Baby chicks and eggs have been a symbol of spring since ancient times – perhaps all the way back to the time when chickens were first domesticated. They also have been important symbols in Christianity from the times of the early church. The egg symbolizes the rock tomb where Christ’s body was laid and the hatching chick symbolizes His resurrection.
So it is highly appropriate that baby chick day here at the Hipster Hen Ranch will be Easter Sunday. The chick nursery is set up and ready to go and Courtney and I are both eagerly awaiting the soon-to-arrive babies.
|The Chick Nursery|
Some specifics on the nursery:
Chick water font filled with electrolyte solution: The small water font is designed for babies. The electrolytes are because the chicks may be stressed. They are traveling from Eastern Wisconsin to Minnesota over the course of a day during the very first day of their lives. While car travel will not be as stressful as being plunked into a box and sent through the mail, it is still more taxing than just hanging around the spot they are hatched.
Baby chick crumbles: Eventually Courtney will take her brood outside where they’ll learn about bugs, seeds, and scratching in the dirt, but for now they will be eating crumbles designed specifically for baby chicks by our friends at Purina.
Paper Towels: I always start babies on paper towels. I don’t recommend newspapers since they are too slippery. Many people use pine shavings and while I'll switch to that when the chicks are older, I like to start with paper towels. The chicks will instinctively scratch and peck at the floor from the get-go, and eating pine shavings is not particularly healthy for babies. I scatter crumbles all over the floor and they will have a good time pecking at those – and the crumbles will be much easier to find on paper towels than they would if they were all mixed up with pine shavings. Paper towels are handy because as they become soiled, I can just layer more towels over the top. In a few weeks, when the chicks are ready for pine shavings, I can just roll up the whole mass of paper towels and put them in the compost pile.
Heat lamp: The lamp is hanging high in the air and will provide supplemental heat. When the chicks are cold, or want to sleep, they’ll find a nice warm spot under Courtney’s wing - their main heat source. And while it isn't a thought I like to dwell on, there’s the possibility that Courtney will not accept these babies. If that were to occur, I would move the heat lamp lower it would be the primary heat source.
Mama hen: I have great faith in this sweet little bird. She’s been patiently sitting on golf balls for weeks!
|The Ever-Patient Courtney|