Sunday, 7 February 2010

When You Can't Stand The Heat....

I've never had chooks on heat before. When the other girls came to me, they were tiny balls of feathers, but had been weaned from their heat lamps. Purdy and Celia, being winter hatchings, are not, and I can't find any succinct instructions on how to manage the process. Yesterday, I raised the lamp by approximately two inches, and lowered the temperature by about 5C. They aren't huddling under it shivering, so I assume that this is fine. Hmmm.

Purdy made a break for it on Friday, necessitating the removal of the washing up bowl basking area. It was too convenient a launch pad. Curiously, she doesn't attempt her daring escapes unless I'm in the garage, which makes me wonder if she's just doing it for attention. Celia is less inclined to leave the confines of the brooder, and meeps frantically if her flock mate disappears from sight. She is a good, rule abiding chicken.

I noticed in the week that Purdy had a very long upper beak. Usually this would be worn down while the hen foraged about the garden, but as I knew that it would be several weeks before Purdy got that chance, I had to do something about it. As I couldn't hold the small hen and clip her beak, I roped in the ever tolerant husband.

I asked him to fetch the nail clippers, trying to sound casual. He was not fooled, but went and got them. When he returned, he found me clutching Purdy. With a great deal of cajolling, he brandished the clippers, timidly clipping at thin air. I managed to get a grip on Purdy's tiny and fragile skull, and growled at him to just get on with it. With a wince, he removed the overhang of her beak, although this was more luck than design. It's hard to judge such things with your eyes closed. Purdy snapped her beak together, sounding very much like Spanish percussion as she tested out her new chops. I returned her to her anxious sister, where she spent a good twenty minutes filing down the rough edges on the concrete floor.

The ever tolerant husband took about the same time to recover from the horror of chopping off a bit of her face.

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