Friday, March 30, 2012

The Meatballs Take Over and the Class Chicks Come Home

The Meatballs are nearing three weeks of age--three weeks only--and they are already GIGANTIC.  Mutant chickens?  I think so.  They each weigh over a pound already.  They were previously sharing brooder space with the three egg layers--the two Welsummer chicks and Persnickety.  The brooder is 4 foot on a side, so I had divided it down the middle with some extra lumber, giving them a roughly 2x4 foot section apiece.  It was fine for a while, but no more.  The Meatballs have taken over the whole space.

Nom nom nom!
Now they seem a little happier.  Before they just layed around and ate and drank.  Now they lay around, eat and drink and pretend to fight with one another.  I take that as a good sign.  It's chickeny behavior, at least.

Their takeover meant I only had the 2x2 brooder left, which was reserved for the classroom chicks.  Where to put Persnickety and the girls?  I had to make-do.

In case you can't tell, that's a child's sandbox that wasn't being used, being turned into a makeshift brooder--complete with lazy cat.  I was going to build another box, and I may still have to, but for now, this works.   They have lots of room, can perch on the edges, which they love, and they still stay warm.  Luckily, they are pretty well-feathered at this point, so they don't need as much direct heat as they used to.  They can stand under the light to warm up, if need be.  So that worked out well.

And the classroom chicks?  Well, the five of them came home today and were put in the 2x2 brooder.  They seemed slightly surprised, but they're just fine.

What the.....?

The kids were very disappointed I had to take them home, but they need to be cared for where I can watch them, and school is just no place for them--though they may have enjoyed learning fractions, I don't know.  However, they did name the chicks before I took them--Fuji, Bingo, Midnight Ninja, Underchick and Van Leuven (that's after their teacher)--and I did get to explain what would happen to them next.  I promised the teacher I would send a picture in once a month so they could see how they grow.  They have a fine life ahead of them.

This was a nice experience all around.  I think the kids got a lot out of it, I loved sharing my love and knowledge of animals with them, and the teacher was very thankful.  In fact, I got some of the nicest thank you's from this project, and I'll cherish them.  The teacher wrote in a card for me :
"Thank you for helping to bring a love and respect for life and learning into our classroom this spring".

Isn't that nice?  I thought so.  And yesterday a TA stopped by the classroom I was in and told me how excited she was to tell her family about the chicks--it was just like being a little kid, she said, explaining to them how she saw the chick hatch (she caught one just as it popped out of the shell on Tuesday) and then how soft and warm they are.  She thanked me for showing her that and said my knowledge and time is what made it all possible.  I was beyond touched.  It made it feel like it was all truly worthwhile.

Ah, it's all good.  Anyway, back here at Chicken Scratch, I've got my hands full.  Want to know why?  Here's the rest of the story!

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