If these chicks are not the six luckiest in all creation, they are certainly in the top ten percent.
I’ve been leaving them with only the ceramic heat lamp and the Brinsea overnight, which is to say…in the dark. They get nervous and peep a lot when the exterior coop door closes, but they’re still alive and active in the morning, so I was feeling pretty good about their treatment.
Sunday evening, The Man turns to me and says, “it’s to go down to 30 tonight”, and I’m all “whuuuu?!” The forecast said a low of 41, but there were frost warnings just north of us. Better safe than sorry; I trudged out to the darkened coop to wrap fleece around the pink gazebo.
The chicks peeped furiously when they heard me coming, and didn’t stop the whole time I was in the coop. One crazed, intrepid SLW looked as though she was calculating the leap up to the lip of the pink gazebo, three feet from her current position. Would she make it?
When I shone the light of my iphone on the chicks, they began furiously drinking and eating, and that’s when I became concerned. Yes, chicks raised by a broody sleep all night with their mama in the dark, but they have their mama in the dark. Mine weren’t even sleeping in the warmest spot in the brooder.
Last night, they got a night light. Oh, yes they did. An actual night light. I took the mini lava lamp off it (thanks, Stepdaughter the Elder!), but it is a real night light.
And it doesn’t end there. Today was a miserable, rainy, grey, cold day. It was pouring when I got up and it poured all day. It was chilly in the coop, that bone-chilling, damp kind of chilly. I began to be concerned that the chicks, for all that they had the Brinsea, might not be warm enough. My thermometer, just outside the radius of the heat lamp, was in the low 60s all morning. Their behaviour was normal, but, still…concerned.
I could lower the heat lamp, but, with all the netting strung over the brooder, this would have been a major operation, one to be undone on the first warm day. So, I decided to bring Mohammed to the heat lamp.
I took Buffy’s old wicker basket nest and inverted it, so half of it was under the heat lamp. If they were cold, they could climb up to the Lido Deck, and be at least ten degrees warmer.
They shrieked with panic and despair with I put the basket in the brooder, of course, and did not seem at all mollified by the Winnie the Pooh flannel sheets atop it, for their comfort. (You think I’m kidding, don’t you?)
They figured it out, as I knew they would. As soon as they concluded that the Lido Deck would get them closer to the heat lamp, they were on board, figuratively and literally. The Lido Deck is warm. The Lido Deck is good:
They were quiet. And quiet chicks are happy chicks.
I just said good night to everyone in the coop, and the babies were all on the Lido Deck…quiet.