It’s been a little over two weeks since we got the new chicks. They’ve zoomed right through their tiny-and-fluffy state into the beginning of their goofy-and-gawky stage. The goofy-and-gawky stage lasts long time, if the last batch is anything to go by.
Another chick died last week, another two on Tuesday, and another two yesterday and the last meat chicken last night. Apparently McMurr@y, the big hatchery, had an issue with a batch of “hot” vaccine at the end of February and beginning of March, so we’re hoping that’s what that was about, and not something we’re doing. The rest of them look fine and perky. I hope the dying is over, because a dying baby chick is a sad thing to see. Out of the 12 meat chickens (white orpingtons) we ordered, we were shorted by 4, one died in shipping, and the rest have died since. Of the chicks who’ve died since we’ve had them, only one was not a white orpington.
The chicks are getting athletic enough that I’ve told Fred he needs to build a lid for the brooder sooner rather than later, because some of them are getting up on the board that the warming lamps are clipped to, and from there it’ll be a short jump to the side of the brooder, and then the floor. We’ve lost enough chicks now that it would really suck to lose any more by driving into the garage and accidentally running over an escapee.
Fred’s considering ordering more chicks from a different hatchery – possibly the one where we got last year’s batch. We’ll see.
Oh, and there’s a new chick movie. It’s not the best movie, but about 10 seconds in, the Ivanas (puffy white heads) sashay into view and glare angrily around the brooder (perhaps they’re looking for the maitre d’?), one shoots out a poo of displeasure, and they stomp off (or are scared off by me). Also, right at the end the golden polish (puffy brown head) comes into view, fixes the camera with a piercing look and then runs off, hopping over the feeder.
The fosters continue to be skittish. I spent a couple of hours in the foster room yesterday and got to the point where HG (the black and white) would come around and skirt around the edges of the room. Smudge Bunny (the white) would sit in the closet (where the litter box is kept) and peer out at me, but if she thought I was headed in her direction, she ducked behind the door and hissed.
Last night, I sent Fred up to hang out with them for about ten minutes so he could have time alone with them – it tends to make new fosters a little bit nervous with both of us in there. When I walked in, HG was hanging out near the food, and Fred grinned and said “It’d probably make you mad to know that he’s been letting me pet him, wouldn’t it?”
Turns out that HG really likes the feather-on-a-stick toy, but not the feather end – the stick end. He likes to chase it around, bat at it, and chew on it. I played with him a little, and was able to pet him once or twice. Fred went out to check on the chicks (which he does every night before bed, along with 300 times during the day), so I kept playing with HG, and eventually Smudge Bunny couldn’t stand it anymore, and had to come out and chase the stick a little. Before I left the room, she sniffed my hand and licked me.
This morning when I went in to take a little soft food to them (we woo them with food, of course. Fastest way to a kitten’s heart is through its stomach), HG came right out and sniffed at the food. Smudge Bunny was hiding behind the closet door, so I went in and when she didn’t hiss at me, I took the chance and picked her up. After a brief pause, she started purring.
I put her down in front of the food and then sat down. She sniffed at the food, looked at me, and then came over and started rubbing against me, purring to beat the band. I stayed in there for about 15 minutes, and the entire time she rubbed and purred and climbed in my lap.
One kitten down, one to go!
(pic) You can see the gray smudge on top of her head. That angry, suspicious glare could burn holes in your soul.
I put one of the cat beds I bought at Big Lots in Pennsylvania on the floor near the door in the computer room. The bed has a pad in it that’s attached at two points. Sugarbutt burrowed under the pad and napped there for an hour or so.