Thursday morning I was undecided : Clean the stalls first or clean the peeps brooder. There are now 6 little chicks living in my tack room.....
Nora, my helper, was here and was happily brushing winter hair off of Carlene, the Clydesdale. I decided to get the peeps little brooder neat n' tidy first, Then get the pooh in the horses' stalls. It made sense to me anyway- maybe not to anyone else. Carefully picking the plastic brooder box up with 6 partially feathered peeps was a job in itself. They are getting HEAVY. It will soon be time for them to live outdoors- YAY.
I sat the box on a chair, making sure it was perfectly balanced and removed their feeder / waterer. Sitting those beside the sink, I stepped over to roll up the dirty bedding - newspaper n' paper towels. Its interesting to do this with 6 little chickens in there also. Had to herd them to one end, then roll the now dirty smelly paper towards them, and finally slid it out from under their little chicken feet. Much peeping and complaining of possibly being someone's dinner for certain from them all. A few are very friendly and some are semi- friendly by now, so I was sure it was those girls complaining about being eaten. I have found chickens are Always scared of being someone's dinner. Either a hawk or raccoon might happen along- you just never know what one might find in a tack room !
I stepped over to put the soiled paper in the trash can and as I turned around, I scared the peeps who ran to the far end of their brooder. Yes- this caused an awful dropping sound as it hit the floor. Squawking and terrorized noises ensued as the peeps toppled out of it. There were three Still in the brooder, totally scared. Three toppled out onto the floor. They were standing there as though they were thinking in their little chicken minds " WTF ??" No one had moved, but for one little pretty peep, Skylar. SHE figured she'd now go exploring in this wonderful big place, and was walking about checking things out. The Dominique, Ada, sat down to consider what just happened, and my poor little Rhode Island Red peep, Lucy , was so terrified- she froze in place. Reminded me of a Fainting goat as she lay there expecting all the worst to happen. Of course, nothing did but me making some " oh my gawd" noises , putting the brooder Back on the chair and asking Nora to balance it for me I'm glad she was here because it was going to take two humans to hold the brooder, and catch the now Very much 'over their scare' Peeps !
Nora balanced the brooder, and I scooped up little chickens who complained Loudly about losing their new found freedom. Once they were all safely returned to the pen, Nora went back to her grooming, and I finished putting down fresh paper for them. Got some hay from the hay stall and soon the peeps were happily scratching about in it looking for what ever little chickens look for. All of them were fine, and I hope not to traumatized over their unexpected flight.
If these chicks survive ME caring for them, they are going to be some hardy mature chickens. We won't go into how the next day I dropped an exploding waterer all over their freshly cleaned brooder..... Poor Little Peeps !