Remember how adorable our chicks were, when we first got them? Little egg-sized balls of fluff, they were.
Well, right now, they're in an exceptionally awkward phase. I keep thinking about teenaged boys, just starting to sprout mustaches. They may be beautiful some day, but right now, they're particularly scruffy-looking.
This little one was the first to get any adult feathers. She's the tiniest of our flock, but in some ways the most grown-up. She is, sadly, a real chicken. She's always cowering in the corner when we open the brooder. If she covers up her own eyes, she seems to comfort herself. I know from previous bird handling that covering a bird's eyes minimizes stress, but I'd never seen a bird do this for itself. That whole cliche about ostriches burying their heads in the sand to hide from scary predators must actually have some basis in avian reality. But since so few of us have experience with birds, it has lost much it its meaning.
The Bantam Menace -- 3 Weeks
She is growing some lovely mottled feathers. She's one of our Easter Eggers, and will hopefully lay green or blue eggs.
This bird is our largest chicken. We think she's the other Easter Egger.
She's the slowest to mature, despite her size. She's got more baby fluff than any of the others.
While the Bantam Menace is starting to sprout chestnut-colored feathers on her breast, this girl is getting white feathers. She also seems to have a lot of feathers around her chin (if chickens can be said to have chins). I suspect that she'll have a prominent beard.
Robb and I had discussed naming the chickens after the Bennet sisters, from Pride and Prejudice. We think we know who Lydia and Lizzie are. But none of our chickens are a good candidate for Jane-ness. Unless something changes, we aren't likely to have a hen who is both serene and beautiful.
I think this is our Silver Laced Wyandotte. When she grows up, she's going to be a beautiful creature.
The Songbird -- 3 Weeks
Right now, she's the bravest of the birds. She's what people politely call "food motivated" and she's figured out that I almost always am offering some interesting treats. In addition to chicky-chow, our birds now eat finely chopped up swiss chard, dandelion green, beet green and lettuce. They eat uncooked steel cut oats, and boiled eggs. Today they ate some mashed up apple. I really hope that our chickens develop diverse eating habits, because I plan to use then as feathered garbage disposers. I want them to eat my weeds, and all the garden plants that get leaf miners. And I really, really want them to eat snails.
The Songbird -- 3 Weeks
I'm handling the chickens quite a bit, because I don't want skittish hens. I've found that if I sit in a sunbeam and place them on my lap, they'll go into what Dodie Smith called "a coma of bliss." They spread their wings loosely at their sides and slip into nap-mode. It's pretty funny, because they seem to be fighting the urge to sleep. Their heads will sink lower and lower, and just before they're completely unconscious, they'll snap awake for a split-second before they start nodding again.
Kind of like teenager in a boring lecture class, when you come to think if it.