Adventures with Chickens, S1 E3: “Growing Up”

The ladies are really growing fast–the table-top brooder is starting to seem really small with them in it–and it’s even stranger to think that factory-raised chickens at full size only have a space the size of a sheet of paper to move around in.

When we got them on June 4 (19 days ago), they were so teeny that all five fit in the cardboard oval:

Here they are in their box on the way home on Day 1.

Personalities were present on the very first day. Laverne (Silver-laced Wyandotte #1) was the one pecking at my fingers through the holes in the box, and the first one to flap her way out of the cardboard Cone of Warmth.

Little balls of fuzz, out exploring the world on Day 3. Laverne is the one in the foreground.

The kids have been enjoying the chicks. K is going to be a mini-mama–the chicks like to huddle up around her when she sits on the ground.

Willow seems to like K.

The X-man is only 3 1/2, so we have to watch him vigilantly, lest he inadvertently injure one of the chicks in his enthusiasm. I got him to sit quietly next to one of the birch trees in the yard, and the chicks clustered around him.

“One finger, OK.”

We take them out into the yard at least once a day to get them used to being handled. They seem to enjoy learning to scratch, and they are growingvery quickly. Prissy (the sole Ameraucana) especially–she went from fuzz to feathers far more quickly than the others, though both Buffy and Willow (Buff Orpingtons) are also getting big-girl feathers.

Day 13: Big-girl feathers are coming in on Buffy and Willow.

Prissy’s starting to look like a regular, if travel-sized, chicken.

Of the five, Prissy and Laverne are the biggest. They have been trading the #1 spot for weight-gain. Shirley (the other Silver-laced Wyandotte) is the smallest–very petite. We have been tracking them with a kitchen scale and an Excel spreadsheet–Tony is a big fan of data sets, and it might one day make a cool science project for K.

Here they are in the brooder today:

Day 19

Day 19: Shirley’s silver-laced black feathers are really starting to come in.

Laverne broke 8 oz today–8.1 oz. She has gained 7 oz. in 19 days. She’s the biggest, and may end up at the top by virtue of that and the fact that she’s a total badass. She’s the only one who still complains and struggles when I pick her up. Willow, on the other hand, waited until the X-man got out of my lap, then came over and hopped up on my knee:

Willow having a bit of a sit down.

And I think Prissy may turn out to be my pirate chicken:

Yaar, it’s Prissy the Pirate Chicken

Coop building continues apace. We picked up a clear oil stain for the siding today, and hopefully the roofing will be here by the end of this coming week.

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