These are two baby Bantam Chickens. I couldn't keep from touching them. Could you? I picked them up, then it happened ...
They fell asleep in my hand when I picked them up. I took advantage and took a bunch of pictures. Called the feed store here in Bothell (Bothell Feed Store) and found out that there birthday is April 28, 2008. Two days old. :)
Okay ... Now wait? Where are they going to be housed? They are going to need somewhere warm. After all they are babies. Oh great. I ran to grab my chicken books and gathered up three of them. I found a page stating that babies at this age would be needing 95 degree temperature (decreased steadily by 5 degrees each week). Steady. Draft free. Clean. Dry. Uh ... Hmm ...
Oh! Of course!
My mom had them in a styrofoam container that was used by a shipping company for shipping my brother's fish that he bought. It was large, but I'm picky. I didn't like it. That, and the fact that I know that chickens eat styrofoam. How? Well, probably because of the fact that we have inside the chicken house outside, used styrofoam insulation. The chickens learned that when they poked holes in it, they could eat it. Hey, why not? Looks good. So they did. Day after day after day. I had to go out there each day every few hours, checking on the styrofoam once I realized that they would try to eat it. I kept having to place tape over the holes so they wouldn't notice. Needless to say, they just made another hole. So each day, in the beginning, they had themselves a nice snack of some styrofoam. Luckily, only lasted a few days overall and never enough to hurt them. I took care of that problem. Ha! Too smart for there own good. Er, except for the eating styrofoam part.
Now what was the epiphany?
A reptile cage! My brother used to have a gecko. He bought a hood for that cage you see above. In this hood was a heat lamp and a night heat lamp. The night one was used to simulate the moonlight while providing heat still for the reptile. That way they didn't have to worry about losing heat. I ran to find my brothers book on geckos and it stated that the temp they needed was 80-90. Night temps just a little lower, but still close to that. Perfect!
I also had my mom's heating pad that when placed on low provides just about that, depending on how much cloth you have on it. Adding more washcloths will lower the temp it provides for the babies. So, combined with the heating lamp, the heating pad and my rooms natural warmth when I keep the windows shut (oh god do I have to?) my room, the aquarium was around 90-100 degrees. It kept fluctuating.
A screened lid on top provided adequate ventilation and the clear glass of the aquarium allows the babies to keep track of where I am. I go and come from my room quite frequently so they get to see me constantly. I'm in and it and around a lot.
K. Now. Book says water bowl cannot be too deep and if it is, provide some rocks. Otherwise babies can drown. Hmm ... Ooo! My graduated glass bowls. Some of them come in mere tablespoon sizes, all the way up to more than 4 quart size. I found a small one, placed a couple rocks in it so they could get the water, but it wasn't deep enough to drown in, while at the same time, the rocks would provide footing in case they did fall in. Good.
Food bowl. Hmm ... Maybe using just a bigger size of the glass bowl would work? Seems to be good. They can get at it just fine. Boy, these guys are small! But, oh so very cute!
So, the cage bottom is the leftover cedar chips from the box they came in. Only used a little though. The bottom layer is a small baby blanket then the heating pad in the corner, then another washcloth or two on top, then their food and water. All set. Should be good to go. They seem to be enjoying their new digs.
But ... I don't like the thought of them by themselves. I would like them to have something to snuggle. I'll find a small toy from the doggie excess toys box and place some of the feathers I've collected off of Lily and the others when they motled (shed old feathers) and shove them up it's neck so it has some feathers. That way, it will seem like a momma chicken, while the feathers might have the other chicken scent on it so that they can get used to the scent of Lily outside (maybe).
Good. They seem to like it. They seem to be going right to bed. I'm hoping that they will sleep through the night all right. It's night, night time, but I can't use the light of the day heat lamp - though it gives the right temp - it is too bright. Can't use the night heat lamp because again, too bright. [crosses fingers] Hopefully just the heating pad with an old cloth diaper surrounding them, as well as this little stuffed dog will do the trick. Hopefully they will stay warm. I know the pad itself - with them laying upon it - will be even warmer, but still ...