A few weeks ago, I kind of lost my mind and bought some baby chicks. After years of trying to downsize my animal responsibilities (not “getting rid of”; just “not replenishing”), and adamantly refusing to succumb to the cuteness of the little fuzz-balls, I caved. There was no logic in my decision. I have lost so many brain cells over the course of 21 years of child-rearing that I forgot: a baby…even a chicken…is a Baby is a BABY…lots of work, worry, care, feeding, nurturing, guidance and monitoring required. How could I forget that? However, even chicken babies are sweet, cuddly and precious, so all reasoning flew out the window, and on May 6th, I found myself with six, just-days-old chicks. Three Barred-Rocks, two Araucanas, and a blonde Buff Orpington, ’cause you can’t not have a blonde. The nursery was set up in the kitchen. Yes, I know…gasp!…but, that was the only way to guarantee their warmth and safety. Their first home was a box…then a bigger box. Then a small cage, then a larger cage. All with a heat lamp and lots of newspaper and/or hay.With warmer weather, their sleeping quarters were moved out to the porch. And, now that they are older and less fragile, they need more room to move and scratch and explore, so I’ve constructed a daytime “play pen” for them out in the yard. (When my sons were young, sometimes, they just did NOT want to be put into the play pen, so I took to calling it the “baby jail”.) Now they (the chicks…not my sons) have a cage that can be closed for security, and when I am here to monitor them, they get to enjoy the play pen enclosure. Scratching the ground, finding insects, running and chasing, taking dust baths. And, learning how to get out of the baby jail!(I remember that moment with my sons, too.) The cats have been curious, but well-behaved…even when there’s an escapee.So, the past week or so, I’ve spent my mornings transferring chicks from cage to play pen, refreshing their feed and water, fetching their slice of watermelon or other fun snack, and watching them go about the business of being chickens.And, boy, do they love watermelon! While they “play”, I water my yard and plants, drink my coffee and enjoy the quiet coolness of the morning, while it lasts. All in all, the routine has created a nice, calm summertime rhythm. Did those little fuzz-balls do all that?
Yep. Chick therapy.