Chicken Lessons

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Faithful readers know that we usually lose a baby chick or two each year, and I try to not get too fussed over it.  Some just aren't meant to make it.  But this weekend we lost one due to human error (mine), which is much more disappointing.  

I typically start my chicks in a big plastic tub, and move them to a dog x-pen (with cardboard for a draft/escape guard secured to the sides) in the second week or so when they get bigger and need extra space.  I'm not sure if this year's chicks were just a tiny bit older, but by last Thursday I was thinking, "These guys are looking big and healthy, maybe it's time to move them."

Last week was a little busy though, so I put it off until the weekend.  I should have at least put a wire topper on the plastic tub, but, again, I was thinking I'd get to them in just a few days and no one was showing any signs of being ready to jump out yet.

Saturday morning, I went out to change their food and water.  I was watching them play, when a little warning light went off in my head, "One...two...three...four...five...six.....wait, only six?  Where's seven?"  Quickly scanning around, I found poor number seven--either the buff or the New Hampshire, I'm not sure--dead on the floor right outside the tub.  She had jumped out, and whether the fall killed her or she got too cold when she couldn't get back to the heat, it's impossible to say.  In either event, the little buggers can jump up higher than you think they can, and we'll have a wire topper on our brooder box from now on.

(Although I did finally get them into their new digs this afternoon, and they were crazy excited to have so much space to run at each other.  Also, the rooster hunting has begun, and that little black fella in the third picture down--one of the tamales--is suspect numero uno!)

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On a happier note, we're starting to see some nice looking strawberries at the store.  While the babies aren't ready for such grown-up food yet, the big girls thought they'd died and gone to heaven when the Kid took them out a bowl of strawberry tops.  And I think the feeling was mutual, as the Kid has already been asking when we can get more strawberries to "feed the chichins".  I guess I'll just have to suck it up and start making jam soon.