The chicks are now five weeks old, and weather permitting, we expect they’ll be moving outside into the coop soon.

Hello! Did you hear? We're FIVE weeks old!

Our fine feathered friends finally forayed into the fresh spring air this past weekend!  The weather was beautiful on Sunday afternoon, and warm enough that we felt it was alright for them spend a couple of hours discovering the wonders of the great outdoors!  As promised, we did shoot a little video!

We had to trim a bit of our not-a-lawn, our overgrown weed patch (former lawn courtesy of the previous owners) that is waiting to be removed.  If we hadn’t trimmed it, you wouldn’t be able to see the chicks…

I apologise for a little blurriness, especially in regards to one of the Black Australorps, but I was inside the short little chick-tractor with the chicks, and it’s only two feet high.  It made it a little challenging to focus the camera.  Needless to say, that in addition to fuzzy images, I ended the afternoon with a bit of a crick in my neck, but it was well worth it.  It was so fun to see them zipping around, being little mini-chickens.  At first they were a bit skeptical about my presence, but it didn’t take long for them to figure out that I made a rather handy perch.

Now, you might notice in the video that our ‘mystery chick’ is quite the ham, appearing in most of the shots.  Compared to the other chicks, even though mystery chick is the same age as the rest of the flock, it’s obvious that he or she still has significantly more fuzz than feathers.

"WAIT! I'm not dressed!" (note the white and black feathers coming in on the sides of the chest)

Mystery chick ‘Frodo’ since the video was taken is FINALLY growing something that resembles feathers.  Some of the chest feathers appear to be white centrally with black edging.  That might lean us back toward Silver-laced Cochin, versus Dark Brahma, but we’ll reserve final judgement for a few more weeks until a more definite feather pattern emerges.

The rest of ‘the girls’ are all but fully feathered now, quite remarkable for only being 5 weeks old.  I’m always amazed at how quickly young birds develop.

Buff Orpington the day after she arrived at the farm

Buff Orpington at three weeks of age

At five weeks, most of the feathers are in, and they look a little less awkward

This stage is what I like to refer to as their ‘Einstein period’…well dressed, for the most part, except for that scruff on the top of their heads.

Albert Einstein (Public Domain Image)

Do you see a slight resemblance?

Unfortunately, for most of this week the weather has been a bit cold and dreary, so the chicks have yet to venture out for a second turn around the garden.  Even at this stage the chicks can still be vulnerable to chill, and are being kept at around 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit in the brooder box.  This weekend should be warmer though, so we can put them outside again.  We do need to be cautious though, as was proven this morning in my office, these birds can now fly very well!

In other chicken news, our older hens helped us with a little weeding this week, well, briefly.  They weeded just a large enough patch of the garden to find some nice loose soil to take a dust bath.  Laying down on the job again…it’s so difficult finding good help these days.

This weekend we need to finish the ‘retirement coop’ for these hens that will go out in the gardens…hopefully we’ll have some progress to show on that front in time for our next Fowl Friday post!