Monday, May 14, 2012

Day Four

So last year when we had a box of cheeples in our dining room, I used a huge box I dragged home from work as the brooder box. We rigged up a heat lamp suspended from an old broom handle and covered the whole thing with a big piece of hardware cloth. Not only was it difficult to get into the brooder box to clean and do maintenance, that piece of hardware cloth not only scratched the shit out of us but ripped holes in a lot of shirt. It also invited the cats to walk out on it so they could observe the cheeples from above.

Needless to say, that didn't work too well.

So this year, I just partitioned off the dining room with an old card table and hung their heat lamp from the ceiling fixture. A little bit of cardboard as a draft guard and a viewing platform (an extra chair) for the cats and us, and their set-up is complete.

I was concerned for, oh, about 5 minutes that the cats would just jump in the brooder and wreak havoc, but the only havoc was when Vivani pulled the card table over before we set up the viewing platform. Gina hopped in there once, but it was only to see if she could open the door to Narnia.*

We had one more chick die in the night, so it's back down to 24 cheeples. Still don't know what they are, other than the Polish, who look like they have cotton balls on their head.

And we know that they love, love, love the stems of sorrel, and bay shrimp. Spare bits of lunch meat are good, too. Watching them run with a bit of treat in their beaks is like watching a Pac-man screen.

*Narnia. In the photo above you can see the edge of this built-in Old Man Schneitter added to the dining room. Considering how few closets this house has, I'm sure they needed the storage space, and the top works well enough as a bench. We also use it for storage—except for the two end cupboards, which are (for us) awkward space. But a couple of months ago Gina decided she liked opening the cupboard door and hanging out in there. Then we put their box top with their catnip over there, and now both of them like to go hang out in Narnia.

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