Brown Bonnet and Marsha (Marshmallow) are cute. They hang out together, their chicks spilling over into each other.Brown Bonnet is very maternal and relaxed, and all seven of the little Silkie chicks will sometimes be with her. Marsha’s a bit nervous. At night sometimes they share a box, and they readily share patches of food without competition. Our kids are the same age (and size), we should be friends. This little one is already developing an extravagant hairdo.
Chickens do an awful lot of lounging. They lounge under trees, in the sun, lots of time on the paths, and in dust baths. Their favorite seems to be dappled shade.
Big group lounge under a secondary pine tree.Early post-breakfast perching is common.Big dust bath near the house. Barred & Brahma lounging.The birds have this odd tendency to sort themselves out by colours, like laundry. The darks.The lights/colours.
There’s some big boys emerging out of the tweens.
It’s adorable how much they cuddle. They lean on each other, pile up, stretch out their legs, and when they’re young, they crawl under each other’s necks like going under a mama.
Perchick is very watchful. She mostly trusts me around her chicks, though. She has chicks poking out. Cream Puff does not trust me, and wow, a full size hen peck is more meaningful than a Silkie peck. No chicks poking out here.The one “old chick” looks much like a tiny, brown bald eagle. Like a yellow chick wearing a brown cape. And this brood, well, they’re not grown up enough to be above a good wingpit warming.
18 chicks: I’m going to need a lot of names. Now open for suggestions.
Apples was out with me for enrichment time, while I was building stuff by the house. I take her with me outside when I’m working in one area, so she can act like a real chicken for awhile. She doesn’t much act like a real chicken though.Oh! A wild chicken encounter! Ohohohhh. Nervous:)
Then I thought I should try and get a pic of our transportation arrangement. I pick her up and she squirms until she’s happy with her grip, and then she rides. Will this work? Selfies: not so easy with an SLR. Worked, though! She’s turned around on my arm. Did you see that? I did a 180. I’m practically ready for the circus.When she goes back in to her box, every time, she eats ravenously and quickly and then takes a big nap. Wow, the stimulation! I need to sleep it off. This time she hardly made it all the way back into her box, and zzzz. The little princess.
This morning on chicken breakfast rounds, I discovered tragedy in the broody box.
A chick! But it was spilled out in a corner of the box, belly up, wings and legs splayed out, eyes closed, beak open. Very bad. It was still alive, barely, and I stuffed it back under her, immediately. Its legs stuck out straight. A minute later, after tidying up, I rearranged the chick to tuck the legs in. Its eyes were still closed and beak open, gasping. This is usually the sign of imminent death.
But an hour later when I checked, lifting up momma’s front to see underneath, the chick was all life, jumping around tap-dancing on the other eggs. Cheep cheep cheep! Yay! Recovery, due to the magical properties of momma hen heat. I found her in time.
At lunchtime, there were two!This one was wobbly and still damp. It just kind of sunk, flattened, into the hay, falling asleep, and momma settled onto her. This is good.You can still see a closed eye.By evening, the two were nimbly bopping about. Momma jumped out to recon when we rearranged her living situation – now in a chickery – but went right back on the eggs. The remaining four eggs show no signs of pipping, unfortunately, but two healthy chicks are better than one or none.
One is a blue egg, Puffcheeks or Cheeks’ offspring, and one brown- total unknown. Hatching eggs from my layer flock is a mystery gift bag. Almost all of them will be crosses of one kind or another.
Brown bonnet is broody, the second hen to go. That means it’s time to renovate the covered wagon, since my original design proved to not hold up to chickens jumping all over it, and the “door” broke off from metal fatigue from all the bending. So it got a new wooden front, and a flapping door held on by twist ties.
Back in the greenhouse, BB was waiting in the box she’d been put into so I could make renovations. She’s not a nervous first time mom. She calmly rolls with anything, even being put in a little box.
She just barely even fits in this box.I made the best nest I could in the kennel. Looks inviting to me. Then put her in it. Again, calm under scrutiny.And then draped her with canvas. The lighting is really nice in the kennel. A dim glow. Bright enough to see by, but just. Gotta see what you’re eating. As soon and she got her broody snack bar, a bowl of water and food, she was most pleased, and tucked right in.The looky-lous want some.
I couldn’t stand to see her picked on, by chicks half her age! No respect.
She’s so meek and mild. I had a moment I wasn’t completely sure I’d grabbed the right hen, but I knew as soon as I put her in the box and she settled in for the long term, that it was definitely her. She’s perfectly content with minimal living. Just eats and naps, eats and naps. Looks over the edge with her telescope neck when she’s hungry. Hey, I’m out of food here. HW is at her beck and call.
I think if I can get her to broody, she’ll get all fierce as soon as she has some chicks. Too mild for her own good now.
I heard some scuffling, then HW blandly said “I think she’s ready to be out of the box.”He’d taken the netting off of her so she could stretch her neck up without restriction. I thought this very promising, a signal that I could return her to the flock, if she was feeling spunky.She perched on the side of the box for a good twenty minutes. Not too terribly spunky.I resumed my business. I heard another scuffle, then silence, and I forgot about it.
She had jumped down, and was standing on the floor. I gave her a local newspaper.We visited. I kept doing my thing. She walked around a little bit, then settled in on her newspaper. I felt she didn’t need any monitoring, and left her to it. Not long later, I heard a third scuffle and checked. She’d just hopped back into her box (where she settled down for a little nap and stayed, without confinement or supervision, the rest of the day).
Funny bird. Her whole foray out of the box was about a half hour long.
I’ve got all the Silkie hens in the Girls Fort these days. There are too many big hens around, and the meek, peripheral vision-challenged Silkie bantams get nervous and out-competed. So I experimented and put my only three fully adult Silkie hens in with the juveniles- the Sisters and on down. I didn’t know if they would scrap or just get along.Turns out all of them just want to hang on a hay bale. Having all the fluffy ladies behind a fence is driving the roosters out of their minds, though. The 3x-as-large-as-the-hens roosters can handle themselves perfectly well and mix it up with the full size birds. Some Silkie roos outrank the big boys, and aren’t beneath mating the layers. But their preferred girlfriends are locked up, and the Colonel patrols the fence all day.The Colonel. Roos look funny when they’re drinking. Yang having a little post-breakfast head-under-wing nap (before she got taken inside to be a temporary pet).
Yang is quartered in the house again. I brought her in yesterday when I saw her hunched up and not eating breakfast. I don’t know why, but she’s underweight and seems listless, compared to her sibling Yin, so she’s in rehabilitative care.
She’s into it. She likes cuddling,and seems to eat pretty well, if timidly, on her own.
I gave her a roomier box today, with a decent view of the room. First she went to the very back and made herself a nest, but then she edged up to within extended-neck’s reach of water and snacks and settled in there. She goes back to the back if I make loud noises.
I can’t figure out if she’s exceptionally meek, or if she’s ill, because a chicken usually has much more energy than this. Ie., they’re usually ready to tear a box apart, upset their water dish, and let you know, very loudly, that they do not thrive in captivity. But for now, she’s been admitted to the box and the all-you-can-eat buffet for observation.