Yesterday a friend and her five year-old daughter stopped by. I asked if they would like to see the chicks. We stood by the pen, watching the birds. The mom and I were busy chatting when the little girl tugged on her mom’s pants and whispered, “where are the chicks?”
She was right. They certainly no longer look like chicks and they don’t have to be coddled like babies either. They’ve shed their down and have grown in hard outer feathers. They know to stand in a patch of sun on the compost pile to stay warm on a chilly morning.
They are big enough to eat out of the Old Girl’s feeder and sleep on the roosts.
They’ve already outgrown the brooder, which is falling down around them.
Yesterday morning, when I unplugged the heat lamp, It felt like a rite of passage. There’s a thick layer of manure-bedding-feather dust on everything. I can’t wait to move them out for good and clean up the coop. I’ll be doing that this weekend.
This transformation from chick to sturdy teenager happened in less than two months. Today the chicks are seven weeks old. Tomorrow, a dozen of the chicks will be going to a new home. Mr. Grumpy has yet to get a reprieve, but I heard about someone in town who just lost a rooster and needs a new one. I’m hoping it will be this Andalusian.
The five chicks selected for the nursing home will stay here for another week and a half. They’re the most naturally friendly of the lot, and I’ll be handling them frequently from now until May 29 so that they are well-mannered and calm for all of the people who are eager to interact with them at the nursing home. More about that in future posts!