Eight chicks broke out of their shells recently, as we turned the bathroom in our Conshohocken, PA, home into a temporary chicken coop.
Introduced the latest one yesterday. Spent 24 hours in an empty Kleenex box we converted into a “nursery.” Gives privacy. Also stops other clumsy siblings from stepping on’em. My son ripped out the plastic at the opening so that none would choke. Baby chicks sleep alone. Until they get hungry.
I found you could wet your finger, dip it into crumbled feed and a chick will peck off the food. It’s wet and gooey, kinda like the food Hillary, the mama hen, fed ’em way back when. (Started with 21 eggs. She’s still sitting on a couple.)
The new-born are scrawny little things. A strong wind could knock one over and sweep it away. Bunch of wet feathers over a slimy body. Guess we looked like that. Slimy bodies and all. With a small crumpled up face that seem to scowl at coming into a world with very little say-so.
Too soon, a chick will peep for attention. More food. Maybe drink. We put marbles in a cough syrup cap, and fill part way with water. Marbles will prevent one from drowning. A chick will fall asleep right where it stands. Or drinks. Or eats.
Got two or three others that sleep in a food bowl. Two at a time if they get comfortable. Gotta have heat, though. A lamp shining on the converted Guinea Pig cage serves that purpose. Warms the cage, and the entire room. The cage is on a white vanity and is almost eye-level, if you scrunch down a little. (I’m a 5’6″- Greek. Works fine for my height.)
I remember when we had one chick. At least I thought we had just one. My son, Nicholas, ‘”kidnapped” the bird from the hen, placed it and its shell in a box, those small cardboard trays of small cans of cat food. Thought it just hatched.
But there was one born a day before. It fell to the floor. Twice. Found the yellow fluff on the floor. Not sure it was going to make it. Placed it in a bigger box with tissues and wash clothes. Hardly ate the first 24 hours. Looked bad. Braced my son for the worst scenario, losing it.
Day two opened with a bang. Or at least a loud peep, almost a chirp! The “resurrected” bird was crying its eyes out. Got ’em over to the trough, dipped my wet finger in, and watched as it pecked to its heart’s content.
Seems okay now. Except it likes to peck at the sides of the cardboard Kleenex box. May have a problem with “boundaries.”
Forgot to tell you. I placed a malachite stone in the box with the injured bird. I think the energy helped the critter. Keep the stone close by to help the other chicks. Seems they like getting a nice gem at their birth day. Haven’t met a chick yet that didn’t love one.