Changing Chicks

Posted by on Apr 23, 2010 in Chickens, Farm Blog | 16 comments

It’s Fowl Friday again, and we’ve reached the four-week mark!

Can you believe I'm four weeks old already!?

The chicks continue to feather in, and seem to be growing by the hour.  We’re seeing more posturing displays between the chicks, as they start to establish their ‘pecking order’.  As we have the chicks split between two brooder boxes, every couple of days we’re mixing them up a little to help reduce potential aggression later.  They will all be moving into the coop together in a couple of weeks, so we need to insure they all get along.

Zilla’s feet have improved with the splints and shoes.  (For more on Zilla’s plight, see last week’s post).  We’re now no longer splinting the toe on the right foot.

Zilla's toe on the right foot has straightened out well with splinting

The curl on the toe on the left foot though was more severe…

Remember how crooked this toe was last week?

Now that the toe on the left foot no longer curls over the splint, we don’t need to use Zilla’s ruby slippers.  Although this toe will never be perfectly normal, she can get around and perch just fine now.

Not perfect, but her toe has straightened out significantly with the use of splints and shoes

One notable change in the Delawares this week is they’re starting to develop some slight barring on the hackle (neck), as modeled here by Zilla.

Delawares develop barring on the hackle, and the tail

This week we’ve noticed the biggest change in the Golden Laced Wyandottes, other than size, is that their neck feathers are becoming quite streaked.

Aren't my golden streaks beautiful?

We’re also seeing evidence of their future rose-combs.  A rose comb is more flattened, and broader (almost horse-shoe shaped) than a single straight comb.   The rose combs will become more evident in the coming weeks, for now they just appear to have a broader featherless area than the other breeds.

Golden Laced Wyandottes develop broad, flattened, rose combs

As for the Partridge Plymouth rocks, a single combed breed, we seem to have one with a sizable comb already!

The Partridge Plymouth Rock's combs have grown significantly this week

As for the Mystery Chick, we’re still asking ‘who are you?’, but ‘Frodo’s’ lips are sealed.

We're still not sure what breed our Mystery Chick is

I guess we’ll be singing this song for at least a couple more weeks, until some more distinguishing feathers develop…

Unlike the others, this chick is still mostly fluff, and although we’re still not certain as to breed we are still leaning toward Dark Brahma.  If that turns out be the case, ‘Frodo’ would grow up to look like this…

Dark Brahma - Rooster (left) and Hen (right)

…but we’ll have to wait until we have more than fuzzy pants to go on.

Those are some seriously fuzzy legs!

Starting this weekend, if the weather stays nice, we plan to take the chicks out for a nice dose of sunshine for an hour or two each day, under close supervision of course.  We promise to record some video of their first day out.

The side-effect of all our rain...thistles...and mustard...oh my!

In the meantime, for me…back to weeding the orchard.  I really have my work cut out for me today…and I might need some thicker gloves!


  1. I so love these Fowl Friday posts Clare – I know very little about chickens and its great to see these little chicks grow up before my very eyes. I’m glad to hear that Zilla’s little toe is healing well and I just wonder how long Frodo will keep us in suspense lol !

    Oh dear you have your work cut out for you in the Orchard – I think I have just seen what you’re going to be doing all weekend.

  2. They sure do grow up fast…I just said that a couple of weeks ago when my son turned 18!
    I’m glad Zilla doesn’t need her ruby slippers anymore. I’m enjoying your posts and I love watching them change so fast.
    .-= Amy/GoAway, I’m Gardening!´s last blog ..A Step Outside =-.

  3. I adore fowl, enjoyed your post, thanks once again for sharing…
    .-= Ena Ronayne´s last blog ..Andrea Palladio Exhibition until 26 May 2010 =-.

  4. Oh gracious! They’re growing fast. I think gold and silver laced wyandottes are incredibly beautiful birds.

    Glad to hear that Chickenzilla’s toes are happier.
    .-= lisa´s last blog ..Our Taylor Made Hive, part one. =-.

  5. Dang I wished I lived close to you. I’d trade you a dozen eggs for help weeding your orchard! I’m quite handy with the dibber. You are such a good parent giving your baby corrective shoes. they toes look fabulous. I can;t wait to see the video of their time in the sun this weekend. M
    .-= Urban Dirt Girl´s last blog ..Whipped on a Friday =-.

  6. They sure do change a lot each week. You may have a new career as a chicken podiatrist! 🙂
    Hope the chicks enjoy their outing!
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Up high and down low – Fertilizer Friday. =-.

  7. OOOOO! They are reaching the teenage age where they are all awkward looking. And YAY! For fixing feet.
    .-= Dog Island Farm´s last blog ..Friday’s Gardening Tips – How to Layout your Vegetable Garden- Part 2 =-.

  8. got any eggs to trade virtually yet? boy they are growing up quickly.

  9. They grow up so fast, sniff!
    .-= Deborah at Kilbourne Grove´s last blog ..hortus deliciarum =-.

  10. I found you through comments on another site, and I’m SO glad I did. What cute chicks, and what a good chicken parent you are! I can see that I’ll be here quite a bit from now on.

  11. My daughter and I have just enjoyed our weekly installment of ‘Fowl Friday’ thanks Clare. It’s like a modern take on sitting down for a radio serial for us 🙂
    Yay for Zilla’s mostly mended toes and for Frodo’s fuzzy pants!
    .-= Heidi (GippyGardener)´s last blog ..Guess What?! =-.

  12. They are so darn cute! A long time ago i read betty mcDonald’s book “The Egg and I”…It’s a very dated book but her description of blowouts, etc that can happen with chicks was incredibly funny! They really are committment! gaikl
    .-= gail´s last blog ..Clay and Limestone’s Happy Trinity =-.

  13. I am so glad Zilla’s feet will be okay. I told my sister, Chicken Farmer, about it and how you were fixing it. I love your chicken updates. Please keep them coming!
    .-= Noelle / azplantlady´s last blog ..A Surprise From My Daughter…. =-.

  14. Love the musical accompaniment, CV. 😉 I thought I had already replied to this post, but when selecting it in Blotanical today didn’t see my comment, so I’ll just add that they are all growing up so fast, it’s hard to believe, really. I’m happy your toe intervention was successful!
    .-= Meredith´s last blog ..ta-da! =-.

  15. Lovely photos of the chicks. It is amazing how fast they grow up. Good luck with the orchard weeding – those look like some mean thistles!
    .-= villager´s last blog ..The Blooms Come, and Go =-.

  16. Wonderful progress! My neighbor and I just picked up 40 chicks day before yesterday and I am so excited! Only ten are for laying, the rest are meat birds. Your chickies are adorable and they all look so dignified. I sure hope that’s a Dark Brahman, one of my faves.
    .-= Bonnie Story´s last blog ..Side Yard project =-.