Baby Chicks!!

In our efforts to become as Vermonty as possible, we agreed to chicksit some baby chicks this week while their owners are away on vacation. Specifically, we agreed to hold and pet them as much as possible so that they'll get used to being handled by people. I know. It's a rough life we lead.

The two little chicks arrived yesterday, and we've been basically unable to take our eyes off them since. Even though all they do is eat, poop, and sleep, I could watch them for hours! They're two funny gals.

Please disregard my music in the background. I wanted you to be able to hear their little cheeping.

One is a black silkie, and the other is a buff brahma bantam. They're both supposed to be one-day old, but I suspect that the buff brahma bantam is a bit older - she's kind of a bully.

They don't love to be held, and in fact, when we reach our hands in the box to pick them up, they cheep cheep cheep with all their might and run around like crazy. I suspect they're warning each other - INCOMING!!!!

But once we hold them for a few minutes and gently pet their ridiculously soft little heads, they fall asleep in our hands. I know. Rough, rough life.

I was very worried about how Jammer would respond to them being here and whether I was going to have to watch him like a hawk. But as far as I can tell, he has no idea they're in the house. Weird, because they're just sitting up there on the kitchen table in a box. I'd assume that he could hear and smell them, but he's paid them no mind. Mostly he just seems a little sad that we're not paying more attention to him.

We still love you, Jammer!
There has been a bit of drama since they arrived.

Mild discussion of poo ahead - turn away if you can't handle that sort of thing. (No poo pictures.)

Baby chickens sometimes have this issue where their little poo hole, or "vent," as it's called, gets clogged and they're unable to relieve themselves. It's called "pasting up" and can cause death if it's not addressed quickly. We thought that might be happening with the little black silkie because she had some stuff crusted in that region, and she wasn't eating or drinking and just seemed way more lethargic than the other.

We called the woman that we had picked them up from, and she said that it probably wasn't happening and that sometimes baby chicks take a while to catch on to what they're supposed to be doing - i.e. eating and drinking.

That assuaged us for a bit, but before we headed to bed we were both still worried. We hadn't ever seen her poop, though the other had been a little pooping machine. So, much to the little silkie's dismay, we lifted her up and cleaned her rump (for the second time) with a wet paper towel. Everything is very small down there, and I was still having a hard time figuring out what was going on and whether things were clear. After a little more internet reading, I very carefully did what this website suggested and cleared the blockage. (And got confirmation that things had definitely been blocked - gross!) But the change in her behavior was instantaneous - happy little chick running around and drinking lots of water!

I felt like a hero, but we read that once this happens with a chick, it's likely to happen again. So we're watching her closely and even got up in the middle of the night to make sure things were looking okay. Nothing like cleaning poo from a chicken's butt at 3:30 in the morning. Helicopter parenting much?

Anyway, so far so good!

I'm sorry for the low quality of these pics, but I thought you'd definitely want to see them! It's very challenging to take pictures in a box, and I can't take anything worth looking at when the heat lamp is on, so I grabbed these really quickly while I turned it off for about 30 seconds, though you can tell that it's still on in the video.