I spent a little time outside in the run with the girls this afternoon.  Our chickens are now 11 weeks old, and growing almost as fast as our spring weeds.  For a couple of the breeds, most notably the Golden Laced Wyandottes, and the Delawares, their feather patterns are beginning to look much more adult-like.

An 11 week-old Delaware pullet

This is how the Delawares started out as chicks.


The Delawares are a light lemon-yellow as chicks

As mature adults the Delawares are an all white breed, except for black barring on the hackles, primaries, secondaries, and tail.   The ‘barring’ on the hackles appears almost more as a light speckling.


The light black speckles at the base of the neck are typical for hens of this breed (click any image to enlarge)

On some of the Delawares, the black barring in the tail is becoming very prominent.

Barring in the Delaware tail (blurry...'Zilla' wouldn't stand still!)

As it was so warm in the run this afternoon, and a couple of our birds were sunbathing, we were even able to get a good look at the barring on the primary feathers.

A Delaware enjoying the sun, showing off the black streaks in the wing feathers

As the Delawares continue to grow, the most notable changes will likely be in their faces as their combs continue to grow and mature.  As they get closer to egg laying, around early September, the skin around the face will become noticeably more red.

Just as when they were chicks, the Golden Laced Wyandottes probably have the most striking feather pattern of any of the breeds we obtained this spring.

Golden Laced Wyandottes are striking even as chicks

Even the females in this breed have beautiful hackle feathers.

Golden Laced Wyandottes have beautiful gold-streaked tresses

Here you can see that the body feathers are a beautiful golden bay color centrally.  As the pullets mature into hens, the golden color will become more prominent.

Golden Laced Wyandotte

Lacing is most evident across the chest at 11 weeks

As they mature the bay coloring fills in, and every feather on the body and wings is edged with an iridescent green-black.  Their tail feathers will remain predominantly black.

At the right angle, the sunlight highlights the green iridescent sheen on the feather edges

I’ll try and take a few photographs of the other breeds over the next couple weeks.  It was a little challenging in the run, when every chicken kept running up to the camera, and pecking the lens!  I ended up with a lot of shots like these this afternoon.

"What's behind the camera?"

"Is this close enough?"


"OoooOoooh...shiny lens...(PECK!)"

One last update…Frodo.  Oh Frodo.


Our problem child...the late bloomer...Frodo

Poor chap is still separated from the rest of the flock, which may make it difficult to reintegrate him later.  Although much of his back has now feathered in, he still has one persistent bald spot.  Short of crafting him a toupée, or finding the rooster equivalent of Rogaine, we’ll just need to wait it out.

11 weeks old, and our Dark Brahma male, Frodo, still isn't completely feathered in

I can attest to the pecking he’ll receive if he goes back in the coop now. After walking in the run today in clogs, with no socks on, I can say that any exposed pink skin becomes an instant target, and these pullets peck persistently…and PAINFULLY!

Now I’m heading back outside to finish building our new chicken run extension…more on that project next week!