Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 24 - Separation Anxiety

This seemed like a good day to move the chicks away from the parents.  The two older chicks were pecking at the food plate, but still demanding food with the baby, who seems so babyish compared to his brothers.  I read that if you put all the chicks into a new cage, only a couple of perches 2" above ground at one end of the cage, and at the other end a variety of finely chopped soft foods on a dish on the floor and water in a cup.  They should figure things out in a "follow the leader" sort of way.

If the chicks peep loudly all day long, it means they're hungry and need to go back to the parents to be fed. Sometimes they give up and feed themselves, but after an hour of peeping, I gave in.  The pitiful cries from chicks and the parents woeful responses was deafening!  Call me a weenie, but I never could let my "real" babies "cry it out" either. Instead of moving the babies back to the big cage, I decided to move the parents into the small cage where the perches were low and food on the floor.  This way they'll watch their parents eat from the exact same place they'll need to go.

We have company in our house this morning.  My son's fiancee Vanessa and her girlfriend that came in town last night spent the night in his room and Robert slept on the living room couch.  This is my reason for silencing the incessant peeping.  I've decided to move the adult birds out of the baby cage a few times daily, extending the length of separation each time.  Like learning to wear contact lenses, eventually this cage won't seem so scary without the old folks, and hopefully the chicks will adapt less traumatically.  

Mother's nest is ready and she likes hanging out in it, empty that it is.  I will let the adult birds overnight in the big cage with the nest, because if Jo needs to lay an egg, it is usually in the early morning.  She won't sit on the eggs until she has finished laying the entire clutch, which I encourage, because I don't want the 3-day age difference like we've experienced with these chicks.  This age difference is like having a human baby 2-3 months younger, and with birds the loudest, boldest and biggest get fed first.  Right now, I see the two adult birds and two older chicks roosting on the upper perch, while Chick #3 is fluffed up beneath them and sound asleep, with poop raining down from above.  He's not a dummy, he's still just such a baby.  How quickly parents forget and only 3 days ago, the other two were just as immature.

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