Before I start writing this chicken update, I want to give a few bullet points for those of you who are lame and do not follow this blog.
– I love chickens
– I have always wanted to raise chickens
– I waited 26 years for chickens
– Mr. Wonderful said we didn’t need any chickens (he is no fun)
– Finally The Lord convinced Mr. wonderful that he was wrong
– Mr. Wonderful bought me 19 chickens for Christmas
– I was happy
– I loved my chickens very much
– My chickens loved me
– We were a very happy chicken family
– Then the coyotes came
– They came many times
– They killed most of my chickens
– They killed Earl, the best rooster a girl could ever ask for
– We got more chickens
– We got another rooster
– His name was Elvis
– Elvis was not nice. He was mean
– The coyotes came back
– They killed more chickens
– They killed Elvis
– I was sad
– Then I got mad
– I declared war against all chicken predators!
Now that everybody’s caught up and on the same page, I’ll get to the point of this post.
After the last coyote attack that killed Elvis and three of my best layers, we were left with 7 hens; Tree Rhode Island reds, two buff Orpingtons and two Marans. Only two of those were of laying age.
We quickly decided that we wanted more chickens but this time Devin decided he wanted to raise them from chicks….baby chicks. I had no idea what this meant, but I quickly found out.
Devin did everything short of fasting and praying about what kind of chicks to buy and when to buy them. I was thinking that we would just go to the local farm and ranch store and buy a few chicks….but I would be wrong. He studied, and read, and googled, and researched which chickens were the best layers, had the best disposition and the prettiest color. When it was all said and done he had ordered 50 chicks. They were scheduled for delivery to the Claremore post office on May 5th.
Of course there were 114 things that had to be done before they arrived. The total budget for all 114 things? Under $10.00. Not really, but close 😉
Devin built the brooder out of spare wood left over from a Christmas production. He found an ancient brooder lamp in an old hog pen on our property. When I say ancient, I really mean ancient. I think it was one that Noah used for the chicks on the Ark. He rewired it and got it in working order again, then hung it over the brooder box from the rafters. When it was all said and done I’m sure he was under budget 😉
May 5th came quickly. The day we had been waiting for was finally here. Devin came out if the post office with this. One box! I could not believe that all fifty chicks were mailed in this one little box.
As soon as Devin opened the box he said, with all seriousness, “ok, we have to take each chick, dip his beak in the water and make sure he knows how to drink.” I, of course, thought he must be kidding. surely he’s not expecting me to teach these birds how to drink!
Welp, he wasn’t kidding. One by one, as we took each chick out of the box we had to dip their little microscopic beak into the water and then watch their little microscopic throats to see if they were swallowing it! I was so grateful that each chick knew how to drink on its own because I surely didn’t know how to teach a chick how to swallow.
The next day, while Colton and Megan were at the house, I asked, “do y’all want to go see the baby chicks?” Devin immediately piped up and said, “yeah we need to go over and check the temperature of the brooder and then we need to make sure their butts are clean.” “What?” I said with a bit of an attitude, “please tell me you’re kidding!” “Nope”, he said, “we need to make sure they don’t have dried up poop on their butts.” I figured he was just trying to get me riled up, so I said, “you’re just making this up.” “No I’m not”, he said with his usual serious face, “if baby chicks have dried poop on their vents they will get pasty butt.” “Pasty butt? Seriously? That just sounds made up. You just made that up didn’t you? And what the heck is a vent?” “I’m not making it up”, he said as he filled a bucket with warm water, “the vent is their bottom and if it gets clogged or blocked with dried poop they can get pasty butt and die”. By now, Colton is laughing, Megan is gagging and I’m still trying to figure out if he kidding or not. “So what did the chicks do before we humans started cleaning their butts for them?” I questioned. “Their mommas did it for them but these chicks don’t have a momma so we are going to do it for them, now let’s go!”
We all piled in the back of the truck like the Beverly Hillbillies and made our way to the brooder house. Once we got inside, Colton, Devin and I made a virtual butt check assembly line. Colton climbed inside the box and one by one, would catch a chick and hand it to me. If its bottom was clean, he was let go. If it was dirty I then handed it to the chief butt wiper, Devin. He would then gently clean it with the warm water and let it go again. One by one, chick after chick every bottom was checked and deemed safe and clear of pasty butt.
That folks is how you solve the pasty butt dilemma.
If you would have asked me as a child what I wanted to do with my life, I can assure you that cleaning chicken butts would not have been on my short list. Fast forward to today, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing! I love my life and a charmed life it is 😉
Thanks for reading! I love you more than guacamole.
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