Chickens – Week 11

by Beth

Since their first night of week 10 was spent indoors hiding out from a storm, this was the chicks’ first official, full week outside. It’s been great. They’re clucking more and arguing less. They’re continuing to grow, upward more than outward in the past week. They look taller.

While the pullets have almost no wattles yet (the googly things under their cheeks), look at Cogburn’s!

This week, they survived their first freeze (in May, whoo hoo) and several consecutive nights in the 30s. To offset the cold, I let them out as early as possible each morning to run around and warm up.

While sitting with them, the sounds of hawks, woodpeckers, and songbirds are a constant reminder that birds have the tools they need to live outside. Even domesticated birds. Their behavior in the morning seems the same no matter the temperature. Restless to run around and argue, then happy and chatting as they forage.

Here’s Pinkie warming her feet on my lap after a morning of foraging. Note her bodacious feathers. The Langshans were bigger as day-old chicks but after that were slower growing than the Brahmas, and it took their feathers longer to come in. The Langshans’ faces still look funnier than the Brahmas, too. I promise they turn into pretty hens.

ChillyMorning-Pinkie.JPG

Even though they’re no longer living inside with us, they’re as sociable as ever, except Cogburn seems to be less interested in cuddling. The other chickens hop up all the time. Looking back at pictures, Cogburn hasn’t been a lap chicken for almost 2 weeks.

Maybe he’ll turn back into a lap chicken when he’s older. For now, we’ll let him be himself. He’s not aggressive, except to bow up briefly to the new feeder I introduced this week. To be fair, it looks like a plastic version of Cogburn.

Cogburn-NewChickenFeeder

In other news, the hawks have moved up the mountain, so we rarely see them, but the chicks are still too small to be unchaperoned in an open area. They’ll be too small for months. That’s one reason we’re so excited about the new coop in a few weeks. Its 16′ covered run will give them more safe space to stretch their wings when we’re not around.

We’ll have to take down a section of the fence to move the coop into the run, but after the fence is back up, we’ll pull a giant net over the run as another measure against raptors.

Meanwhile, the weather has been perfect for supervising chicks in the chicken yard. I bring my computer down to write as they free range. Other times, it’s nice to be still and screenless out here. Chicken Meditation Hour lives!

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Luckily the chicks can also be out while we garden and build things and work with the bees. This means plenty of time to forage because we have a ton of work to do. Especially after one of our month-old bee colonies did a surprise split and swarmed into a nearby pear tree this weekend.

The chicks were 30 feet away and curious but unphased by the tree of buzzing snacks.

Beebs-11weeks.jpg

Similarly, they’re unconcerned by our martian suits at this point.

BeeSwarmCapture0520

Next week promises a significant warm up and preparations for our next round of chicks. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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