Bill. Not like the others. Or, meditations on pasty butt.

Time to lay down a little chick science. It’s been two weeks and two days since the chicks arrived. Just a reminder that I ordered five bantams, and downstairs we are lovingly brooding nine.

So many mouths to feed. I’ve put a lot of effort into making this experience as enjoyable and difficult as possible. That’s my superpower. Because I love domestic affairs so much, I decided I needed to do care and feeding for more things. Family, work, chicks, yard, home, pets, and sourdough starter. If you add it all up that’s about sixteen mouths to feed. And corresponding poop.

The point at which I was removing pasty butt on the chicks before work is when I knew I stretched my limits. Pasty butt, which really is poopy butt, is when the chicks’ poop gets stuck covering or sticking to their vent (their tri-use hole) which, if not treated, will kill them. Or if treated too roughly will kill them. Just too many ways to accidentally kill them.

Back to the science. Bill, the yellow chick who is the house favorite, is my weight standard. For some reason, I didn’t weigh any of the chicks on day one. Mistake noted. At seven days, Bill weighed 1.5 ounces. At 14 days, 2.2 ounces. The two largest chicks, which I’m starting to suspect are not Bantams, weighed a whopping 4 oz. at 14 days. It’s like they turned on a poop machine at day 12. But no pasty butt for the last few days, so no complaining.

The downside of having saved their lives by pasty butt removal is that they are now all terrified of me and all the other peoples of the house. Everything says it’s important to cuddle and play with them when they are little so they’re friendly and docile and good for backyard suburban chicken raising. Hopefully not a fail.

There’s also a lot to know. Day one the temperature in the brooder should be 105°, and slowly decrease by 5° a day starting after day two. Following?  Have a thermometer to measure that? When do you switch to a higher percentage protein food? How to recognize and treat deformed legs or curled toes? And when do they get grit? And treats, chicks need treat? Did I mention they use the same hole for pooping, peeing, and laying? I guess for having sex too. All right, it’s a four-way hole. I stand corrected.

Still, super fun. As is the smell of yeast that’s building from the sourdough starter on top of the fridge in the kitchen. Always is the love of Fez.  Kind of the love of Shady Belle (unless you’re Brett and you get it all the time plus random  ankle attacks). I’d have it no other way. Apparently.