The girls are doing great with the mama hen heating pad. They love it under there--maybe a little too much. These chicks are more skittish than our previous batch of chicks. As soon as they hear or see someone in the room with them, they startle and run under the heating pad, so I've been sneaking up on them, trying to get a glimpse of them out in the open.
The temp under the heating pad has been between 90 and 95°F, which is right on track with what all the chicken people say the chicks need. Just today, I turned the heat setting down one notch, and AKD told me I should raise it up a bit (so the chicks wouldn't get clothes-lined as they were fleeing to safety), so I did that, too. I'm keeping a close eye on them and the temperature today, and will decide later on if the temp needs to go back up over night.
Isn't Indigo pretty? Like all of the chicks, her wing and tail feathers are coming in, and hers are just striking in grayscale. Indigo seems to be the ring leader at this point. Both Koko and Indigo have doubled in size since coming home. It's really remarkable how much they've grown in such a short time, which goes a long way to explaining why these chicks looked so much smaller when we brought them home, than we remember our first set of chicks being. Just like human babies, we forget how little they were.
I added a mirror to the brooder, and all of the girls like looking at themselves in it. They hang out by the mirror quite a bit. I think. I mean, I'm not really sure because they usually run when I go look at them. The girls also appear to already be plotting their escape. They're looking up toward the top of the brooder and testing their wings, and digging in various spots, trying to find a weak spot.
The chicks are extremely talented at getting pine shavings in their water, even after I elevated it a bit more, so I'll be setting up the nipple waterer as soon as I can manage it (first we need to empty a container of the right sort, since I recycled the one we used last year). I gave the chicks fermented food for the first time today, and while it doesn't appear to be their favorite thing ever, I did see all three of them eating it.
This week, I will attempt to set up a dust bath in the brooder. I say "attempt" because I'm not sure where I'm going to find dry, non-snow-covered dirt around here. Wish me luck.
And, I will close with this. So sweet.