When we moved the chicks to the coop we bought big chicken sized feeders and waterers. Yay! No more jumping on the small waterer and knocking it over! I bought a big 5 gallon galvanized steel waterer that was a little awkward at first to fill and lock the lid in place.
The chicks were terrified! What was this enormous, shiny, noisy thing?! They completely avoided it. Only the bravest of the chicks reluctantly investigated. It took a day before they were willing to walk up to it, and when they did, they looked in the tray and didn’t seem to see the water in it.
The small chick waterers had bright colored marbles in the trays. I had read that baby chicks can drown in waterers and that putting marbles in them will prevent them from falling in and drowning. Even when the chicks got bigger, every time I removed the marbles from their water dish they seemed confused because they couldn’t see the water. It was so extreme that when I put a marble back in the tray, the girls would all pack in to drink off that marble.
I think that because the chicks didn’t see marbles in the new waterer they didn’t associate it with drinking. Ugh! I felt like a grade school teacher on the second day putting about a dozen marbles in the tray. “Here girls! Here it is! Come drink some water!” Sure enough, it worked. Some were still hesitant and watched from across the coop.
The next day it was hot out. When I got into the coop that evening, the chicks had finally all figured out where to get their water. So much so that they emptied it! It was bone dry! Nothing in the tray! I’m thinking to myself, “Yay! They are all finally drinking!” And then I thought, “Wow, that’s pretty empty. I usually see some pine shavings, or something……uh….like…MARBLES!” Oh no! Where did the marbles go? Right as I was panicking, some squawking started up behind me. I turned around to find one of the chicks running away from the other 33 with a marble in her beak! She dropped it on the ground and a riot ensued! I broke up the fight and took the marble away. A second, and then a third marble surfaced the same way. Everyone wanted a coveted marble!
Unfortunately, I only found 4 of the marbles so far but the coop is so big they could be anywhere. Worried, I emailed my favorite chicken blogger who told me this was a new one for her but she wouldn’t be concerned as the marbles are probably too big for them to swallow. Thanks Lisa!
I’m cleaning out the coop this weekend so I’ll see if I can find the rest.