Living in a cardboard box is boring. Even little chicks need to have new things to explore and challenges to overcome. I was digging up dandelions yesterday (no roundup here!) and decided that a few clumps of dirt and greens (and maybe a bug or two) was just the thing to liven up the chicks’ days.

It was scary.

But the boldest chick, a little yellow one, made the first move.

I don’t know what breed she is – the yellow ones all look look generic yet. Whatever the breed, I’m betting she’ll remain the flock leader.

Soon, her cousins all joined in.

It’s good for the chicks to learn to look for food and be adventurous about what they eat. It’s also good for them to get grit into their gizzards. I want them to have strong immune systems, and so introducing them, slowly, to the world of dirt and germs, will help them to host the good bugs in their guts, and to develop resistance to pathogens.

Besides, they had a lot of fun. I’m not anthropomorphizing. Ever since they arrived the chicks have been noisily peeping. There’s a distress peep when they’re scared, and there’s general chit-chat peeps. But, for the first time yesterday, I heard the cheerful melodic chirp that chicks make when they find food.

Candy likes the dandelions, too. I have plenty of weeds for everyone.


  1. If you want some good entertainment dig up a big juicy worm and put in there. They should run from it at first, then make little alarm calls and then attack it like it’s a chicken eating snake.

    • Two days ago I saw a robin fussing with something in my driveway. Finally realized that it was a small snake – 6″-7″. I only saw its pale underside so I have no idea what kind. Robin took off with the snake – destination unknown. Several weeks ago saw a Turkey Vulture picking at something in the street. Crows continued to work at it for several days and when I went to investigate finally realized that it was a snake skeleton. I was going to tell the little boys who live across the street but then it disappeared after a night of wild thunderstorms.

  2. I was in a boring meeting and saw when you put the weeds in there yesterday. It was a hoot. It was like you put a gernade in there!

    I can’t get over how they are growing by the hour. What fun.

  3. Hi Terry! The bold yellow chick looks like an Orpington? They tend to be bold and fearless and very friendly! Do you have an archive on how to introduce new birds into a flock? I rmember seeing one but I can’t remember what it was called? I had my table all set for the tablecloth! DARN! Congrats to Sean though! Have a great weekend!

  4. Are the chicks still afraid of your hands ? I went yesterday to a farm where the lady had several varieties of chickens. And three boxes of chicks at various ages. All ran from my hands, and she caught them up with a fishing net. I got to hold a silkie chick, a polish chick, a serama chick and a red sex link chick. The red sex link chick was the calmest chick that I held, followed by the serama. I think I like the sex link. I don’t if they will be as calm and friendly as adults. But I liked them as chicks. They weren’t peep, peep or trying to run away from me while I held her in my hand.
    Is that a good way to pick a chick ? To go by one that is seems the most calm.
    And I knew she was a female, and sex links usually only cost three dollars a piece. The lady who was breeing them unfortunately doesn’t sell her sex links, they were just some she got from a hatchery. And they were for egg laying flock. She did have some polish, cochin and silkie chicks for sale for three dollars a piece. But I really didn’t like how they were scared of me, and I won’t been able to sex them.
    The red sex link also seem to like it when I scratched behind her head.
    The closest Tractor Supply store to me, also has ended their chick days early. Though they are having a chicken swap next weekend. Hopefully I will be able to make it to one.
    And oh her horses and ponies. She had a two week old foal pony. Her mother let me come right up to her. I have never seen a mother horse be so nice and friendly before. She had larger horses, but they are taller than me. I feel safer with the ponies they are like me short and round :)
    I know you have agnes and philomena as sex links. Do you think a small flock of four or sex red sex link hens would do okay ? I would have them for pets and eggs only. I would like to tame them down so they would eat from my hand and sit on my lap with a towel acourse, so I won’t get pooped on.

    • All chicks are scared of hands – anything swooping down on them. That’s a good thing, if you think about it! I’d actually worry about a chick that isn’t active and want to get away (if these are chicks that haven’t been handled much.) I do like the sex-links. Nice personalities and good layers. You can’t go wrong with them. Look for health – bright eyes, good legs, no poop on the butts. You’ll have plenty of time to tame them.

      • Oh she ran from the net, it’s just once I had hold of her. She settled down nicely. Does that still mean she was sick if she didn’t struggle in my hand ?

  5. I love that last photo – they do look happy!

    I love the little fethered wings – I bet they do they flappy-flap running about thing :-D


    • Note that the enclosure was expanded and the walls upped by 6 inches. They are flapping and getting lift!

  6. Chick cam is better than a shrink any day. I looked in late at night when they were all beak down and snoozing. One woke up and rousted everyone else up for a snack and a flap about. Within minutes everyone was back to bed. A smile a minute. Some pretty wing feathers coming in.

  7. I feel your pain in terms of digging up Dandelions! They’re tough little buggers! And no chicks to eat them here… but I do have a pair of tortoises that love Dandelions! Nothing like animals that like to eat weeds!

  8. Do you give them grit, so they can digest the new foods? We introduce new foods at 2 weeks, along with grit.

    I loved the sleepy chicks photo from yesterday. Gave ma good laugh. :))

    • I’ve never bought grit- I live in New England, where we seem to grow granite and the soil has plenty of grit!

  9. I was reading “Weeds and What They Tell” by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer (a very interesting and amusing book!). He says that nettles are enjoyed by poultry and may be shredded and given to chicks as a treat.

    Totally off topic- this passage from the same book kills me!
    From the chapter about chemical weed controls:

    “Kerosene and crude oil: Effective, but a sterile soil may result…However, California vegetable growers report the oil as successful against weeds in carrot and onion fields, but residues may give a kerosene taste to the carrots. To our organic gardeners, we say: ‘caution.'”
    HA! No kidding!

    • I’m sure the chickens will eat nettles – the question is, who is going to want to shred the plants for them! Not me!

  10. My chicks are the same age as yours Terry~ they love the baby roost, and have at this point carried around like trophies~ clover blossoms~ yesterday had their first experience with crickets!! What fun they had!