We took the boys to the farm today. It was a little bit sad, but definitely time. Toothpick had started biting me pretty hard, and well… I warned him. Also, Penguin had been crowing a lot, and had started bullying the girls. They did a little of that before, but he was getting more aggressive with them, making them cluck loudly in protest. Enough is enough, I said! You are big boys now, you have all of your feathers and you can live happily outside, so bon voyage! The farmer (who donated the eggs to the school) was happy to take them back. They will have a good life there, at least for the next 13 weeks or so, at which time they will probably be dinner. C’est la vie. Here they are in their new home:
The farmer put them immediately on a rail to roost. Boy, were they surprised at that! They had never roosted before, and they seemed happy to discover that it came naturally. I also got a peak at one of the mama hens, a black one like Gloria. She was beautiful and BIG. At least twice as big as our girls are now. And she had adopted all of the chicks from the school that didn’t go to other homes… 17 of them! She literally took all of them under her wings to raise, it was hilarious to see them following her around. I guess she sits on a roost at night with her wings stretched out as wide as she can get them to cover them all. What a Mama! I also learned that the black chickens are actually Barred Rocks, not Black Stars. Our chicks are bigger and more developed than the others, supposedly because they were raised inside under a lamp. They couldn’t distinguish between day and night, so they ate all of the time, which made them get big fast. The farmer also said that they should all be fine to live outside now, even little Cleo who still has a few fuzzy feathers. So we came home and moved them into their coop! They seem to be pretty happy, but of course, as their Mother hen, I worry about them a bit. I’m sitting outside with them now while I’m typing to make sure they are OK. Today was very warm, but what about when it gets cooler and starts to rain? Are they really going to be OK? They haven’t figured out how to get up the ramp by themselves yet, so I hope they can figure that out if they get too cold. Right now they are curled up together against the side of the coop closest to where I am sitting. Sweet little hens. Here’s a video of them testing out their upstairs nesting box. Don’t they look pretty together with their 3 colors?
Also, before I forget, here are some photos from An of when they were hatching at the school.