Sunday, May 29, 2011

treats kale!
I've described how kinetic the chicks can be, making it impossible to get good, detailed photos of them. Equally difficult is getting a photo of all five together...except in those first moments after placing a treat in the brooder, when they all gather round. For the most part, they eat specially ground starter feed (or "crumbles"), but all the chick lit condones offering them treats, in moderation. High protein treats are good, as are greens. Yogurt is good for chicks for the same reasons it's good for humans: the beneficial bacteria.

Early on we adopted the practice of starting the day with a single scrambled egg shared amongst the five. This was taken 8 days ago and, boy, have they changed!

When I first wake up in the morning, I go out to the brooder, remove the screen and greet the girls. They chirp and dart around excitedly. I remove the fount, scrub it thoroughly with soap and water and refill it. I check the level of the crumbles and refill the feeder if it's low or soiled. Then, with the basics squared away, I scramble an (organic) egg. As in the finest restaurants, presentation is crucial. When they were tiny, it seemed they responded better to food if there was a strong visual contrast. Our everyday dishes are mostly whitish, but I have a few pieces of Fiesta and other Homer Laughlin pottery that I was lucky enough to acquire from that 90-year-old grandmother I've mentioned before. The green plate seemed perfect for the pale yellow scrambled egg, so it has become the egg plate now. It works equally well for dollops of Greek yogurt:
As I have previously mentioned, yogurt delivery posed an initial challenge. As is evident from the egg photo, the girls have absolutely no sense of a plate as a place for food and not for walking around--or even lounging. I've observed both Rosie and Hattie situate themselves in the center of the egg plate--still laden with egg, mind you--and commence a bizarre spastic ritual that involves much writhing, fluttering of wings and rubbing of bellies on the eggy plate. And, of course, flying bits of egg.  The first time I attempted to give them yogurt in a demitasse saucer, they made quick work of getting it all over themselves--faces, feet, bellies, everywhere! We've since arrived at the Impressionist Art method of yogurt deployment. It starts out looking as though van Gogh applied it with a putty knife; is placed in the brooder as if on an easel; and ends up looking like Seurat after the girls have finished pecking the yogurt off the plate.

But the most exciting treat of the day is the leafy one. We've tried lettuce (yum), arugula (pretty good as well) and now some lovely Lacinato kale (the favorite), all from the garden. We cut it into a chiffonade so that it resembles grass and the girls go nuts over it. The first bits are like prizes and despite the fact that there is plenty in the dish for everyone, there is much racing around, chasing after the first chick to have grabbed a shred in her beak. The chicks inhale the shredded leaves exactly as if they were slurping up noodles and there are occasional Lady and the Tramp moments with a chick on each end of a strand. It's all great fun, at the conclusion of which they all settle down for a fitful nap.

BTW, the girls are two weeks old today and simply marvelous!

1 comment:

  1. I find I'm checking back pretty often for updates, as well as re-reads. Well done!