I think the things I am most surprised about thus far are:
- Our chicks eat a LOT!
- Our chicks can dirty their water in seeming SECONDS!
- Our chicks are already trying out their wings!
- Our chicks already seem quite a bit bigger!
Last night – even before we had thought of heading to bed, we were astonished to see the biggest of the chicks flapping her wings and trying to get up to the top of the waterer! By early this morning, she’d managed the feat! We’ve named the biggest chick Henrietta. The next to the smallest one William has named Millie. The other two are nameless as of yet – but there’s plenty of time.
We found Caleb – our Maine Coon Cat kitten sitting in the brooder with the chicks tonight. He had then herded into the corner behind the feeder. I can just imagine the dialogue going on in his head… “Hmmm… which of these tasty morsels shall I try first?” Caleb is very Garfield-like. At seven months of age he weighs 10 pounds – and he’s not fat! – he’s just something akin to a linebacker in build. After a swift removal from the brooder, a firm scolding, and speedy escort out the back door, the chicks seem to have recovered from the trauma. Phew!
All in all, it’s been a pretty quiet day. We did decide that the smallest of the chicks must be younger. One disadvantage of buying from the feed & seed store – no exact dates on birth of these girls.
We’ve talked it over and can’t decide if it’s just us, or if the girls have doubled in size in one 24-hour stretch of time. They did go through an entire mason jar’s worth of starter in that same amount of time. Four little chicks! Who knew they could eat so much!
Right now we’re trying to decide how often we should change the litter in the brooder. It’s not smelly. But I can’t seem to find a real clear answer on how often or what signs trigger the need to change it out. When the time comes, I’m sure my compost heap with sing the hallelujah chorus – rice hulls AND chicken poop! The stuff dream gardens are made of!