Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mad Chick Catching Skills

Aren't these fuzzy three week old chicks adorable?  I think they are, but maybe I'm biased since I hatched them in my office incubator.   The chicks spent their first few weeks with a friend of mine, who has a little girl that may have a love for chickens that rivals my own, so they received lots of attention.  Then they spent a week with me, adding their stink unique aroma to Brandon's studio before I took them to live with mom last weekend.  "Hi Mom - Happy Mothers Day!  Here's your tub of ten chicks, make sure you feed them, change their water a couple of times a day, and clean their tub frequently or it gets smelly, and don't let anything eat them, or let them get too cold, and don't get too attached to the boys because I want to eat them someday.  Let me know how it goes.  Toodles!"  Best daughter ever, right?  

Who wouldn't love this little speckled brown one?  She has delicate puffy cheeks, and a beautiful pattern on her feathers.  Unfortunately, not all the chicks are as lovely.  Brace yourself for the next few photos...

Eeek!  What is it, a vulture?  A pterodactyl with the mange?  

Nope, just a chick with an unfortunate feather growth pattern.  A chick only a mother could love.  Not all babies are pretty, and this baby isn't going to win any beauty contests.  I have a feeling it's going to be a very lovely chicken some day, with glossy black feathers, but right now its going through a scraggly looking phase.  Is it just me, or does it have a slightly offended expression in the photo?  Sorry, chickie!

Here are the ten chicks in their plastic tub brooder box.  They have a small piece of fencing on the top of the tub, to keep them from jumping out, and a clamp light sets on the fence so the bulb can warm the box to a toasty temperature.  The pine shavings give them a soft bed, and keep them interested in scratching through looking for spilled bits of food.  When food is added to the feeder in the center, they all crowd around like they are doing in the photo and eat like they are famished for a few moments.  The brick in the photo is what we set the water dish on, to keep it out of the wood shavings.  They still manage to get wood shavings and poo in it immediately. 

You would think that it would be easy to just reach in the tub and pick up a chick, but not so!  You have to have mad chicken catching skills, and that takes practice.  In the video above, my nieces demonstrate what it takes to catch a chick.  I really like my youngest nieces unique foot work.  She could go pro!  

The sense of accomplishment that comes from finally snagging one of the wriggly creatures is worth all the trouble! 

And if you practice enough, eventually you can get one in each hand.  This is a technique reserved for experienced chick catchers, so don't try this at home.  

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