Thursday, August 9, 2012

They Must Peep in their Sleep

We've got three-week-old chicks in the backyard and they peep incessantly. If I didn't know better, I'd think they peep in their sleep. The peeping is actually pretty endearing. It make me want to pick them up and squeeze them. In the nicest way possible.

They're super shy. When you get in the Maternity Ward part of the coop where they are living with Mama for now, they start frantically running back and forth in the far corner while peeping. It's a bit unnerving. I keep thinking one of them is going to fall over from a heart attack whenever I go in there to give them fresh water or check their food. Our first batch of chicks last year were nervous about me being in their coop, but only starting the frantic running/peeping if I tried to pick them up. I read online in my never-ending chicken research that an unscientific way to tell if chicks are hens or roosters is by their temperament: skittish chicks mean hens and bold, confident chicks mean roosters. I can only hope. 

Besides the crippling fear of humans, the chicks seem to be doing great. They're still following Mama around. In all respects they're little versions of chickens. They're tiny and fluffy, but they act like the big girls. They scratch for food; they recently started exploring the low roost in their coop; they preen; and, they peck around all day. The preening is my favorite. There's something cute about a tiny chicken preening her wings.

The funny part of three-week-old chicks is the Frankenbird thing they have going on. They're half newborn chick fluff and half feathers. Belle is still darker than Rapunzel. She's a light gray color with small black spots while Rapunzel is turning white with big black splotches. They're wings are fully feathered. They have the cutest tiny tail feathers sprouting. And, since they're feather-footed Marans, they have cute little curled feathers sprouting from their legs. They can look a little scraggly at times, but they're cute none the less. Maybe it's "a face only a mother can love" kind of thing.

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