No More Chicks in the Bathtub

Well, my husband has made it official: he’s tired of raising chicks in the bathtub. Actually, I’ve been the one raising them in bathtub, and he patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) has gone along with the idea. Although it’s been an annual spring event for the past four years, truth be told, I think we’re all ready to see the tradition go.

However, as far as raising chicks go, the bathtub served as a great temporary home until they were large enough to keep outside. We used the bathtub in our second bathroom (yes, we still showered in the other one!), which was extra deep and didn’t have a shower fixture anyway. I spread newspaper in the bottom, purchased a small chick waterer, and set up a clamp light with a regular bulb above them. They had natural lighting from the window over the tub, and we could shut the door to keep the cats out. The children could go in any time and pick them up and hold them. It was perfect!

Well, it was mostly perfect. These chicks were from the feed store, so they didn’t have a mother to keep them warm. Thus, the light served as their heat source, and it had to be left on all the time when they were very small. They couldn’t follow a regular day and night pattern and were often cheeping while everyone was trying to sleep. And, as they got bigger and started to fly, it became harder to keep them in the tub and the mess contained. One day, when my husband opened the door to the bathroom, about ten chicks flew from the edge of the bathtub right at him. He said it reminded him Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds….

I love to watch chicks grow, and I would probably give it one more try this spring, except that the kids’ interest seemed to wane quite a bit last year. Towards the end of the chicks’ house stay, I was the only one taking any interest in the little birds and their well-being. We still have hens outside that will lay, set, and have new broods of their own, so we won’t be totally chick-less. We’ll just sleep a little better at night.

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