Way back in April, I posted a photo of our last batch of chicks that hatched shortly after Hick returned from his trip to Sweden. It was an afterthought to the story about HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) taking care of that hen while Hick was gone. (Let the record show that HOS had a $100 winner on one of his lottery tickets that I gave him as thanks.)
Anyhoo...here's the picture.
At the time, Hick thought we had six new chicks. Turns out there were actually nine, he just couldn't see them under the hen.
Hick takes really good care of his chicks. The feathered kind. He had them put up in the goat shed, with a board nailed up to keep other critters out. When they got a little bigger, he moved them to one of the old rabbit hutches, where he always keeps the chicks. We haven't had any for a while, because we're down to only a handful of chickens, due to the appetite of the neighbor dogs. Or maybe the appetite of my Sweet, Sweet Juno for eggs.
Anyhoo...yesterday he let the chicks out. They're about a third grown. Not as big as Hick hoped, after seeing the new neighbors behind us, whose chicks hatched later and are now bigger than ours. I told him that they wouldn't grow as big, penned up like that. So he decided that they're big enough to take out of the hutch.
One problem with previous chicks was that they'd get in the goat and mini pony's water bucket and drown. So Hick put a stick down in it, at an angle, so if a chick falls in, it can hopefully get on the stick and hop its way out of the pail.
Hick kept an eye on the chicks all day. The hen chases them away, he says, because she's sitting again. So they're pretty much left to their own devices. They scatter around, cheeping, pecking at the chicken feed the squirrels haven't finished from the night before, or a crust of bread that Hick tossed them at lunch time, and then run under the chicken house that none of the chickens really like to sleep in, preferring to roost in the tree limbs hanging over it.
Hick mowed the BARn field for a while. Then he worked on his Railroad Car Shed, painting parts of the outside. He mowed a little of the front yard. Mainly just puttered around, doing what he does best, fiddling with this and that, not finishing anything at one time. He kept a close eye on his chicks, in case the neighbor dogs showed up, or our very own Jack decided to sample them. Jack has not been raised around chicks, only the full size chickens. He chases them for sport, despite being chastised when he's seen, but has never bitten or killed one. At times, it even looks like he's herding them back to their chicken house area.
I was putting my shoes on for my evening walk yesterday evening when Hick came in the front door.
"You know my chicks I've been taking such good care of? Now there's only eight."
"Oh! Did the dogs get one? Did JACK get one? I know how he is. We might need to put the shock collar on him again, like when--"
"I ran over one with the lawnmower."
"It was quick."
"A white one or a black one?"
"A white one."
"You couldn't see a WHITE CHICK? They practically glow, they're so bright!"
"Actually, I didn't see it at all. Until later. When I came back from parking the lawnmower. I thought, 'What's that on the gravel?' And it was a chick. It was flat. Its guts were coming out its butt."
"Okay! Enough with the details! Which tire did you run over it with?"
"Like I said, I didn't know I did. Them dogs might have got it. And THEN I ran over it."
"Sure, put the blame somewhere else!"
"Yeah. I didn't see any teethmarks on it."
They hatched right after Hick got back from Sweden at the beginning of April. He's been fussing over them ever since. Now...I guess he can do 1/9 less fussing.
Let's hope Hick never takes such good care of ME!