Friday, March 28, 2008
Some call them chicks, I call them my girlfriends...
I love my girls. There are no two ways about it. Chickens ROCK.
My twelve little ladies entertain me in ways I never dreamed of and every day I grow more attached. I can't help it. I can sit for hours in my spare downstairs bedroom, leaning over their brooder box, observing them, whispering to them, and chuckling quietly to myself at their antics. Yes, I have become the crazy chicken lady.
Physically, these chicks are growing and changing every day. There is some weight to their bodies now and the most interesting markings on their feathers are developing. I noticed yesterday that the little combs on their foreheads are all beginning to grow and are no longer flush with their heads.
Another thing that has changed recently is how they interact with me. When I go into their room now and say "Hello, girls!", they will all start chirping, peeping and running around their box.
If I sit down in the chair and lower the side lid, within 10 seconds, there are four or five warm, little bodies perched on the edge, waiting to jump into my lap:
Another four are running back and forth below, eyeballing me, and I can see them "thinking" about how to get up to where their sisters are.
Hmmmm, you say....five plus four equals nine. What about the other three? Well....my two Rhode Island Reds are quite shy and stand-offish. They are not reaching out to me the way the others have. They will run to my outstretched hand in the box as long as it is holding a tempting treat, but they are showing no interest in sitting on me or getting to know me better.
And then there's Dot. She's my twelfth chick and one of the little puffball-headed chicks that, I think, may be a rooster. As near as I can tell, Dot, sadly, has absolutely no people skills. She's also a big chicken, as in easily frightened. Whenever there's a commotion in the box and a chicken pile-up results, Dot will consistently be the one cowering at the bottom of the pile. If I put my hand into the box holding, say, tasty cut-up grass or a juicy worm, all the chickens will run to me, except Dot, who will run to the nearest corner and face it. AWAY from me. Almost like she's been put into a time-out. What is up with that? See if you can you find Dot in the picture below:
Here is a better shot of both of my White-Crested Black Polish chicks. They've grown and changed so much:
Beautiful wings are developing:
If chickens do such a thing as imprinting, then many of these babes have definitely imprinted on me. The five that routinely come out to be with me make these funny, quiet little peeping sounds at me that are completely different from what they do in the box with their sisters. Once on me, they'll settle right down, sink onto their haunches, and peacefully observe what's going on around them.
On my leg below is my #1 girl, my Silver-Laced Wyandotte. I sure wish I had a name for her, but I've been yet to be inspired. You know how those things go, right? She was the very first chick to seek me out and jump out of the box to be with me. These days, she frequently insists on sitting on my head. She is also the largest and heaviest of all my chicks:
The little chick below is my Araucana, "Sparrow". Aptly named because, to me, she looks just like a little bird that would show up outside at one of my feeders. She is the SWEETEST chick in the bunch and she *really* loves to cuddle. She'll choose cuddling with me over a handful of oatmeal or cut grass. Isn't she beautiful?:
Do you remember the "devil chick" I posted about a couple weeks ago who kept pecking my Black Star chicks? C'mon...you remember...I drew all those big red circles and arrows around her head in the picture to point out the bad bird. This is her. She's a good girl now, and a really pretty little Barred Rock. She loves me (and all her sisters). Her name is Lacey:
Here are both the Barred Rock girls (one in mid-flight to my knee) and Sparrow. Check out Dot in the background, wall-staring again:
Below is the newest chick to join the jumping-out club. She's one of the Black Sex Link/Black Star chicks. She has the most beautiful reddish gold streaks running through the feathers on her back and wings. You can tell by the look on her face that she was pretty impressed with herself that she could perch on top of the feeder on her way out of the box:
The girls are quickly outgrowing their 2' wide by 2'high by 4' long brooder box and the dust and feathers are being redistributed throughout the house. I'm guessing within the next week or so, they'll be making a move to a bigger box or fenced pen in one of the garages. They'll still be secure and have access to their heatlamp, but they'll be in a spot more appropriate for young hens than my spare bedroom. My girls are growing up!