The chicks are here! The chicks are here!
They came by mail, packed in a box no bigger than a shoe box. Seven downy Buff Orpington female chicks are now safely ensconced in a lobster crate in our bathroom with the door firmly shut to keep out Charlie, the cat. My initial plan, one that decidedly did NOT include having them spend any time in the house, was to sneak them under a broody hen in the middle of the night, removing the eggs she was nesting on and introducing the baby chicks. Anyone who has ever had cute, tiny baby chicks in their house who have then grown into unruly, ungainly, dust- and chicken-poop-flinging teenagers can feel my pain when I say I’m determined that the chicks will not be in the house for long.
The intsy flaw in this plan is that, for the first year ever, I don’t have a broody hen. I can’t tell you if it’s the cooler weather or the lack of a rooster (Fluffy the rooster died this winter) but none of these hens are feeling the mama urge.
I put my problem out to Twitter and a few people suggested either fake eggs or ping pong balls as an encouragement, thinking that someone is bound to think they are hers. Having one child who saves, hoards and parses her holiday candy, I had some pastel, plastic Easter eggs still in the house into which I added some flour for weight. I then taped them shut and put them in a nest. This is what they thought of that idea…
However, Plan b is now in place. I have a lobster crate, a heat light, chick starter and reams of newspaper. They will be protected from the other hens in the coop by the lobster crate while they stay warm under the heat lamp. Once they have feathers and are eating regular feed, I’ll turn them loose with the rest of the flock.
Brooding about my chicks