The chicks seem crowded in their cardboard box, so we move them out to their coop. They’ll still need a heat source until they get all of their feathers in three or four weeks, so we hang the brooder light from the eaves. It casts a red glow over the plywood floor. I check on the chicks right before bed, fearing they’ll be piled on top of each other shivering. But they’re lined up on the edge of their wooden nesting box. They’re roosting!
The next day we buy a chicken feeder and waterer, and some organic chicken feed. With the new containers, I only have to feed and water once a day, not three. I recommend buying these right from the start.
We let the chicks out to roam the yard a few times each day. But before we can let them out, we have to put our three cats inside. The cats line up at the screen door and watch the chicks’ every move, flicking their tails, drooling, and licking their lips. Midweek, one of the cats gets outside. He races across the yard and makes a beeline for the chicks. My husband intercepts him, but it’s a dramatic scene. Our neighbor assures us that once the chickens are cat-sized, they’ll all coexist peacefully in the backyard. For now, corralling the cats while the chicks roam is anything but easy, especially because I usually have an eleven-month-old baby in my arms.
The chicks get more feathers every day. The yellow chicks are turning brown and white. The black chick without the comb is significantly bigger than the other black chick. I’m not sure what to make of that. By the end of the week, the chicks are mostly feathered from the head down and look less like chicks and more like small chickens. They also now have very defined ears on the sides of their heads.
They love the empty raised bed near their coop. They run back and forth, pecking and scratching, throwing dried leaves in the air with their feet. It’s entertaining to watch them. Sometimes I lose track of time … until I hear a cat moan from the door.