I get to the front door with the little box in my hand. Stick my head in the door and look around, all clear. Then that spy music starts in my head dum dum dum, dum dum dum, bbbbdo, bbbdo. (The Mission Impossible Song) I get down the hall and hear my son in the bathroom. So I dart past the door and into my room, quickly closing the door behind me. Then I put the little box on the bathroom floor, and begin gathering up the things I need. Let me think, a plastic tub from the garage, a heat lamp, a thermometer, and feeders and water bowl from the shed.
I know, I wasn’t supposed to get any this year. I said I wouldn’t. It had been going so well, mostly because I have not been able to drive for the whole of chick season due to a foot surgery. But this week we were out of chicken feed and I had to go into the feed store. By myself. ‘Cause I could drive now. I even had a talk with myself before I went in. I would just look at them, no buying. As I was looking, a lady came up to look with me, and as chicken people will do, we started talking chickens. Her husband pointed out a few he wanted to get. (WHAT???) He wanted some? Gregory Ray, we have some talkin’ to do. I told the nice couple that I was not buying anymore this year, because with my luck they would all be roosters, and my husband does not like anything about roosters.
Almost made it.
I made it safely away from the chicks and went and got the feed. Now all I had to do was to make it past them again to the check out. Then I ran into the couple again. He had a little box, marked “chicks in transit.” I asked him which ones he bought, and the words that came out of his mouth hit me like a ton of bricks. I hadn’t seen them. Then the siren song of the little peeps got into my brain. They were calling me. It was a trance I couldn’t escape. The words he said were “Bantam Cochin Frizzles, and they are Blue” Any of those words alone would have weakened anyone’s defenses right? But he put them all together, in a single string of irresistible words. When I came to getting into my car, I had my own little box in my hand.
Making a Chick Brooder, Fast
I had to make a brooder that I wasn’t counting on making. So I went the garage and grabbed a pretty minty green crate that I was going to use for storage of Spring decorations, but score! There was a bigger gray one with it. Then I found a roll of paper to use to line the bottom. I was thinking if I couldn’t find it I would just use newspaper, but there it was waiting for me.
Food and Water
Next out to the shed, that’s where I had stashed all the chick stuff. Dig through the boxes until I get to the one with chick feeders and waterers. They were pretty dirty, and I couldn’t remember if I had sanitized them. I grabbed them and took them to the kitchen for a 15 minute soak in vinegar water. When they were done, I filled the water bottle and screwed on the base. Got the bowl, dried it, grabbed the bottom and snapped it together. Ran back out to my car and got the bag of Chick Starter I had purchased with the chicks. I only put a little in the bowl because the chicks will scratch in it and throw it out. Waste not, want not, they say.
Next stop, out to the backyard for a few bricks. I used these to put the water on to keep the babies from filling the bowl up with shavings. Then, I went and got the food and water and put it in. OK, the shavings, out to the barn to get a scoop. These are the thinner shavings, not the chunk of wood kind, and not cedar. Did you know cedar shavings can make your birds sick? This is another thing I don’t want to put too much of in. I just put in enough to cover the paper. I will be cleaning this tomorrow, and it all gets thrown away.
Now I can put my chicks in. I carefully open up the little box, take each chick out, and do a quick health check. As I take them out, I dip the beak into the water and say there you go baby, there’s your water. Good news! Just got a text from Greg that he will be home late. I might have time to complete my covert operations before he gets here.
About the Heat
I also found a thermometer and put it in. This is probably cruel news to some of you, but it was 90 here today. I know, 90º in March. I really don’t need a heat lamp right now. All I have to do is to keep this at 90º for the first few weeks, and then raise the lamp up some to cool it by 5º each week until the chicks have all their feathers. I’m not in hurry. I love the chick down. Still, for the evenings, I am going to need one. I only need about a 50-watt bulb for this size container overnight. I will just use a 25-watt for now. Chicks that are too hot will try to get away from the heat, and chicks that are too cold will huddle together under it. Chicks that are just right will be asleep or playing all over. The chicks like the light as well as the heat. Silly babies.
We have a cat, so the rule here is that all chicks have to be covered. Our cat has never shown an interest in the chicks, but as I play out the bloody scene in my head of what could happen I always cover them. One more quick thing before Greg gets home. Yes they are in my bathroom, they are going to hard to hide.
For now they are happily cheeping away, the siren song of the chicks..maybe Greg will fall under its influence as well so I won’t be in as much trouble. I can always hope.
The progress of the chicks Brooder:
P.S. He liked the chicks.