© Another Day in the Country
Yesterday was the day we moved the baby chicks out of my house and into theirs. It was time!
I’ve kept chicks in the bathtub a couple of times when the weather got what I considered ‘too cold’ for hatchlings. I thought I was doing a smarter thing this time to put them in my Dad’s old stock tank and house them in my “massage room.” Wrong!
You have to envision this lovely room with Indian saris draped over the windows, wonderful photographs and paintings on all the walls, an exotic old carved camphor chest from China, another low covered heavily-carved coffee table adorned with candles, and, of course, the massage table, hence the name of the room.
When I decided it was too cold outside for baby chicks, I just moved the massage table against the wall and brought in the tank. I thought I was being very progressive because the chicks were contained in a tank rather than a built-in tub, and when the weather improved I could just move them back out to the coop.
What I didn’t think about was the dust that even baby chicks, with their incessant scratching, seem to create.
When I’d housed the chicks in the bathroom, I groaned right out loud when I had to clean that room from ceiling to floor. I couldn’t believe how dirty those little chicks got my bathroom. I reasoned that this latest chick inhabitation was a much smarter move. Wrong, again!
In the massage room, we had chairs around the stock tank for “viewing” chicks. Guests who came to visit over Easter considered the massage room their first port of call. All ages loved watching those chicks! I mean, “How many times in your lifetime do you get to do this?”
Several times a day, I stop whatever I’m doing and spend time with those baby chicks. They grow up so fast — like kids. In a month, they’ve officially entered a primary school age, with feathers having sprouted out everywhere.
The topknot chicks are the funniest. The tops of their heads look like small boys run amok with hair gel, little black feather points sticking up at odd angles straight into the air.
My chicks love oatmeal, so I always toss them some oats and they come running over for the treat. As Jess and I sat there on Saturday, viewing the babies, I looked across the room at the massage table.
“Look at the DUST on that table,” I said to my sister.
She looked and then said, “It’s absolutely everywhere!” and she was right.
Use your imagination and see a heavy layer of chicken dust on the bright-colored saris, which were now dull in specific areas, and with equal concentration in every crease of the Chinese handiwork, and on feather collections, cornhusk Indian dolls, picture frames, and lamps.
“The chicks have to go,” I said with resolve — although the damage had already been done and I knew what I was going to be doing on Monday.
So, on Sunday, we carried the tank out of my house and up to the door of the chicken coop. We just tipped them up and herded them out into their permanent abode.
They were a little shocked by the transition, flattening themselves in corners and under their little box house that I’d made them for comfort. Within a few hours, they were exploring their more spacious domain and appeared quite content. I, on the other hand, am still adjusting.
I feel like flattening myself in a corner, too. That room is a fierce mess to clean up with all the little knickknacks and curly carvings. I dread diving in!
“You are going to have to use a Q-tip to clean that Chinese chest,” my sister said, not volunteering to help.
This was, after all, my bright idea, and she had already taken on an out-of-town job, so I am on my own, cleaning up a mess, yet again, on another day in the country.