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Baby chicks are on the way!

Chickens came home on Friday morning, probably about a day old. Today, Sunday, they are probably about four days old, and they are fascinating to watch. Today their posture has changed — they are standing up straighter instead of huddling like little fluffballs; I can see that they have necks, now. This morning they were not scared when our hands came down from above to change the water or to pick them up, and this evening, they are scared, and they run peeping in all directions from the scary hand. Then if the hand stays still, they get over it pretty quickly, and come to peck at the shiny ring. This evening they are very active and talkative, running around and over and under each other to very urgent business on the other side of the bucket. And they have more feathers than yesterday, and they are starting to show their patterns already!

They were housed in a cardboard box at first. I put two other cardboard layers underneath the pine shavings, but when we went to change it after ~8 hours, they had splashed so much water around that the bottom was soaked. We switched to a plastic Rubbermaid bin, which had the convenience of being plastic (washable) and also being readily available in triplicate (at least) in our house. I had it all planned out: I would rinse/wash one out, set it out to dry in the sun — it has been sunny here!! — and house them in the other, then take the freshly-dried one in to rehouse the chickens the next evening, and repeat the process. Unfortunately, the heat lamp tipped over a little too close to the side of the bin, and MELTED a big hole in it. On the good side, we discovered this as we returned from the hardware store with a new big galvanized washtub. This seems to suit, as it’s easily cleaned, though I wish we could justify two. Instead I guess we’ll just use two or three small boxes while we clean and dry their tub.

Chicken stats:
2 Rhode Island Reds, averaging 5 eggs/week each. One of them has already established herself as Miz Bitch Chicken, since she was pecking at everyone else on the way home from the store. She is the red without a small black stripe on the back of her head.
2 Black Australorps, also averaging 5 eggs/week each. They have fluffy yellow butts.
1 Dominique, averaging 3 eggs/week. I think this is the one with the racing stripes. I am advocating for her name to be “Racer.”
1 Silver-Laced Wyandotte, averaging 4 eggs/week, and which I find to be very pretty. Her name will probably be “Pretty Chicken.”

flickr for pictures, for now.

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