Mother Nature Does Not Fool Around, Inc

My little hens are now almost three and a half weeks old, and HOLY COW how they’ve grown. They look like miniature chickens!

When I first met them, they looked like this:

day-old chicks

Now? They’re nearly a third of their eventual full sizes!

three-week-old silver laced wyandotte pullet

I’ve taken a few outside to hang out in the coop to see how their big sisters would react to them. The first batch of 5 drew first astonishment, then complete apathy from Nox and Gia.

three-week-old pullets

Then, I took out my two favorites (Beep, a Buff Orpington, and Nut Butter, a Silver-Laced Wyandotte whom I fear may actually be a rooster.) Beep never left my lap, but Nut Butter bravely ventured a foot or so away… and was immediately and sharply pecked by Nox. On two separate occasions.

adult black sex link chickens

No harm seemed to be done, but Nut Butter henceforth refused to leave the safety of Mom’s lap.

They’re rapidly outgrowing their little enclosure in my office, and it’s getting to be somewhat of a chore keeping up with fresh towels for bedding – my washing machine has never seen so many sanitary cycles in its whole life, as compared to these last few weeks.

Still, they have at least two more weeks before they’ll be able to live outside most of the time during the day, and a couple more weeks after that before they’ll be able to stay out at night.

In the meantime… The Engineir and I need to design and build a much larger chicken coop from scratch! That’s a bit intimidating.

Our fencing guy finally finished the “roof” on our existing run (it’s only been since October we hired him – lots of delays,) so the run is much more secure than it previously was (we hope.)

chicken coop roof security

Only some of the new girls have names – they’re really hard to distinguish. We have:

  • Beep, the friendliest little Buff Orpington, who is fascinated by my Droid X2 cell phone
  • Nut Butter, the sweetest Silver-Laced Wyandotte who is having some gender identity issues
  • Constance, the calm, gentle SLW, who is content to do nothing but sleep in my lap when I’m hanging out with them
  • Isis, another friendly SLW, who has very heavy lower “eyeliner”
  • Shindig, another lovely SLW, who is nearly identical to Isis apart from their comb sizes and slightly different feather colors on her head
  • Betty, a sweet SLW, who has heavy eyeliner on both upper and lower lids
  • Harry, a bossy, pecky, large Buff Orpington
  • Jinkies, a very high-strung, loud Black Australorp, who resembles a duck in some ways

Surprisingly, the Black Australorps are all much more anxious than the other breeds. Most of them dislike being handled, though they will occasionally perch on my lap for awhile.

Some days, most of them pile on and snooze, which makes me very happy.

chicks sleeping on leg

The SLW’s are wonderful, all of them. Calm, mild-mannered, and they all enjoy cuddling.

The two Buffs are nearly polar opposites – Beep is crazy about me, and the feeling is mutual. Harry is much more stand-offish, and is really trying to assert her dominance over the others. She’s the largest, while Beep is just about the smallest.

I really love having them right here with me all day – it’s better than TV! Also a bit smellier and dustier than TV, but totally worth it. When it’s time for them to move outside, I’ll miss them. I’m sure the dogs will miss eating all the stray poop I drop when changing out towels, and the kitties will miss wistfully gazing upon them.

I do wonder how the neighbors will react to eleven more birds showing up out there, but they likely won’t mind.

Unless Nut Butter is indeed male… and even then, they might surprise us.

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6 responses to Mother Nature Does Not Fool Around

  1. They are super cute! That is quite a lap full you have.

  2. I love it! Now if only Grand Rapids would follow suit!

  3. Erin D.

    Thanks, guys! I love these little girls desperately. 🙂 They’re kind of in a gawky teenage phase right now, but still so stinkin cute! Smellier by the day, though.

  4. What kind of chickens are Nox and Gia?

    • Erin D.

      They’re called Black Sex Links (what a clinical name, huh?) due to there being a visible difference between male/female at hatching. It’s a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and the Barred Rock hen. They’re great layers, and have a pretty mild disposition. I had ordered Black Australorps, but they shipped these girls instead. By the time I realized, weeks later, it was too late for me to even consider sending them back, even though the hatchery offered to “exchange them.”

      Have you seen your hens pecking at the sides of each other’s beaks? In canids, it would be considered submissive behavior, but I can’t quite figure it out in chickens. Harry, the biggest and by far the most interested in dominance, runs around pecking. She will peck nearly everyone once or twice on the back or rump until they chirp and move away, but she will also selectively peck certain other girls on the sides of their beaks. They don’t seem to mind the beak pecking, but they don’t seem to enjoy it, either.

      • Cool! I’ve heard of the sex-linked birds but never really seen any…other than pics of sex-linked chicks. They’re really pretty.

        Yeah my hens do that sometimes, not as often as they did as chicks though.

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