PEEP-PEEP – February 2024

By Diane Lockspeiser

Back in early December, I got a phone call about some baby chicks that needed a home. Three were already a month old, and there were more in an incubator about ready to hatch.

The first three needed to be taken immediately, so I set up the playpen for them in our front den. They were already feathered so they didn’t need the heat lamp, at least not in the house. I do have a second lamp already set up out in the chick enclosure within the chicken coop, but I’d need to rig up another extension cord. The cord already going to the coop is used in Winter for the warming plate that keeps the hens’ water from freezing. I guessed I would figure that out whenever the newborns arrived and it was necessary to move the first group to the coop.

Meanwhile, two of the three chicks were fighting and pulling out each other’s feathers. They were pretty rowdy from day one, but then as one got much bigger than the others, he became very aggressive. He started attacking my hand whenever I was changing the water or filling the food dish.

I had planned to put the roosters out to free range come Springtime. This little guy kept making so much trouble, however, that I decided to let nature take its course and threw him out the front door. He ran off into the bushes. Since it was only going to be sixteen degrees that night, I didn’t expect him to make it through the night and felt a little guilty. But only a little, once I saw how happy and quiet the other two chicks became.

Well, the next morning he showed up near the front porch, so I gave him food and water. Same thing happened the next day. When it started to rain on the third day he came up on the porch to sit by the door, pooping all over the doormat. To get him away from there, I made him a nest in a flat basket and set it near my potting table in the corner of the porch, along with his food and water.

I had some empty plastic meat trays stacked on a shelf to use in the Spring to hold the seedlings pots that I make out of newspaper. He knocked them off the shelf and then sat on the ones that landed upside down. I guess it must be warmer and/or more comfortable than the wood of the porch. I moved the rest of the trays to another shelf and put his food and water dishes on that one. I let him keep a few plastic trays to stand on, trading them out for clean ones on occasion.

He has been there for about a month now, not aggressive anymore and peeping to me whenever I am on the porch. One day when I came home after being away all day, he actually did a little happy dance. It’s so hard not to get attached, even though I know it’s not a good idea.

When the rest of the baby chicks arrived, four of them, I moved the two from the first group into the enclosure in the coop. I was confident they would be fine out there without the heat lamp on because “Peep-peep” on the front porch has done so well, even on the coldest nights.~