Friday, April 8, 2011

Getting Acquainted

Yesterday afternoon was sunny and moderately warm.  We want ole' Lizzy to get along with her future roommates, a process that I've heard can be difficult, so we moved the chicks into the outside "run" where Lizzy spends her days.  Surprisingly, the energy of the young chicks running about seemed to add some spring to the old gal's step.  We believe that her entire life has been spent in a 3'x3' wire cage so exercise and normal chicken activities just don't seem to come normal to her.  We had to physically move her from the coop to the run & vise versa the first couple days.  Anyway, with the chicks running around, she began to waddle & scratch around the pen, even pausing to flap her wings a few times.  She isn't entirely comfortable with them but she seems to enjoy the company.  She's such a hoot to watch digging & scratching.  She scratches once or twice, then quickly waddles in reverse to take a good look if she has uncovered any delicacies.  I'd say they might all get along!

I found a pack-n-play baby pen in the neighbor's trash...and while I don't generally go around looking for discarded treasures, I couldn't help but think this might be a good new home for the chicks.  They quickly outgrew the first plastic tub.  I then taped 2 cardboard boxes together but the the 3 Ameraucana chicks only used the added space to hold sprint races across the box.  The rest of the chicks huddled (wagering?) in the corners trying not to get run over.  The "big 3" love to leap & flap their wings and I could tell it wouldn't be long before one would escape the box and the glow of the heat lamp.  The play pen is working perfectly and will hopefully house the chicks until they are old enough to be moved in permanently with Lizzy. 

Here are a couple recent observations on emerging personalities.
"Big 3" - These are all beginning to act like roosters.  2 of them have racing stripes down their backs and the 1 with the broader stripe can be downright cruel.  He loves to chase & bully the other chicks.  The other 2 to a lesser extent but they are quite willing to leap & clash mid-air with the him, razor-sharp claws and beaks tearing feathers & chunks of flesh from each other bodies.  Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration there.   Excess energy or characteristic traits....I wish I knew.
Brahma - This little chick probably had the most human handling immediately after being born.  I purchased her out of an Adamstown living room.  She is probably the youngest but while the others dash for the corners when you reach into the pen, she just sits there & barely objects to being held.  I sure hope this chick stays female.

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