Monday, April 25, 2011

Their first weekend

Our chicks are 7 days old. They grow up so fast!

This weekend was a series of first events for our baby chicks:
  • the removal of a top layer of newspaper meant the first time on bedding and also meant a lack of reading materials for the little peeps
  • the start of feather growth mixed with very adventurous chicks meant the first awkward failed attempts at flight (no one thought to explain to them that chickens are not meant to fly across their brooder box)
  • a fake branch added to the brooder box resulted the first failed attempts at standing on a perch -- basically they would jump up and then immediately awkwardly fall off
  • one day after the perch installation was the first SUCCESSFUL extended rest on a roost/perch
The four chicks on their new brooder floor of aspen shavings. Henrietta is in the process of digging a hole down to the newspaper and is getting shavings into her grit and is even tossing them up onto Willow.  This digging is serious business!

Henrietta, Merrill, Willow and Tara met several new people this weekend. They were clearly not as excited about these meetings as the humans were. People: Oh my goodness! Look at the fluffy adorable chicks!! Can I pet them? Can I hold them? So cute!!! The chicks: Not more of these tall creatures... Seriously? Why do they all keep picking us up? I will peep at you if you touch me. We were comfy right here and we don't want to move. I'll peep. I'll do it!! You think I am not serious? PEEP CHIRP CHIRP PEEP PEEP.

Extra human attention also meant time for extra treats. Overall the chicks enjoyed their finely chopped up hard boiled egg. Unfortunately, one of them decided that it was a fun thing to stand in rather than a food item. It was not intended as a toy, but at least that meant the treat was not ignored. Sadly, not all the moments with human visitors are pleasant. The four chicks were blissfully oblivious to the scary moment when one of my parents left the door to their room wide open. That mistake was just asking for one (or all three) of our house cats to wander in and meet the baby chicks and I cannot imagine that animal introduction ending happily. I quickly closed the door as soon as I realized that it had been left open and no animals were harmed in what will now be called "the incident".
Henrietta standing in her treat of chopped up hard boiled egg. Tara is attempting to eat some of it, but Henrietta's rear end is firmly blocking the way. Willow is pointedly uninterested (she refused to even look at the egg!)  while Merrill was pretty meh about the whole situation. Merrill was more interested in water than in a food treat.

This weekend was the chicks first time on a floor of aspen shavings rather than newspaper which meant that Henrietta's favorite activity was scratching in those shavings in search of food. I assume she is looking for bugs or worms. I don't know how to explain to her that all she will find is a layer of newspaper under those shavings. Perhaps I am wrong and she is actively trying to uncover the paper. She might miss reading the fake headlines from The Onion newspaper. Perhaps the other chicks tell horrible jokes and she is looking for something amusing. But from my point of view she is just kicking shavings into her water dish, her food dish, and her bowl of rock grit. I am constantly taking soggy shavings out of their water and redistributing their floor cover. Why does this momma have to clean up after the mess left by those little peeps? Can't they just learn to clean up after themselves? Every time I go in to fix things, Henrietta comes over and digs another spot down to the newspaper layer. Who will win this war? Who will be more stubborn? Will there be a flat layer of shavings on the bottom of the brooder box or will there always be spots of newspaper showing? (for the record, I vote for Henrietta)

Tara standing firmly on her perch as two of the other chicks stand in the background.

So now it is onto week 2 for our little chicks. Hopefully they will stay healthy, happy, and adorable! They are soon going to enter an awkward half fluff/half feather stage. I will be missing these fluffy little peep days soon.

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