Saturday, March 17, 2012

chick learns how to scratch

Chicken Tikka Masala (CTM) is our Ameraucana chick.  I had read that her breed can be odd, and she does indeed have an odd personality.

We call her Asperger Chicken because she does not seem to know how to be a chicken.  While our other two birds hang out together, CTM is always off in the corner, doing nothing.  We will often find her standing and staring at the wall blankly.  When we first started taking the chicks outside, the other two would run around and peck, while CTM would stand still, frozen, unsure of what to do.

Of course this oddity only endears her to me even more.  She does not like to be picked up, but once she settles onto our hands, she will sit down, very content.  She loves to be petted, and seems to prefer hanging out with humans than with her own flock.

Well, here we have caught on film CTM learning how to dig and scratch for the first time.  Mind  you, the other chicks had been exhibiting this behavior for weeks.   CTM was slow to catch on.  And note that she is trying to dig on a piece of wood.  You have to give her credit for her persistence.  That's Omelet with her (the potential rooster) fluffing her feathers.

video




Chickens Leaping for Fruit

video


Need I say more?




Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Drama in the Coop

We have been so busy tending to our flock, I haven't had any time to blog about an update.

Here's what's up.

As expected, Chloe and Mirabelle, our year-old laying hens, have not welcomed their wings to the newbie chicks.  We slowly introduced them while the hens were cooped up and could only observe them, and then let them all run around the yard together.  The hens were either not at all interested, or would try to lunge at or peck at our little ones.

At one point, I turned my back for a full 5 minutes, and when I looked again poor little Drumstick had lost a bunch of tail feathers.  I think she was just curious and had walked right up to Chloe, who let her know who was boss.

Not cool.  We did lots of research on how to integrate our flock.  This is where it starts to get ridiculous.  We have to let the big girls know that we were the boss, and to back off from our chicks.

I found this link really helpful:
http://jackshenhouse.com/VSChickIntroducingNewBirdsToFlock.htm

We  now have our 3 chicks outside in the coop during the day, but gated off from the hens who are also inside the coop.  So everyone can see one another, but there is no contact.  At first, the hens were really agitated and would try to bully them.  Now that a few days have passed, the novelty has worn off, and everyone is calmly eyeing one another.  At one point, Omelet and Mirabelle were even taking dust baths together, separated by the fencing of course.

We take the chicks inside for the night, and carry them out again every morning.  They are still too little to stay out for the night, and they are not ready to all be cooped up overnight together.  Yes, this is turning into a part-time job...no complaints though:)  I have to admit, tending to the flock is constantly entertaining.






Monday, March 5, 2012

speckled egg

We got this lovely speckled egg from Chicken Mirabelle, our gold-laced Wyandotte.

Debating if I want a hard-boiled egg for breakfast, or a fried egg?


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ameraucana chick, two months old

Camouflage chick.  Chicken Tikka Masala poses on a haystack.



I love her feather tufts!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Is this buff orpington chick a rooster??

Here's Omelet, at two months old.




And here's Omelet in comparison to our two other chicks.




I'm pretty sure Omelet is a rooster in disguise.  We are just waiting for the first crow, and off he/she will go to a lovely ranch in Half Moon Bay, to live out the days jumping on all the lady hens he wants.

Omelet is still the smallest chick, but started exhibiting really aggressive behavior, constantly challenging the two older and bigger hens.  And even jumping on the back of them.  Her comb and wattle seemed to suddenly appear overnight, almost fully grown in and very red.  Omelet was also growing in a different fashion than the other chicks.  She kept her fluffiness for much longer before the real feathers started growing in.  Her legs and feet are shorter and fatter, and her whole body is stout and heavier.

I found this handy chart, which confirmed my suspicions even more:

http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/sexingchicks.html

So at this point, we are just holding out, waiting for the first crow.

Any chicken experts with advice?  I'm all ears.