So, yesterday I come home, and go about my business. Did some computer work, some laundry, then headed out to check on the chickens. When I lifted up the feed bags that were covering the holes, I was amazed to see empty nests, and the regular chickens on top of the boxes. Apparently the bags had worked, and kept out the chickens. It just kept out too many chickens. I assume the sitters went out to get a drink or to eat something, then could not get back into the nests. I felt so guilty.
Then I went out to the tack room, where I was keeping the babies.
I had a meeting that morning with my crew leader, and I did not pay a lot of attention to the animals because I was running late. I had glanced into the tack room, and raised the heat lamp a few inches above the night level, because they don't generally need as much heat during the day. The ambient temperature rises, and they stay warm with that. What I failed to notice was that they were almost out of water. The chick waterer is a small round tray that screws onto a mason jar. When the jar is inverted, the water comes out into the tray. When I looked, I saw the tray was wet, but not how much water was in the jar.
Without water, chicks overheat.
I killed 10 little babies.
I thought more were going to die, but I removed the heat lamp completely, sat my guilty butt on the floor and started feeding the sickest ones drops of cool water with a small syringe. 5 were really, really close to dying when I found them. When I was done, 4 had recovered. It took the better part of 2 hours to make sure everybody was rehydrated, but I now have 17 live chicks. I better take care of these ones, because I don't know that anymore will hatch out after being cool without the hens.