You know that nagging worry that makes us get up in the middle of the night and causes us to tip-toe over to our sleeping infant’s crib just to make sure he is still breathing? We stand silently waiting to see the tiny chest rise and fall, counting the times we hear an exhalation, making sure he is safe under our watch.
Guess what? That worry doesn’t go away when you have a bunch of tiny little birds to take care of.
We’ve started moving the newest batch of chicks outdoors for the day but because they are so small and would fit through the fencing in the dog pen, we devised a sort of playpen area in which to give them extra room but to keep them safe (not only safe from venturing outside the dog fence but also safe from the older birds who are just itching to get a new pecking order established.)
Just about every 30 minutes someone will go over and do a “chick-check”. The check consists of counting the birds, 6 blond chicks, 6 black ones, and 2 that look rather like someone switched a pair of our chicks with some baby ostriches. Those are some funny looking chicks.
During one of my chick checks, I dutifully counted my charges, there were the 6 black ones, the 2 weird ones, but wait, something was wrong, I wasn’t seeing 6 blond chicks, I was seeing more like 5 ½.
One little chick had crawled head first under the barrier wall and like a child captured by a recalled crib was stuck under its railings. I gasped, no, no, no, no, no.
Here is what she looked like. Note: no chickens were harmed in the filming of this reenactment.
Gently I surrounded her body with my hand and extracted her. I expected to find a limp and let’s face it non-chest rising baby, instead I got a lively chick who irritatedly pecked at my hand and once released bounded off. As she scurried away she gave me a backward glance of “what took you so long?” and then joined the others at the feed bowl to tell them all about her adventure.
So not only do I have kids who break bones, eat foods that send them into allergic attacks, and who “borrow” my quarters to buy gum from their friends at school, but now I also have exploring chicks who don’t know when too far is too far.
General warning kids and chicks, you are all going to be on mandatory 20 minute checks until I am able to breath freely once again when you are out of my sight.