The baby chicks moved out!
And technically, I can’t call them “baby” chicks anymore. They’re pretty close to full-size chickens, although we’re still probably a couple months out from finding some extra eggs in the coop. I’ve read that smaller breeds tend to lay a bit earlier, but it’s usually around 6 months when the layers start producing.
And I’m definitely looking forward to that point. We currently have only three hens that are laying, and only two lay almost everyday. Just in the last couple months, we lost two chickens from our original brood of six. Wyan, our Black Australorp, died of a prolapse that we were unable to reverse. And Buttercup, a Buff Orpington, was dragged off by something (possibly a fox?) and never to be seen again. So we are a little short on egg layers right now.
But the “baby” chicks are doing well! They’ve officially been moved into the coop with the other chickens. Only one has a name so far – Mo – the Crested Cream Legbar. We kept referring to her as “the one with the mohawk,” which was then shortened to “mohawk,” and then – well, yeah, you get it.
All of the chicks have grown into their own look. Even though we had two each of the Splash Marans and Copper Marans, each individual is easily distinguished by his/her coloring. Their personalities are all different as well. The two Copper Marans tend to stick together like two peas in a pod. Mo is definitely the most curious of the group – was always the first to try and jump out of the brooder.
Of the two Splash Marans, one turned out more gray, and one turned out more white with black spots. We’re pretty sure that both of these are males, but still not 100% sure about that. They both have the look of roosters for sure. The gray one tends to be more active and harder to catch, and he has taken to trying to crow in the mornings, hence our belief that he is a rooster. The white one is just an outright lazy chicken. Perhaps he’s already agreed to let the other rooster be at the top of the pecking order and is just going to kick back and enjoy life. Or perhaps he is actually a she and just a lazy chicken. We shall see. All of the chickens seem very docile at this point. None of them seem to mind being picked up and held, which is awesome.
Before we moved them into the big coop with the other chickens, we let them spend their days in our older coop, which is all chicken wire on the bottom half. This allowed the older chickens to become familiar with the young ones without the risk of them pecking at each other. After only a couple days, the older chickens seemed to like being around the young ones and were spending a lot of time hanging out around the coop. One of our Easter Eggers, Lady, actually managed to jump in there with them one day when they were still smaller. She seemed almost motherly with them.
So things are going quite well. The “babies” were allowed to free range for the first time yesterday. We are going to continue limiting their time in the open yard to just a couple hours a day. I don’t think they are quite ready to start venturing all over the neighborhood like the older chickens do.
For the last couple years, our chickens have been allowed to free range around our entire yard and even into our neighbor’s yard. (Our neighbor does not mind, btw – actually loves our chickens and was very upset when her favorite one – Wyan – died a few weeks ago.)
Buttercup was not the first chicken to be dragged away by some hungry animal, though – lost two other hens and a rooster that way. So we have decided that we will be fencing in a large area of the yard just for the chickens. We don’t want to lose any more chickens to the belly of some predator, especially the younger ones that we’ve just invested a lot of time and money into. We hope to set up something that we’ll be able to move from one area of the yard to another. Ideally the chickens will always have access to fresh sections of grass at all times. This is not easily accomplished, though. It’s amazing how quickly a couple chickens can pick clean an entire area of grass if they’re confined to it.
For now, the chickens will continue to roam all over the place. And the “baby” chicks will be able to do that, too, at least for a time.
Keep checking in for more chicken updates! To learn more about raising chickens, check out some of the links in this post – resources that I’ve used for myself since becoming a chicken mom. (No, I have not been asked or offered money to include these links. They are just good resources I’ve come across and wanted to share.)
Thanks for reading!