Chicks Are Home…

…still alive and so am I.

I have worried over them like, well, you have to say it– a mother hen. I believe I’ve had more stress than they have. Are they eating? Why is that one sleeping so much? Is it too hot? Is it too cold? Are they pooping right?

They were peeping at the store, they peeped all the way home, and when they had been in their cage about ten minutes of sort of standing around, they all piled together and passed out. I, of course, feared some sort of instant death. I took myself off to keep busy. Fifteen minutes later my husband reported, “They’re all peeping and eating like crazy.” My response was, “Oh, they are not.” He’s such a one to tease.

Chicks first gluten-free meal

But they were. I’ve been watching them ever since, can hardly get anything done for watching them. They are chickens, for heavensake! Why are they fascinating? And the strangest thing– their little peeping makes me happy. The sound is for me like happy comfort.

They arrived earlier than expected to St. Elmo Feed and Seed, so by the time I picked them up Friday morning, they’d received over 12 hours of water and commercial chick starter. I’m sure God gave this to me so I could feel more confident. I can report, however, that they went at my gluten-free ration with eagerness. I was thrilled.

Let me pause and explain the gluten-free feed is for me– so that I don’t have to be immersed in commercial chicken feed which is filled with wheat and barley. As a celiac, I can eat all the chicken and eggs that I want to, but messing around with the feed presents hazards.

Basically, here’s the mixture we started with: cornmeal already on hand (Bob’s Mill stone ground), millet, steal cut instant oatmeal (McCann’s from Ireland that I haven’t been able to eat and could bear to toss out), alfalfa pellets put in the food processor (doesn’t work too well), brown rice, table salt, then added molasses to make sort of crumbly. They ate it quite happily, as you can see above.

Since then, I’ve learned that the babies love cracked corn softened with a small amount of water, but they do not like the feed mix dampened. I should have gotten alfalfa meal. A dish of milk did not fare well. The chicks very favorite by far, and easy, has been a mixture of cracked corn, Bob’s Red Mill cornmeal, Bob’s Red Mill rice cereal, and McCann’s steel cut oats (Bigstreetrod says, “If this keeps up our eggs will only cost us $15 a piece.”), soaked for a short while in water. Scarfed that stuff right up, as you can see.

So far, so good. We’re all learning, and we’re not dead yet.