Yeah, I’ve got a few hot chicks on my mind. And they’re all under a heat lamp in my back yard. 

My seven baby Dominique-esque chicks arrived last Thursday. All healthy. All vibrant, cheepy and cute as you might expect of any newborn baby (save the human variety, for which the cute-factor seems to elude me).

These fluffy gray and yellow chicks have been going back and forth to work with me for the past three days. They’ve been visibly growing and keeping me fully entertained with their precocious gallinaceous antics. They play nice with one another, permit frequent picking-ups and eat like their food might imminently disappear. They’ve been nothing but normal, well-behaved specimens of their species. And Elvio, the rooster, avoids their habitat like the plague (thank God). 

Side note on Elvio: Prettier by the day. And healthy as can be after the three weeks of in-hospital treatment. Except for the fact that he wants to spend his time indoors, he’s the picture of perfect chicken petdom. (In case you doubt, here he is resting his head on my arm.)

Back to the chicks...

The only problem arrived on the first night. And it was a doozy. I’d set them up in my three-sided porch with the heat lamp atop their cage (a large, wire-framed enclosure that used to make my guinea pigs happy). Then I went to bed. 

But at 3:30 AM the motion-activated security light outside my bedroom window blinked on. Conked out as I was, I only barely registered this common change in lighting––as when free-roaming cats grace my porch with their prowly presence. Next, I heard a metal scrape, as in a gate latch slowly unlatching. That’s when I stirred...I think. 

Half-asleep and groggy, I recall thinking about raccoons and chick-magnets and the possibility of wildlife attacks on my babies. But I remained in bed, listening. I heard nothing. Then the latch again––definitely, a latch. That’s when I remember coming fully awake, grabbing my robe, and scurrying out of my bedroom over to my porch’s sliding glass door. 

After noticing the chicks’ wind-proofing in disarray, I threw open the door and heard running footsteps diminishing down my gravel drive. On first glance, the chicks looked OK. On the second, I could see their now-bundled volume diminished. Two chicks gone. 

The police arrived. Three cruisers by 3:45. Impressive. A nine-minute response time. I guess not much happens at the wee hours in the suburbs––even in Miami. But soliciting the cops’ interest in my plight––intruders, theft––was not happening. Two chicks? No perps? They suggested security cams. I’ve heard that one before. But it won’t bring back my babies.

Destined for the maw of a Boa? For a girlfriend’s boudoir? A cat’s toy? 

I’m sick about it. But what to do? Pray for the middle option? Forget about it? Move on? Enjoy the chicks I have left? Move the babes to a less visible location? Buy padlocks and a video cam? 

So far, I’ve done all but the last. The cage, now moved to the back of the house with a wind-breaking tarp above, is padlocked in two different spots (it’s big enough to warrant them). The multiple gates sport Master-brand locks, too. 

Sure, this is Miami, and theft happens. But it’s also the swanky suburbs. The only villains are the rich, private high school kids out on Spring break for the week. F--- ‘em, I scowled. But amid the hurled expletives and visions of back-handed slaps for the deserving, I also couldn’t help hoping they would treat my chicks well. Wishful thinking, right? 

Chicken thievery is the oldest crime in the book (OK, second oldest), but it’s unheard of where I live. Nonetheless, such is my luck with my first batch of chicks. I can only hope it improves over time.