Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring is for Chickens

Well, we did it. When we built the new coop last fall we intended to get more chickens, so last Thursday we went and picked out four little fluffballs.

I really don't think there's much cuter than baby chickens. All furry and peeping, ours were so young they didn't even know how to walk yet, and still had the little egg tooth on the end of their beaks. (The egg tooth is what the hatchling uses to break through the shell of the egg--I just took these pictures Monday night, and the tooth had already fallen off.) By Friday they had figured out what their legs are for and were zooming around their pen like fuzzy pin balls.

We have them confined in a dog crate with cardboard walls inserted to keep them from squeezing through the bars and escaping, as well as to keep down drafts. They have a ceramic heat lamp that keeps them warm while they're snoozing, which they do laying on their bellies with their necks stretched out--no roosting yet for these little girls.

We have named them Lucy, Ethel, Ginger and Marianne.

This is Ethel. She is the calmest of the group, and readily sits in the palm of my hand.

This is Lucy. We picked four chicks that looked like they might be Araucanas, a breed of chicken that has a short comb, no waddles and it smaller and sleeker than other breeds. They resemble pheasants in many ways, are fast runners and can actually fly a respectable distance thanks to their small body weight. In my mind this gives them an advantage over potential predators, which I like as we do allow them to range for several hours in the evening. The breed is sometimes called Easter Eggers as they usually lay greenish to bluish eggs. We have one in our current brood and she is our most consistent layer.

This head on shot shows off Lucy's beard nicely. The other chicks don't have a prominent beard, although Fancy (our grown Araucana) didn't have one at this age either.

Marianne, a gorgeous little bird who we named because we had...

...Ginger. We started calling her Ginger because she's, well, a ginger. Once we had Ginger the brunette had to be Marianne.

When we bought them, they had just the tiniest hint of wing feathers. Four days later, they're nearly an inch long. This morning I noticed tail feathers on two of them. You can almost hear them growing it happens so fast. I never got photos of our last brood at this age because before I knew it they were gangly adolescents who had already lost much of their fuzz.

So there you have it, our newest family members, to go with our dog, two cats and five adult chickens. Perhaps I will try to get some photos of the older chickens today or tomorrow.

The end.

1 comment:

  1. Ohhhh, so cute but save your bucks. I think Ginger's gonna wanna go to MIT. Looks like she's got a little 'tude.