Thursday, May 23, 2013

Our Growing Chickens

Been a while since I sat down and posted pictures of all the chickens, so here's the babies.

These first ones were taken about a month ago, when they moved into the baby's pen.

Shortly after their move to the bigger baby pen, they got moved out into the garage.  Now their pen is right next to the bigger coop where the one year olds live.

Being in the garage is helping the older chickens accept the babies - who are now technically teenagers, and going through their first real molt, losing feathers all over the place, thought you don't really notice on them - the new feathers are growing in that fast.  This is their last step toward adulthood.  

Now, them being mobile and sharing the yard has on occasion caused some issues.  For example, most of the older chickens do NOT want the babies in "their" coop.  One of the babies ran in there one day, and one of the older chickens, Bird Flu, took great exception and attacked her.  A few feathers were lost, no blood, and I was able to climb into the coop and get the baby before any  damage was done.  But since then, Bird Flu will come over hand hang out with the babies, as will Rogue, Baby, Nip, and occasionally Magellan and Road Runner.  The exception is Poppy. She does NOT like the babies, and she will, out of the blue, run up and attack them. Usually it's a bite, pulling out a hunk of feathers, but on occasion she will literally jump on them, attacking with claws.  She has been schooled by all the humans - all of us have thumped her and scolded her.  All this has done is taught her to be more sneaky with her attacks - she runs up when our backs are turned, attacks and runs away rapidly again. Sigh.

We think all issues will be solved when the large coop is built - it will be new and unmarked, so no one set will think of it only as "their" coop.

The babies learn the art of stair sitting.
The rest of these pictures were taken just this afternoon.

I'm really not sure what she was suddenly looking at!

The one in the front is a Barred Rock.   In the back, a Gold Lacewing Wyandotte.

Fluffy Butts!

A very golden Gold Lacewing Wyandotte.

We believe this young lady is a Black Sex Link.

Two of the Three Wyandottes hanging out together.

Both of the Black Sex Links - one has more brown to her; the other has iridescent black feathers like a crow.

See the neat brown tips on her wings?

The elusive Freebie!  This was the chick we got for free, because she was sick at a week old.  She is doing very but is still the smallest, and usually hides when you bring out a camera.  She is likely a Black Copper Marans.

Now these girls baffle us.  The three are white, gold and brown in varying shades - one is more white, one a mix, and the other rather more brown. They are "bearded" in that they have tufts of feathers on their cheeks, giving them a fat cheek look, but they lack feathers on their feet.  Someday, we'll figure out their breed.

Yes, those are a couple of the big girls in the distance.

The browner one.

This is the whiter one, hanging out with a couple Wyandottes under the stairs.

A couple of the big girls came from "their" side of the house - they used to hang out in the front yard when they were babies, but as they got older, they gained a preference for the side yard - more sun, better spots to dust, more room to roam, more ants and bugs.  It's a good thing, since the side yard is where the larger coop is going.   

This is Magellan.

And this is Magellan ( a New Hampshire Red) and Rogue ( a Brown Leghorn), the undisputed flock leader of the older girls.  A few of the babies have decided to challenge her, which is hilarious - she is still twice their size.    Depending on her mood, she will either ignore them completely, puff up and look big to intimidate, or offer up a swift peck on the head to teach them their place.  Rogue likes to go in the garage and look at the babies while they are still in their pen (Big chickens are first out and last in) and they are getting used to her presence amid the flock.  The only chicken who does manage to blend with the babies is the Welsummer named "Baby". She is teaching them, through example, to come when I call for them.

Remember this chicken? This is the chick who, when they were just a couple of weeks old, took it upon herself to defend the rest of the flock from the evil camera.  Similar pose even, though she has figured out that camera is harmless.

She is flock leader of the babies, and is the only other baby besides Freebie who has a name.  She is also the only chicken among the babies who actively seeks out people, wants to sit with or near them. (The only adult chicken who does that is Baby, who was the sickly baby of the first flock and got handled the most.)

Her name is Moaning Myrtle - yes, from the Harry Potter books.  She got this name because one evening she started making this odd moaning noise I've never heard another chicken make. After confirming which chicken it was, and that she was OK, we figured out that she makes that noise when happy and content.  My daughter says she likes to sit next to her and make that noise; she will walk under my husband's chair when he sits out with them and makes that noise, and just in general, when her tummy is full and the sun is warm, she will moan.  It's odd, but cute. Added with her desire to be with people, she earned herself a name.

And thus concludes our baby update.

Now if  we can cure the older flock of feather pulling, all will be good.

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