I had hoped the chicks and ducklings would arrive on Thursday, but they ended up arriving the morning of our zoo trip. So I stayed home while Rosie and Zorro took their father to the post office to pick up the noisy box. My husband reported that you could hear their cheeping from the parking lot. The great variety of breeds that we received was just what I had hoped for.
All of them were safe and sound, so we tucked them into a few giant totes on the kitchen floor, gave them food and water and dashed out the door. Not quite the arrival I had imagined.
Misadventures and Mortality
But with our arrival home late that evening, the misadventures began. I decided to re-fill the chick’s water so that Rosie could enjoy watching them. Kind of me, right? I filled the water jug, carefully shooed the chicks out of the area and carefully set it down. Within a few minutes I realized that I must have set the container on an incline: water was running over the edge into the bottom of the tote. Swiftly I lifted up the jug…… and found a squashed chick underneath. Apparently I had not been as careful as I thought. Our first casualty has occurred.
The following morning we found one of the ducklings dead, but we’re still uncertain as to why. Thankfully, no more unfortunate events have happened and our 25 chicks and 20 ducklings are very happy and active.
After one night in the house and a close look at the weather forecast, we moved all of our new poultry outside to the chicken tractor. I set up a cozy corner for them to sleep in: a tote, a few pieces of scrap metal and a heat lamp were all they required for the warm nights that were forecast.
Zorro and Rosie were thrilled at being allowed to hand their charges to me one by one as I placed them into their new home.
The chicks all huddled together and peered up at me with suspicious glances, but not the ducklings. They saw green and went ballistic. Twitching their little heads and performing impressive back-flips, they darted among the weeds and futilely stalked flies in between hurried trips to the food and water. When night time came, the chicks were all snuggled under the heat lamp, but the ducklings sat just outside the circle of light and tried to grab the insects that flocked towards them.
By their second day outside, I broke my first rule. Every book I have read and every expert I have consulted said I must not let the ducklings swim until at least 2 weeks of age. But our 100 degree weather had everyone panting. So I brought out a shallow pan filled with water and let them get in. Well, I now understand what it means to say “They took to it like a duck to water.” They knew what to do right away, and the chicks scattered. :) I removed the pan after a little while because I was afraid that the chicks would drown, and I noticed that both chicks and ducklings seemed to enjoy sitting on the cool wet ground that was left behind.
Zorro and Rosie enjoyed making their diaries. I tried to keep it simple: they drew pictures and I transcribed the captions for them. I love seeing the different things they illustrate.
This Entry is being shared over at the Homeschool Science Share and Tell link-up