Thursday, April 3, 2014

They Sure Grow Up Fast

Our little Frankensteins had already grown so much after two weeks that I moved them out of their little tub into a bigger container about twice the size of the original "brooder." They've got plenty of room to roam around and create havoc (for now). At two weeks their wings are nearly feathered. They have tiny tails sprouting and I'm already pretty sure we have at least one Orpington rooster in the bunch. The good news is that I'm fairly certain the other Orpington is a hen in comparison. They're tiny, cheeping balls of feather and fluff, but they'll be fully feathered pullets or roosters before long.

Meet the group. We have Peach and Luke (my son's a Star Wars fan) which are the Buff Orpingtons in the front. Then we have Wild Style and Eaglebones Falconhawk (Eaglebones for short), the two Ameraucanas.

Every time we "grow chicks" as I like to call it, I watch them incessantly to see which ones look like they're turning into roosters. We're pretty good at brooding chicks. Out of our three times with chicks, we've only ever had one die on us, and that one never fully made it out of the shell of its egg. However, we're also notorious raisers of roosters. Our first hatch resulted in ALL roosters. Our second hatch generated a pretty pair: one hen and one rooster. See why I'm on Rooster Watch 2014? Out of the four babies we have this time, one is already shaping up to be a rooster. One of the Orpingtons isn't feathering as fast as the other, a good sign he's a he. The one I'm fairly certain is a girl already has mostly-feathered wings and a little tail. The suspected roo only has half-feathered wings and no tail what so ever. If I'm correct, his comb will quickly start to turn pink and grow about twice as fast as the pullet's. It's not looking good. The Ameraucanas are a bit more tricky. They are harder to sex. They're feathering at the same pace and their combs are the same size so far. One is slightly bigger than the other, but that's not a sure fire sign by any means. After trolling the internet, I've found that most people can't tell their sex until much later than many other breeds. They're tricky like that. Whichever they are, my intuition is that they're the same. Cross your fingers for two hens. I want my blue eggs!

They seemed to get a thrill out of their outside time. They scratched around and checked things out, but they didn't go far. They mostly stayed together in one little area. 

I sat on the ground so I could watch them and take pictures and they didn't stray too far from me. Well, except Peach who thinks he's big stuff. He was ready to take charge with the big flock. They weren't impressed.

So far all is well. In another three weeks they'll be nearly feathered out and will look more like miniature chickens than the Frankensteins that they are now with their half fluff, half feathered selves. Now they still need to be kept warm with a heat lamp, so they'll stay in the kitchen for a while longer. They still have too much fluff to be able to regulate their own warmth. Once they feather out more, depending on the weather, we'll move them out into their own section of the run during the day. They'll probably spend a week or so with their days outside and their night back inside in the bin so they can slowly get acclimated to their new home and so the big girls can get used to having them around a little bit. Our babies sure are growing up!   

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