Yesterday was a very good chicken day. Everyone was much improved over Wednesday. I was concerned about a tiny chick that slept most of Wednesday–but a good night’s sleep combined with vitamin enriched water and plenty of starter feed had him/her perking right up. I did encounter several clogged vents over the course of the day, so I spent a lot of time cleaning chicken behinds. One chick was having particular trouble with his/her vent and I was pretty worried–but we seemed to develop an understanding as the day progressed. I looked the chick in the eye and said, “I really need to see you poop. I need to know that your belly is getting better.” The chick stretched its tiny wings and obliged. And his/her vent has looked very good ever since!
This little chick is one of two with whom I have formed a bond. The other runs to the side of the brooder (Harper’s old pool surrounded by and topped with wire and filled with pine shavings) to visit every time I go into the basement. Last night I realized that if I put my hand out (s)he will hop right into my palm–and peck at my fingers or wedding ring. I was soooo excited about this that I scurried upstairs and hauled Matt down to witness my great accomplishment. Not long after he left the little chick looked up at me and launched him/herself right through the wire! I managed to catch the little escape artist–(s)he landed in my hand–and send him/her right back into the brooder. Then I tore upstairs and reported the news to Matt and we surrounded the larger fencing with fencing with smaller openings. We did not think that the chicks would be jumping or attempting to fly for a few weeks. Oops. But, I think that our chicks are probably advanced (look at me bragging about my little ones); when I was picking up chick grit (to help with the pasted vents) at the farm store in Osceola the gentleman helping me said that I wouldn’t need to worry about providing perches for a month or two. Someone should tell our chicks that–because they climb and perch on their feeder.
They are starting to get tail feathers and their wings are starting to feather out. A few even have combs appearing above their beaks. You may have noticed that I refer to the chicks as (s)he, him/her–this is because we have a straight run of chicks. Chicks are difficult to sex (apparently you have to examine their vents. I have spent a fair amount of time examining vents over the past few days and they all look the same to me.) so we won’t know the gender make-up of our flock for awhile. I am not comfortable calling a chick “it” and am too much of a feminist to refer to them generally by a masculine (or feminine, really) pronoun. So, please bear with me.
I thought that I would include a quick planting update. Apple trees (2), cherry trees (2), pear trees (4), and hazelnut trees (3) are in the ground. So are strawberry plants. A variety of peppers along with tomatoes, garlic, and eggplants are still under grow lights in the basement. We have a couple of heirloom varieties of tomatoes–Cherokee Purple and Brandywine– purchased at the River Market plant sale growing on the porch. Everything that can go in this weekend will be planted in the raised beds that Matt (and I, but only a little) constructed. The cabbage seeds are currently in my purse. I should probably do something about that.