Emerging Personalities

At only six weeks, the 26 chicks look like half-sized versions of their adult selves. Temperament due to breed differences were obvious early on, and now individual characteristics have become quite clear. I know each chick, but some more than others. I sit with them. I try to handle each one every day, but when there are more than two dozen, and when they are fast and have space to run, catching and holding each one isn’t easy.

Some of the chicks get more of my time than others. They ask for it. I haven’t been feeding them from my hand, as I’ve wanted to see which chicks naturally gravitate towards people. A handful of the birds think that I am the most interesting thing around. This is the sort of behavior that I’ve been watching for. These outgoing and yet calm chickens are the ones that I’ve selected to live at the nursing home.

The Delawares are all placid and friendly, but this one in particular wants to be nearby and likes getting picked up. She also happens to be the prettiest of the three Delawares. She is going to the nursing home. The Andalusian behind her is also curious, but flightier. She’s staying with me.


Of the two Buff Orpingtons, one is always out the door first, and last to bed at night. She is always underfoot and is fine about sitting in my lap. She’s going to the nursing home. The other Buff Orpington looks the same, but doesn’t have half of this one’s personality. I’ll be selling her and she will make a fine laying hen in a backyard flock.


This Maran is curious and yet calm. She’s going to the nursing home. I’ll be keeping the other Cuckoo Maran.


Early on I knew which breeds were not going to the nursing home. I have four leghorns, two brown and two white. Perhaps in a smaller group of chicks, and with more attention from me, they wouldn’t be so aloof. But, from the beginning I felt like Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner.


There are five pretty Ameracaunas, all with unique markings. The other day I took some leftover popcorn into the coop to see who would be bold enough to eat from my hand. This Ameracauna came right up, and she’ll join the nursing home flock. A Black Star did, too, and she’ll be going to the nursing home as well. Black Stars are excellent layers and get along with others.

out of hand

Some chicks have always been in the background. They’re nice, but not outgoing enough for the nursing home These include most of the Black Stars and the Dominiques.

And then there is Owly. From the first days here this chick strained her neck up and looked at me quizzically. She’s an endearing, funny bird. She’s staying with me.


So, right now my plan is to keep six – Owly, and two other Ameracaunas, a Black Star, the Blue Andalusian and a Cuckoo Maran. I might keep a Leghorn, too. Five will go to the nursing home – the Buff Orp, a Black Star, a Delaware, an Ameracauna and a the Cuckoo Maran. The rest are for sale.

The chicks will be ready to go to their new homes in two weeks. I have 13 started pullets for sale (plus Mr. Grumpy, the Andalusian rooster. He’s free to a good home.) For sale are: 1 Blue Andalusian, 2 Dominiques, 3 Black Stars, 1 Buff Orpington, 2 Delawares, 4 Leghorns and 1 Ameracauna. Five chick minimum per buyer. $20 per bird. I prefer to sell to someone who is starting a new flock. Pick up here. I have a buyer for all of the chicks not purchased by June, so if interested, email me right away. Preference is given to those who have taken my Chicken Keeping Workshop, or are coming to the one on June 8 (Space still available. Sign up here.)

Meanwhile, I am greatly enjoying all of the hubbub of having 26 chicks in the Little Barn. But, it’s getting a tad crowded and the Old Girls are pining for a bit more peace and quiet. I’ve been assuring them that things will settle down, somewhat, in two weeks. Then again, I’ve a feeling that Owly is the sort to get into mischief.


  1. look at the picture of the chick eating popcorn out of your hand. how do you get your chicks to grow long eyelashes??

    • Those are not eyelashes. Ameracaunas have cheeks. From that angle, they definitely look like eyelashes!!!

      • Laura is right, many Ameracaunas have fluffy cheek feathers (though I owned one that did not.) some have “beards.” Araucanas are the true, South American originating, blue egg layers. They are rumpless (no big tail feathers) and have muffs. The Ameracaunas are a varied lot.

  2. Enjoyed watching one jump onto your shoe this am. I have loved watching them change. It will be great getting to know the ones staying. Also, I know moving the others on makes time for a bunny. That will be the next exciting chapter!

  3. I know that I am biased towards dominiques as I have two but even though they were very skittish when young they are now so friendly. They are always quick to jump on me at any chance they get. They jump on my back or shoulder and sing in my ear. They also make no fuss if I need to pick them up. I did use your approach of letting them come to me when they were little and it has paid off as they are really interactive with me now at a year old.

    All the chicks look lovely though but I would definitely recommend a dominique.

    • I have a friend who loves his Dominiques and will happily take these. They do look like sweet birds, and I think that because they are the smallest of the group, and have mild temperaments, that they’ve stayed to the background.

  4. My apologies if I missed it somewhere, but is Owley an Americana? She’s darling. :)

    No more chickens for me for several years. Not until I escape from University with a piece of paper that says that I survived the experience. But I will be getting more chickens as soon as I can. In the meantime, thank you for having this site up. Its a wonderful stress relief for me. :)

    • Yes, or sometimes they’re called “Easter Eggers.” No telling the color that her eggs will be, anywhere from sky blue to olive green. Hopefully not just brown.

  5. So, those personalities come out early, eh? The same thing happens with goats. Especially the Alpines … which I can’t say any other goat is ever especially anxious to see happen. :) Nubians have a hard time finding their personalities. Like everything else in their environment, they tend to forget where they put it. :)

  6. i’m so glad you wrote about this. it’s been on my mind a lot. it’s amazing what you can find out when you really pay attention. my first flock, i could hardly tell them apart ( they were all RIR’s ) but since them, I’ve changed the way I interact with my hens and it’s so much fun to notice the differences in each one. on a similar note, i have been trying to teach my son to take the chicks cue’s as well…..”loud peeping means something isn’t right about the way you are holding them”. he’s learning.

  7. It was wonderful to watch this “Spring” transformation at the farm. It seems these weeks have flown by. They are all so special in their own ways. I suspect there will much joy at the nursing home upon the arrival of the new residents. Am so glad “Owly” is staying! You are quite something Miss Terry.

  8. They all look so beautiful with their adult feathers. I’m glad dear little Owly will be staying on HenCam!

  9. The nursing home idea is absolutely brilliant. It is heartening to know that this kind of thinking is taking hold. Brava all around. Applause. Applause.

    I know your list of blog topics must include more on this point in the future, but I am curious about the plans they have made for ongoing care of the hens. (Glad Owly is part of your flock. Looks like rock star to me.)

  10. Glad to see you are keeping a Black Star. It will be interesting to watch a smaller flock interacting. Yea for Owly!

  11. I am so intrigued by the nursing home idea. What a wonderful plan. My mother, who suffers from serious health problems that have led to depression is so interested in our backyard chickens. She finds them endearing and entertaining and it is truly a distraction from her constant worries and pain. Fantastic idea.

    Your chicks are growing beautifully. Owly is super cool and what a great name:) Love your blog. So entertaining and informative for us chicken lovers.