We installed the chicks in a cardboard box with wood shavings in it along with a bowl of chick crumbs and their water dispenser. The heat lamp is normally used for lambs and we decided it was a bit fierce (based on our extensive or non-existent experience!) and brought them into younger son's room with an anglepoise lamp positioned over the box. Thank you to mountainear for the suggestion. We taped a couple of new but oldfashioned mop heads together (thank you to snailbeachshepherdess) as a surrogate mother and covered some of the top of the box over with the thin insulation sheets from the cold frame, trying to ensure there would still be plenty of air.
They have survived over Thursday night and Friday and Saturday, eating like little chicken horses and adapting to the box so that they no longer huddle frantic in a corner but wander about exploring and peeping. They seem not too interested in the mopheads so we have replaced them with a folded cloth which they are climbing up and down in an exploratory fashiom. They are feathering practically as you watch and with every day must presumably be less vulnerable to the cold. The challenge now is to cope with the fact that we are not here twenty four hours a day and need to be sure there is enough food and water for the times we are away. I would be absolutely gutted if anything happened to them now, both because I put so much time and got so nettle stung rescuing them and because it would feel even more strongly as if it were a failure of our care if they died.
I find myself plotting to see if I can work at home the next couple of weeks. Have I got meetings? Can I do everything by conference call and email and is this fair on the staff who are working for me? I think my commitment to my job would be questioned if I explained that I need to stay home to supervise my chicks but I could do it I think, it is the culture of presenteesim that makes it hard not to show one's face, not a feeling that the job can't be done properly without being in the office. I shall continue to mull it over.
Basil planted out, Ian's tomatoes put out into the greenhouse bed, bread made. So much living to do, so little time.