Apples and Sprout have a totally adorable thing going on. They’re so attached. I hope it lasts into Sprout’s adulthood.Also, Apples has made an astonishing and unexpected total integration into general population. She’s turned out to be a big Silkie hen, the opposite of what made her a house chicken in the first place. She’s still extremely relaxed and mild, and rides my arm without hesitation, reasons why I thought she’d be attacked by the outside chickens.She’s always been into hay bales.
Sprout was starting to spend more time out of the chickery than in, just orbiting Apples like a satellite, and I saw Apples get frustrated pacing at the wall, so I just lifted it up and out she strolled. I monitored to be able to interrupt any fracas. She promptly fought, actually fought the ranking Silkie rooster, who was probably so surprised at being challenged by a girl he threw the fight, and that was that. She’s got some kind of agreement with Philippe the big rooster now; she’s under his protection.She’s even becoming a little more tolerant of Sprout’s three siblings, the orphans. Sprout is spending more time with them too; that’s nice.There’s the Family in the background, hovering. Philippe the rooster, Cheeks,Puffcheeks, Galahad the Guinea, and two layer hens (aka “those hens that are always glued to the rooster”) make up the Family. Always together.My phone rang.Ok, let’s all groom at once! There’s the orphans. Speckles the Silkie cross and … I have a lot of names now and many of them are tentatively reserved, but if they’re not gender neutral names, they aren’t firmly assigned yet because I don’t know yet who’s roos. Also it takes some time – names don’t just get applied, they have to settle on the bird. Like, is this right for you?Trying out neighboring haybales.Like Big Bird, only, not big at all. We can haybale too.Try out the other one!Perchick’s chicks sometimes hang out together, but usually they’re scattered far and wide. I can’t get over how confident and independent these little birds are. Many times more so than Sprout and the orphans, who are much older than them. I’ve even seen them peck the older chicks, and they have to reach up to do it. They’re just out in the weedy wild on solo missions most of the time.
For people, we want to be cleaner when we get out of a bath than when we went in. For chickens….it’s pretty much the opposite.
The smallest chicks in the house are cute, and scraggly, with their sparsely feathered necks.They are growing independent of mom, or else she is tiring of them, I’m not sure which comes first. I think she’s about to leave the chickery, like Snow White did. You kids don’t need me any more, peace out. I said so just before HW said he found an egg in the covered wagon, so that confirms that. She’s done with this batch, on to the next. The chicks are going to be transferred to the fort any day. The kids are hangin’ out, in the shade. Mom is out of sight in the corner flirting with her suitors on the outside. This is the key sign. She loses interest in her chicks, and suddenly becomes fascinated with the boys she has had absolutely NO interest in for months (the roosters never lose interest in them).
Hens are interesting. They are extremely devoted mothers, until they’re not (coincidentally, this happens when the offspring look most like punks). Then they revert to being single girls, until they’re ready to be moms again, and repeat the cycle. Over and over. While they are caring for chicks, they don’t lay eggs, similar to lactating mammals (which makes me curious about what’s going on hormonally for chickens, since they aren’t lactating).
For women, you don’t raise a brood of kids and then go back to being a good-time girl. Not without amnesia and child protective services. Let alone do it repeatedly. Once you’re a mom, you’re never not-a-mom again.
Yin ad Yang and the Sisters are now in protective custody. They have their own fort in a corner. Girls Only!Yin and Yang are turning out to both be hens (so Yang is awkwardly named), and I witnessed a rude roo trying to mate them. I couldn’t believe my eyes! They may be old enough, but they are definitely not big enough, so I’ve put a stop to that, quarantining the whole clique so they can be relaxed and safe. The Sisters are even too small to be assaulted. They seem pleased. No more harassment. They are sitting up on their favorite hay bale exactly as they always did (these four are so sweet. I want them perfectly relaxed and happy). Even though they now have all the essential chicken amenities in their fort, including a private bath, they just sit on the hay bale all day.
There comes a day in the life of every Silkie chick, when they get their pants.One day, out of nowhere, they appear to be wearing little feather short pants. So cute!
These chicks gave me a scare this morning. I couldn’t find them anywhere, couldn’t hear them either, and I found their mother in the big coop with the grownups, where she’d slept – no chicks! I was looking everywhere for bodies.
Then I found them alive and well, foraging behind a hay bale with the teenagers, quiet because they were busy, and content. I think they slept in the little coop with the teens, and mom decided to take the night off of chick care. Left ’em with their older siblings, babysitting.
Now the chicks are all transitioning from their brown juvenile feathers to the polka dot adult feathers (and looking quite scrappy while they’re at it), and they are large. And loud. They move like a school of fish still and they’re bold. Bolder in numbers.
They look like they’re performing maneuvers half the time. Flank the food dish! Charge the walnut tree! Establish defensive positions around Mom! Recon missions around corner of greenhouse! Circle back!
I have to get rid of some, I mean, give some away, but I haven’t got any bright ideas how to trap them.