As you can no doubt guess from the subtlety of the title, this is going to be a well-thought-out and witty post about baby chickens, not the frantic writing of a tired but excited mum… When I checked on the chickens this morning and gave Frodo some scrambled egg I noticed she was making different sounds; pleasant, quiet little “Book, book, book”s. And then I heard a tiny reply, “Cheep, cheep.” I peered into the nesting box and behold! A baby! A wee black chick was wriggling out from under her feathers. I was SO excited. This is the first chick that I have produced and actually the first baby animal that I have raised myself. When I was a kid one of our guinea pigs had babies, but that wasn’t just me. I took what photos I could on my phone before the chick was re-covered by Frodo, and that will have to do for now because I didn’t see it again for the rest of the day. Frodo is quite protective. By late afternoon curiosity got the better of me. I tried to peek under her, with gloves on, but she was a bit feisty. Peck, peck, PECK! All I managed to see was one broken, empty egg shell and one intact egg. I left her to it. One of the eggs was under her for a day when she went broody before I put the rest under her, so I’m guessing that might be this chick. Tomorrow will tell us more. Despite hearing my story about Frodo’s peckiness, The Husband tried to peek under her when he got home. His curiosity was fruitless. He got pecked.
I was kept very busy with chicken business today. Not long after my exciting discovery I had a not-so-exciting discovery. Sam has the runs, which culminated in a big sloppy patch right in the middle of the coop ramp. Argh! Obviously, things are never straightforward around here. I don’t yet know what’s causing Sam’s runs, but I cannot have her pooping like that near the babies! Especially when her and Legolas have been spending so much time in the ‘Birth Centre’. Honestly, they’re as curious as cats too. I caught Sam, trimmed her beak and nails again (she does so much scratching around and pecking in the dirt but this doesn’t seem to help her nails or beak), treated her legs and comb for possible scaly leg mite (more googling required) and set her up in the big cage. I will have another good look at her tomorrow. Although I couldn’t see any worms in her poop I will worm her and treat her for coccidiosis again just in case. Otherwise, I will just have to observe her and see how she goes. I may be overreacting but better that than the other way around. Poor Sam. Missing out on the fun. I cleared the poopy coop bedding again and disinfected the ramp. Poor Legolas didn’t know what to do without Sam and stood near Frodo, at one point almost climbing on her, until I shooed her out to go hang out with Elrond. And poor Elrond, now another of his ladies has ‘abandoned’ him. I don’t know who I feel more sorry for at the moment!
The other good news is that I basically finished the new pen. Success! We just need to attach the gates somewhat and The Husband needs to remove the fort ladder, otherwise I can visualise Elrond climbing up, onto the woodshed roof and over into the neighbour’s paddock. I’ll open up the pen for the chickens tomorrow. It has been a hard slog for me the last couple of days, getting the chicken-wiring done by myself (or with The Little Fulla in the carrier, arms fidgeting towards the wire), clearing the pruning mountain out and the rubbish that was underneath it, spreading hay in the run and trying to keep the poop in the coop down, most of which could only be done while the fidgety child was asleep. Thankfully, today he decided to have good naps. Good boy! We’ll try to forget about this evening, which is why I’m up so late writing on my blog…