Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chicken Shak

Welcome back to The Shak.

In the last episode, you were witness to a past which ended twelve days ago. Today's episode features the present as it drifts into the past. Let me begin by saying... chicks grow quickly. It all begins innocently enough. First, one does it, then they all start doing it. They roost atop the Ball jar feeders. Which in itself is amusing; however, another hop would land them outside the brooder. And since I assume being cut off from all food, water, heat and companionship through dumb curiosity, with not so much as a predator to set me free, would suck, I began to think about it.
The coop has been ready since November or December. When I set up the brooder, I did so in the best shielded corner of the coop. The coop is sealed. Nothing larger than a chicken wire hexagon enters or leaves without my consent. So, my main concern with a chick getting out was not predators. Nor was it food and water. It wouldn't starve or dehydrate before I had found it. The one real concern is heat. Both that of the heat lamp and that of other chickens.
I was in the barn Thursday morning investigating the nest of the doe who had delivered 13 kits overnight, when I saw one of the Buff Orpington chicks bound like Bruce Lee off the dome of the heat lamp and land on the cardboard brooder cover. She seemed all too happy to see me; jumping into my hand only seconds after landing. Otherwise she had not moved. She chirped a few times.
After a trip to Fleet Farm for bedding, feed, fence boards and gate building materials, I spread the bedding throughout the coop. After removing the cardboard brooder from the coop completely, I used paving stones as platforms upon which to place feeders and waterers. Waterers stay much cleaner now that they are not on the bedding. Much less work for me. The heat lamp hangs in its original place.
Three days and two nights in their new digs, they all seem very happy.

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