Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The chicks have been going through some changes these past two weeks. As you can see they are getting wing and tail feathers. They have been trying to fly, which is basically a small jump with wings flapping. I installed a small perch in the cardboard box for them to roost on, but they haven't figured out how to land there after their jumps. I suspect in the next couple of days they will be up there.
After living in a box non-stop, I thought they may enjoy some outside time. Last week I constructed a small round pen for them out of chicken wire. But when I placed them inside, all they wanted to do was cower next to the cardboard shoebox I transported them in. I don't think that they were quite ready for the outside world.
Today, I decided to try again. Instead of using the small round pen, I placed them in a wire cage. At first they were a little tentative, but after a few minutes they were pecking at the ground. I placed some food and water in with them then shut the door. My major concern was that they would be too cold, but I didn't see them crowding into the shoebox I gave them for shelter.
I left them in the cage and went about my business, checking them every so often from the window. After a few hours, they were still out pecking and moving around. It was getting later in the afternoon, so I decided to bring them back inside. It was then I realized that the back corner of the cage was outside of my reach and exactly where the chicks were huddling when I tried to get them out. I was going to need a new plan.
I attempted to lure them into the open shoebox by putting the food inside. This worked, as the chickens were in and out of the box eating the food. However, since I was inside while this was happening, I couldn't close the lid and contain them. As soon as I went near the box, they jumped out and ran to the other side of the cage. I now knew that I would have to block their safe corner and force them to be closer to the door and within reach. I pushed the shoebox into the corner which caused the chickens to be closer to the door. Without much thought, I decided to grab one and carry it inside. It was a little stressed, but we made it back inside the house to their cardboard box. One down, three to go.
Fortunately, I was able to grab the other three chicks without much commotion. Although, the last one was cheeping very loud when it was outside in the cage by itself. They are all back inside and back to normal - I can hear them jumping.