Yesterday I put up a video of our new Black Copper Marans chick; Violet peeping her little heart out.
I took that video on her first day in our house (and the reader that said she was calling for her mom and siblings was right) since then she’s settled down and has become flock mates with our dog and the kids. Her brooder is in a high trafficked area so she gets lots of attention from the members of her unconventional flock on a daily basis.
During the day when the kids are at school, I’ve also been known to bring her into my office and set her down on a heated blanket while I go about my work. She’s a calm little chick and will often stay put for a long time allowing me to hit my writing deadlines. (FYI, she is still enamored by the James Taylor songs I play while I work.)
But we still have some raw weather here in NH (in fact, it’s cold, grey day, today) and so I’m a little concerned about keeping her out of the heat for too long. Her pin feathers are coming in nicely but she is still covered with adorable but not very warm baby down.
So, it’s a nice short visit or playtime and then it’s back into the brooder for you, young chick.
The marbles. A few readers noticed the red marbles in the feed and water dishes. I blogged about this for GRIT magazine but I’ll also put the story here.
We have regular feeders and waterers (plastic with the red bases) for chicks that we’ve used when we’ve gotten (or hatched) many chicks at once, however, as Violet was just a single chick, (and when we got her she was very, very small) I thought that the feeders would be a bit of overkill and/or that she wouldn’t be able to reach them.
I needed to get her food and water quickly but in a way in which she would be able to actually have access to it.
Knowing that chickens are naturally attracted to the color red (fyi, don’t wear red earring into the coop, just sayin’), I solved my little problem by putting red marbles (Logan’s marbles from his collection) into low food and water dishes. (This is an article I wrote for Community Chickens on the topic.) The light from the heat lamp made the marbles especially attractive and she went over to have herself a look. The first few times she pecked at the marbles and when her beak slid off the glass balls into the food and water she quickly figured things out.
Of course, as you know, chicks tend to grow like weeds. Not only do we not need the marbles anymore, but it’s time to change from the low dishes (that she constantly kicks bedding into) to the conventional feeders. She’s tall enough, strong enough, and knows where the food and water are located.
No worries from this mama hen on that account.
Although we no longer have to use the marbles, you can bet they are going to go right into our chicken first aid kit for future use (sorry Logan.) In the past, we’ve had some young chicks develop respiratory problems soon after coming home from the feed store that then needed to be isolated from the rest of the chicks. If that situation comes up again, I would not hesitate to use this same red-marble set-up for the chick until she gets old enough and strong enough to move to a regular feeder.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.