Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Buck Buck!

The chickens are here! 

 They feel like little balls of wire, overlayed with fluff, when you pick them up. You could squash them in a second -- but they don't know that. They rush around, pecking at little bits that interest them, or take long drinks from the waterer, looking up at us...

Who the heck are you? 

Charley the dog was fascinated. He kept taking long sniffs of each chick -- until they pecked him on the nose. (Good for them.) When I go out to change the water, he rushes alongside and squeezes through the dog door to see them first. They live in a large rubber tub in the garage, with two heatlamps trained on them. (We keep the heatlamps for winter evenings, so the dogs can snuggle underneath them to stay warm.) It's been quite chilly here, and the first night, the heatlamps automatically turned off. We came home from church to find the chicks squashed in a pile-- unfortunately, four of them had gotten pushed into the waterer in their haste to stay warm, and had gotten soaked. The Brick and I held them under the heatlamps, gently patting them with a towel until their shivering stopped, and they began to take an interest in things again.
     I am paranoid now. When I go out and see the chickens huddled together (that generally means they're cold), then I panic and pull the heatlamps down closer. When they're under the board across the tub (which should mean they're too hot), I  push the lamps back up. When -- as this morning -- they're under the board for shade AND huddled together -- what to do then?
    They seem to enjoy us checking on them, adjusting this or filling that. They love perching on their feeder, or messing around in the water.

And I'd swear they've already grown some, four days from when they arrived here. 

I am headed to Michigan this week, to host a wedding shower for niece Brianna. The Brick said, grinning, "Do you mind if I have some chicks over while you're gone?"

Here's what they look like in grown form -- Black Australorps, an Australian version of Buff Orpingtons. (Photo's from ChickensforBackyards.com.)
Our current chickies seem to have more mottling then these -- almost a quail or chickadee look. The wettest of the foursome (quite recovered now) looks like someone scribbled with tan crayon on her head.
    I think they're beautiful. Anyone got nine good names for feisty, peeping busy little chicks?

It may be a little quiet around here this week -- the Mama does not believe in computers, and I have to make a special trip to McDonald's or my cousins with the laptop. But I'll be around.
     Hope you are, too.


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