Yes, it has happened. I’m officially in crazy chick love and slightly obsessed with these precious things. I had a feeling this might occur but I had no idea how quickly the chicks would take over my life. Don’t be fooled. I am loving every single second of it.
I felt the shift when I received a phone call late Thursday afternoon from my cowboy letting me know one of our babies wasn’t doing so hot. She wasn’t moving much, still breathing but wouldn’t eat, drink or open her eyes. This was also the day after the beginning of a bizarre cold snap in Louisiana. We had been housing the brooder in our shed attached to the carport which isn’t insulated. Even with a heat lamp in the brooder, it was very cold inside the room on Thursday morning. I didn’t have a good feeling when I left for work. Sure enough, when I got home to check on my babies, the sweet chick took her last breath in my hand and passed away. My heart was crushed. These chicks depend on us to keep them warm, to feed them and protect them. Although all my chicken friends reassured me losing one is completely normal, I still felt 100% responsible for her death.
After that experience, I didn’t ask my cowboy to move them inside, I told him we were moving them inside. With the weird shift in temperature, I felt better having the chicks in the insulated house and close enough for us to check frequently.
Call me crazy but this seems completely normal to me. I know it’s weird to have 21 chicks bouncing around in a pen in your bedroom but they are my babies now. This stage of their life is very delicate and having them close will only help us assess their state as the days go by.
Before the chicks arrived at the farm, I had plans to travel to New Orleans for the Baby Steps IV Infertility Awareness Fun Run. Well, that all changed when our sweet girl passed away on Thursday. I changed my plans and stayed home the entire weekend to enjoy my chicks, watch them closely and take time for a photo shoot or two.
Oh, be still my heart. The snuggle factor of the chicks is over the top. They pile in groups, some sorting themselves out by breed and others are stragglers that fill in where they want.
I started spring cleaning on Saturday and spent the remainder of my time admiring my babies, catching two resting their head on the edge of the waterer. I literally want to climb in the brooder and snuggle with them. Between the fuzz and feathers, there’s nothing cuter than these chicks. I keep asking myself “where have you been all my life?!”
On Sunday morning, I received word from Gioia Farms in Ponchatoula, LA that our turkey poults hatched late Saturday afternoon and were ready for pick-up. Off to Ponchatoula we went. The poultry farm was such an adventure.
This is the father of the poults we picked up that day. I am always impressed by the turkey fans. Well, and their gobble too. At one point, all the turkeys were gobbling one by one. It kept me in stitches. I can’t wait to hear ours gobble.
After our short meet and greet, we hopped in the car with our precious cargo and headed home to the farm. We have no idea if our poults are toms (male) or hens (female). We are hoping for a tom and a hen duo but will be happy with any combination.
My cowboy and I discussed names for these two all the way home. Right now, we have settled on Leroy and Luanne if it’s a tom and a hen, Leroy and Jethro if it’s 2 toms, and Luanne and Peggy Sue if it’s 2 hens. Note, the blue marker on each head is only for breed identification purposes, not for male or female.
The yellow poult kept chirping and I was concerned it was getting cold as we forgot the heat pad for the trip. I reached down and held it for the duration of the trip. Snuggled in and slept soundly just like this until we got home. I literally was leaning down into the floor board for most of the drive home. I wanted it to be as comfortable as possible.
At the recommendation of the turkey breeder, we are housing the chicks and poults together. The turkey poults aren’t too bright at first and need assistance learning how to eat and drink. It took some coaxing and intense watching for us to feel confident they were eating and drinking on their own but they are in good shape now. Even though they weren’t shipped, you could tell the relocation still added a little stress to their new little lives.
We have a pretty good routine inside. During the day, the brooder is located in our bedroom behind closed doors so that our dogs don’t mess with them. At night, we move the brooder into the living room, again behind closed doors. Each morning, the dogs go through their normal curiosity dance and wait patiently, watching for activity, until we move the brooder out of sight.
I know if they had the chance, they would take a shot at one of the chicks or poults. There hasn’t been any aggressive behavior displayed by any of our dogs but we aren’t taking a chance with our babies.
So, you are probably wondering, what do chicks do all day? Well, they eat, poop and sleep A LOT. And in the most adorable positions. Please excuse the horrendous red tint to these photos. Call it the heat lamp filter.
We’re one week in and already seeing some flying action. It seems our one and only Rhode Island Red chick has found her spot on top of the feeder. Notice the cage we built over the opening. My cowboy rigged that after an incident where she fell in the middle of the feeder.
Clearly, she is perching already and I’m thinking we may add a few sticks for them to rest on. Most perch on the edges of the feeder and waterer which makes everything nice and dirty of course. Check out Abby in the upper right corner, eyeing the commotion below.
Can you tell how much they have grown in just a week? It’s unbelievable! My babies won’t stay babies for very long.
Their feathers are popping out more each day and their interaction and need for entertainment increases along with their pooping. I am also am racking my brain for bigger brooder ideas. They will need more room very soon. We already installed a chicken wire cage top to the brooder because they are trying their hand at flying more and more.
Oh, the joys of the chick life!
If you are wondering what the tally is on our growing crew at Cypress Bayou Farm, we have 2 horses, 3 hogs, 3 dogs, 21 chicks and 2 poults, making it a grand total of 31. And we will absolutely be adding more.