What you see here may appear to be innocent little chicks, but are actually sharp-minded, capable escape artists. These little birds escaped not once, but three times today.
Earlier, I learned from one of my coworkers that Ace Hardware here in Crawfordville would be recieving a shipment of chicks today. I decided to have a look during my lunch break, and bought two chicks, a Cochin pullet and another chick that looks like an Ameraucana but was amongst the Production Red pullets. Wifey and Tal set them up in the brooder with the others and then went to the library. It began to rain mid-afternoon, ending the work I had, so I decided to drop by the house to check on the new chicks to make sure they knew to stay out of the rain and go where it’s warm and dry. You’d think it would be natural for them to seek dry warmth, but our first group of pullets weren’t so smart, and nearly drowned the first day they went into the outdoor brooder. I needn’t worried about the new arrivals, they were safe and sound, but Hendri and Piggledy were outside the chicken enclosure, grazing on the grass dangerously close to our cat! I figured chasing them back in would work for the time being, but, no, they came right back out! A serious chase ensued, in which I caught Piggledy and put her in the brooder, and Hendri either made laps of the brooder or flew over it, and finally escaped into the woods behind the enclosure and hid. I went back to the shop to make sure somebody knew where I was, then came back to see if I could scare-up Hendri. He/she was still hiding. Unbelievably, I found the little snot, sitting perfectly still in a tuft of leaves next to a plant stalk. My parents didn’t call me Eagle Eyes for nothing. I threw Hendri into the brooder, only to have the little cretin come right back out through a hole I hadn’t seen before! I was able to get him/her before they were all the way through the hole, then I extracted Piggledy from the brooder and clipped both their wings. I put them into the chicken tractor on the porch with some food and water, left a note for Little Wifey and went fuming back to work. Now, they are living in the indoor brooder in the laundry room while I add about a foot of chicken wire around the bottum of the enclosure. This current enclosure was built using 6 ft welded wire fencing, after our first batch had become adults, so I had not yet chick-proofed it. I’m not worried about the hole in the brooder, because it’s about 6 inches off the ground. By the time these other chicks find it, they will be old enough to be introduced to the flock.
The whole reason this new adventure began is that we put the small chicks out in the brooder, and Ginger was being mean to them, so we kicked Ginger and her two out to meet the flock. Hendri and Piggledy are 4 weeks, anyways. It actually went well, but Ginger got her butt whipped a few times. Noone paid the slightest attention to the two chicks. I thought Ginger would keep the two chicks close to her, but I forgot how conniving and mischievous chickens are from 4 weeks until sexual maturity. I am sure she has been stressed over the recent turn of events, but I just retrieved Ginger from the smaller chicken house and put her in with Hendri and Piggledy, and they all seem very happy.