Breakfast For The Girls
We are calling them girls (Gael, Gladys, Gwen, Gali, Gudule etc etc). There might be a boy in there – won’t know for sure for a few weeks. He’ll be Gaston, or Gus, or Gaspard – haven’t quite decided yet.
The girls are still in the brooder and not out yet (too cold – got down to 19F/ -7C last night) but I want them to be exposed to the outside and to eat fresh and varied (beside their chicken starter ration). Eating fresh and varied… sounds familiar? So? so, every morning, we dig fresh clumps of succulent greens for them, and put the clumps in a big flat pot or large clay saucer. We bring it to them (replacing the day-old saucer which they have battred down quite vigorously). On the menu this morning: chickweed, grass, mache, dandelion etc sprinklered with granite grit – which they need for their digestion. Gael et al are now at the stage where they actually eat the greens. And they are expecting it! Woe to me if I don’t bring it.
Chickweed and mache are the big hit! They also have a chance to go after worms and any insects that might be in the clumps. What fun that is! One chick finds a worm and it is a mad race through the brooder for the others to try to steal it. She drops it, another picks it up and the race goes the other way! I also give them leaves of the greens that were growing in the greenhouse (mostly arugula, and the occasional self-seeded mache) and that are covered with aphids. It’s too hot for good green growing in the greenhouse now: they grow soft and the aphids are having lots to eat. Fair enough game: I feed the aphids to the chicks. They love pecking at the aphids, one by one, very fast, very methodical. Again, very fun to watch. I am the “mama”, training them do what chicken are supposed to do (scratch, forage, eat bugs, worms & other proteins, seeds and vegetation) and make sure they don’t get bored! Also, while we want them to be in a clean environment, we don’t want it to be sterile: just like infants, they need to build their auto-immune system.
Not even two weeks old, and they are growing FAST!