The chicks are now two weeks old, and the Dozen are doing well. I think I have several cockerels to choose from, if the daily attacks on my hands as I clean their tub is any indication. They are funny at the age--a combination of bravery, shyness and general silliness. After I take out their feed dishes and brooder heater, they all run around, hopping and flapping like suddenly they've been turned out into the wild beyond. FREEDOM! And then they wait impatiently for me to fill it again, so they can settle into eating, peeping and pooping--their three favorite activities.
This coming week, I'm going to introduce them to wood shaving bedding. I think they will love scratching in it, and they've figured out what is edible and what is not, so I'm not so worried that they will eat the shavings and plug themselves up. I'll also be introducing them to more foods. So far, they've had grass, lettuce and strawberry tops. They loved the greens, and liked chasing each other around as they carted the strawberry tops from corner to corner in a mad scrambling race. I plan to make them a grassy pinata to play with: basically, it's a bundle of weeds from the yard, hung from a dowel placed across the rim of the tub, and they can spend all day leaping up to snatch bits and bites off of it. It's great chick entertainment, particularly useful when they are getting bigger, more inquisitive, and feeling a tad crowded as they grow and their tub feels the same way. In a couple more weeks, I'll be moving them out into the rehabbed coop but for now, they just have to settle for their tub home. By keeping them occupied and out of mischief, they should pass their time without picking on each other.