Spring Chickens

I think our chickens hate us. We are scary monsters who swoop in on them and carry them away from their friends. To the mind of any sensible chicken, Robb and I are Meanies.

It has been fascinating to see them develop. We've had them for a week, and I think they're ten days old. (Hatched on a Monday, shipped on Tuesday, delivered on Wednesday.) When they first arrived, only the tiniest one had any hint of adult wing feathers. The others were just balls of fluff. Gradually, their wings are growing in. Three of our chicks went directly from fuzz to feather, but the brunette had some sort of sheath surrounding her newly sprouted wing feathers. You can see this on the right side of the photograph.

We haven't named the chickens, but we've given them unofficial nicknames. This one is the Bantam Menace. She's five days old in this photo. I could not photograph her today, because she was convinced I was going to kill her. She's starting to sprout a tiny feathery tail. Her larger blonde sister is still just a fluff-butt.

The Penguin is ten days old. She's growing lovely wing feathers.

Here's a sense of the size of our chicks. This little brunette looks like a songbird.

I've been trying to find a way to hang out with our chickens in a non-scary manner. Our garage, where we're raising them, is too ramshackle and full of random crap to let them free-range in. Robb and I agree that if we let them wander around on the garage floor, they'd disappear into holes that we'd never get them out of. I guess we'll have to wait until they develop an interest in treats, and then bribe them with food.


Anne Bonny said…
Soo cute! They look like they've actually grown! I love the name "The Bantam Menace" lol That's too funny!
Martha said…
you can put Irish oatmeal (not the huge rolled oats) on your hands and let them peck away. They will get used to your hands. Do this all the time so they aren't afraid. They love food!!
Martha said…
Oh yeah! Those sheath-things are so interesting. It's how all the feathers develop. I'm not sure if that's the base for the hard tube on a feather (the part you cut to make a quill pen), but the feathery part sort of unfurls out of it.
Kate said…
How fascinating that they come out of their egg with their personalities in place! I'm sure they'll come to trust you before too long. They're pretty birds. I especially like the penguin. Very distinguished!
Debbie said…
They are so adorable! We had a buff orp who was so not interested in us at first. Then there was a little close call when our dog made an appearance at the brooder, and I swooped in and saved her... She was my BFF forever after, lol. It always seems like once they start laying they settle down.
Stefaneener said…
The ones my kids tamed they just held a lot. Every day. They were like little labrador chickens. Now, I'm pretty content to scare them. That's just the way it goes. Ours are a week or so older than yours, and completely feathered out. Yay! Out of the house chicks. Yours are still very pretty.
jess s said…
When we raised baby chicks, we made a habit out of giving them treats every day until they worshipped us. They are now giant, grown adults and will still tolerate a certain amount of cuddling, and they follow us around like dogs. We really enjoyed feeding them oatmeal (old-fashioned or steel cut), worms, bugs, peas, and raisins. Man, this is making me really miss having tiny chicks.
Cooked oatmeal or raw?
Anonymous said…
Thanks! I tried to offer chopped raisins this morning, but they just cowered behind their feeder. Pathetic, really.
Martha said…
You might want to bring them inside for a little while. That way you aren't just swooping in periodically. They just get used to you being around them. I kept mine in an old hamster cage and it was fine. You can put cardboard around them to keep the draft down. Your constant presence and treats will wear them down. Mine would jump on me and perch on my shoulder like a parrot.
Kristin said…
The more you handle them the more they will tolerate your handling--with an added bonus that once they are full-grown, you'll be able to catch them and pick them up when you need to.

Your photographs of their profiles are quite good, as the little ones are always moving and it's hard to get a snap of them without a blur--at least with my camera.

Glad to read about your enjoyment of them.

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