Friday, April 24, 2009

Entropy: It's Closing In

I was trying to take a picture of Emma candling an egg, but I got a picture of the Devil's face instead.
C.H.A.O.S. Can't have anyone over syndrome. (see

Second definition of "entropy" from the New World Dictionary of the American Language: a measure of the degree of disorder in a substance or a system: entropy always increases and available energy diminishes in a closed system, as the universe or the Haught household.

When I arose at 5 a.m. this morning, I discovered that the waterer in the chicks' box had overflowed and soaked all the shavings and the box itself. The chicks were damp and cold. I fixed it.

Herb called from the Netherlands, and I woke Nathaniel and Emma so that they could talk to him. While Emma was on the phone I noticed a peculiar bloodstain on her shirt. I was a bit emotional, because I'm not used to Herb being away. Everything seems off kilter. Emma gave the phone back to me, and she and Nathaniel disappeared. When I hung up, they reappeared. Emma was cuddling a baby rabbit. I was confused. We've been expecting baby rabbits from one of our meat rabbits, but this one looked just like an illustration from a Beatrix Potter book. Plus, my mind wasn't quite back from the Netherlands.

Emma explained that after I went to bed last night, she heard screaming on the back porch and found the bunny in a state of shock. Our cat, China May, had caught him and wounded him. Emma had brought the bunny in, apparently snuggling his wounded self against her chest. She let him stay in our guest room overnight. That was not intentional, she claims. He got loose in there, and she couldn't catch him until this morning when she enlisted Nathaniel's help.


While I fixed breakfast, Nathaniel and Emma took Baby Bunny out to the hangar and set him up in a rabbit cage. We have extra cages. We do not have extra waterers or feeders, so I must go to the feed store.

Yesterday was the hatch date for ten bantam Aracaunas, so we needed to move them from the incubator into the box that the older chicks have been occupying in the gameroom. After breakfast, Nathaniel left for school, and Emma and I set up our electric brooder in the garage. It's old and cranky and requires lots of adjustments and patience. While we were working on it, we noticed that Butter Cream, the bantam Aracauna hen that we got from Mickey with eight chicks, was screeching and pecking at her babies. Yesterday she started laying again, so I figured that she is done with brooding chicks and is longing for empty nest syndrome. So Emma and I stopped our work on the brooder; she went to the hangar and got another cage; I captured Butter Cream, to her extreme distress. I think her plan was for the chicks to leave, not herself. She glowered at me for the five minutes that it took for Emma to fetch the cage.

The only empty cage Emma found had a big opening cut out for a rabbit feeder, so Emma taped it up temporarily, and we stuck Butter Cream in it. I took her outside. Then Emma and I finished the brooder and filled the water and feed troughs. I came in the house and caught all the senior chicks. Emma placed them in the brooder after bestowing a kiss on each and every one.

I went back in the house and caught the ten new chicks in the incubator and placed them in the box. When I went back outside, headed to the garage, I noticed Butter Cream trying to defend herself from our other laying hens who were trying to peck her through her cage. I gave them each a swift kick. It was enormously satisfying.

When I got in the garage, Emma announced that the brooder light had gone out.

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