Life has been pretty good for the chicks so far. They got names this week: that's Ida looking you in the eye, and Lady Bird with her back turned to you. Both have Humboldt County connections: Ida McKinley's husband has a town named after him here, McKinleyville, and his statue stands in Arcata's town square, where it is the subject of some ridicule and occasional tomfoolery.
And of course, Lady Bird Johnson has a redwood grove named after her here. She was here for the dedication in 1969, along with her husband, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and other such noted environmentalists.
Anyway. Back to the chicks. The biggest challenge so far has been keeping their temperature regulated. It gets pretty cold at night, so we do our best to get the heat lamp positioned at the right level, but one of us invariably gets up in the middle of the night to go check on them. It's really a bit early to start baby chicks, especially if you've got a house like ours that's hard to keep at a consistent temperature. (If they're huddled under the lamp, they're too cold, and if they're huddled against the sides of the box, they're too warm.They should be sort of wandering around freely.) But they're adjusting, and the older they get, the easier a time they will have regulating their own body temperature.
I think we are about ready to take them out of their little plastic tub and let them roam around the larger cardboard box we have placed inside the bathtub. The standard advice to wait a week or so before doing this, because when they are first born they are just too stupid to know not to wander too far away from heat lamp. But I think they're ready for it now, and it will probably actually help the temperature situation if we can have a warm side and a cooler side so they can find a comfortable spot themselves.
The other thing we'll be doing is removing the layer of paper towels that we've had on top of their pine shavings. The purpose of the paper towels is to keep them from eating the pine shavings while they are still figuring out what their food is supposed to be. Ours seem to have no trouble knowing what to eat, so I think it's safe to let them shuffle around in the pine shavings. It's easier to deal with the droppings: just dump the shavings on the compost pile and replace regularly.
So chick-raising is pretty easy at this stage. Mostly we spend our time doing stuff like this:Posted by Amy Stewart on February 24, 2010 at 5:03 am, in the category Uncategorized.