash scares them...hahaha it's funny, but I wish I could get better pictures than what I got!)
Well I am very happy to report that Flock 3 is flourishing here on the Shawhan farm! Everyone seems to be bright-eyed and fluffy-tailed. Some are even starting to grow their big-girl feathers. (They grow up too fast.)
It was only about a year ago that I was standing alone in the garage - a group of pasty-butted chicks in a box - overwhelmed and crying, feeling like I was losing it...and maybe even the lives of my feathered babies (see post "I am Now an Expert of Chicken Butts...") Dramatic, right? This year...so far...it seems to be smoother sailing and so far, I haven't broken down into tears.
But we learn from the past...one thing that has helped with all that is the "daily diaper change." From my lesson learned last year, chicks do better on newspaper for the first three weeks or so of life. Though I find it strange that every store selling chicks has them on sawdust. My reputable source told me chicks aren't smart enough to decipher those little crumbs of food from sawdust shavings. Hence a reason for pasty-butt.
This year the brooder was all set to go on chick arrival day with a plethora of pages for the babies to read. Everyday or so, either Dan or myself, adds a fresh, clean layer of newsprint for the chickies. They enjoy all kinds of news given to them by The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Highland County Shopper and Ohio's Country Journal. Their favorite reads include the comics and "Dear Abbey". Rumor has it that Fye, one of my Bantams, has already posted a letter to Abbey herself, claiming her name of gigantic proportions has given her a complex. Others have actually sent resumes in response to job postings in the classifieds. I guess laying eggs for a living isn't good enough.
The only thing I get nervous about when changing this big diaper, is Marshmellow, the killer barn cat. He likes people so he likes to be around as the brooder lid is wide open and all the helpless chicks are around. I'm scared one day he'll jump in and go to town on the buffet inside.
Other daily chick chores include filling up the feeder twice a day and changing the water daily. I like to change the water every day since it sits under two heat lamps 24/7. Personally, I prefer a cold water to one that has sat in a warm car all day.
Our other, very important, chick chore is simply checking to make sure we don't have any dead ones.
I wonder if kids are like chicks...the first one you don't know enough about what you are doing (ignorance is bliss), therefore not noticing when or if you do anything wrong. The second one, well you learned a few things from the first one and are therefore more cautious and paranoid so you break down in the garage crying because there are things going wrong. Finally, by the third child, you feel confident in what you are doing and have all the necessities, making the third child much more fun and cost-efficient than all the rest.
I guess one of these days we'll find out!
...cluck... cluck... cluck... chirp... chirp... chirp...