There are over 100 chicks, 4 turkey poults and about 20 ducklings in the brooder so far. Tomorrow the ducklings need to be separated because they use up all the water and make such a big mess, it just isn't fair to the chicks. The turkey poults do not know how to eat or drink on their own and that is something, when the turkey mother hatches her eggs, she teaches the babies to do. Otherwise, they must learn on their own from watching the chicks or if they are by themselves, their human caretaker must show them by giving them the food and taking them to the water and dipping their beaks into it. It is so much easier when the mothers hatch their babies and care for them, and the babies are so much smarter. Last year, I carefully observed newly hatched chicks. The mothers took them around the barn yard, showing them what food was good, how to drink water and when they got cold, she called them to her and brooded them right where they were. In the first week, the young ones cannot regulate their own temperature yet, and need to be very warm, so the mother broods them very often, but they also are out and about and running over and under grasses and straw. Humans tend to coddle the chicks, not giving them straw, thinking it will cause their legs to splay, but in the real world, they are everywhere. The better mothers watch their babies closely and defend them fiercely. No one dare get too close or she will rush at the intruder and peck hard and scratch and puff herself up to appear a ferocious as she is acting. Human raised chicks miss all that fun. These babies will live in the granary brooder for a month, then be transferred to a hoop coop with a heat lamp in the corner. There they can experience the sunshine and fresh air and learn how to cope with the wind. Some will be kept to breed next year, but most, if not sold, will be put into the freezer for delicious meals in the winter. Their lives are honoured though, and they are loved and appreciated very much. Thank you little feathered friends, thank you so much.
Fluffy writes daily about the experiences on the farm and with the bed and breakfast patrons.