Thursday, June 18, 2015

Babies' First Day out, 2015

Wednesday was such a pretty day that I couldn't let the chance go by to pack the peepers into their carrier and take them out to the garden for awhile.  At this age, 12 days old, they're still pretty easy to handle and can be rounded up without too much difficulty.  I'm not going to get sassy about this.  I know full well that in just a few days, my bakers dozen can go from very attentive to wildly unruly, so their training needs to start now.
That's okay.  We're fine right here.
Training?  That's right.  The first step to happy chickens has been that I've been handling them regularly and talking with them so that they recognize who I am.  Next is to understand basic instructions such as 'no', 'come here', and, of course, 'bed-bye'.
I don't know.  It doesn't look like carpeting...
 After looking over the garden, I decided that one of the unused raised beds was probably the best place introduce the chickies to the big wide world.  Like a big dirt filled playpen, the raised bed had lots of straw to explore, new grass to nibble, and little crawly things to look at.  Once water and snacks were set in place, the carrier was positioned, and the door was opened.
The first half hour was spent standing firmly just inside the doorway or pecking at the back wall of the carrier (we'll tunnel our way back to the house...).  Finally, the combination of curiosity and bravery set in and a couple of chicks stepped out into the world.
Wow!  This is better than the heat lamp!
I could just hear the comments telling me that it would be the boys who would venture out first.  Remember: when Amy and the three musketeers were this size, they were always out front. I suspect that how self assured one is has more to do with how bold your parents were than whether one is a boy or girl. 
When chicks are raised by Mum, they know to stay underneath her for warmth and safety.  Where she goes, they go.  Mum encourages them to explore (sometimes with a well placed foot).  When something scary happens such as a noisy truck goes by or wild birds sing on the wire high overhead, she spreads her wings and fluffs a bit and all the chicks come running.  Instead of wings to huddle under, the chicks have a carrier filled with soft hay and chips. 
After a couple of hours, it was time to go inside for naps.  A big day out for little chickies.

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