It’s our second Fowl Friday for Jenny’s chicks, and all sixteen of them are growing like weeds! Comparing them to our chicken chicks last year at the same age, they look remarkably similar developmentally, they’re just larger!
This week has been all about new discoveries. Discovering new foods, and that green things are most tasty.
That’s not all, they’ve also been discovering that bobcats and red-shouldered hawks are scary, and that gophers can make holes into the pen just large enough to facilitate an escape!
After spending most of Saturday at a local dairy goat show, we came home, and immediately checked on the chicks, only to find one of the poults running through the long grass OUTSIDE the pen! I scrambled to catch the little one (they’re FAST), but I finally managed to corner it, and pick it up. I quickly opened the pen door to return it, as it was screeching hysterically, and Jenny lunged straight at me. She was absolutely NOT amused. There’s no question she has strong mothering instincts, she just didn’t realize I meant to no harm, and was trying to help!
It was almost three days before Jenny settled back down enough not to charge me when I entered the pen. We were just relieved that the tiny poult was safe, and he or she has no idea just how lucky they are. This morning I was rudely awakened by Jenny’s alarm call at 5:45 AM, and found a bobcat running past the enclosure, and total pandemonium inside the pen that sent poults scurrying for cover.
At first we just couldn’t fathom how the little poult managed to tunnel out, but we eventually found the offending gopher tunnel, filled it in, and added some wire screening to prevent any more adventurous poults from exploring the big wide world before they’re ready.
Escaping chicks aside, the most notable physical change this week has been the emergence of wing feathers, going from just a tiny, almost imperceptible hint of feathers, to these…
In the last 48 hours we’ve just started to see a hint of future tail feathers too!
The poults have been much more active this week, and are routinely observed jumping and flapping around the pen, often catching just enough air to land on the top of one of the tree stumps in the enclosure. They’ve discovered that feathers are for flying…
…and they help you jump on top of volleyballs…
…or the top of water fonts…
A couple of persistent peeps have even succeeded in getting up to the roost platform in the last couple of days. Surely they’re too young to be up there already?!
It helps that they have an extra step to help them up.
Jenny though doesn’t seem quite sure what to think of that, and usually flies up to the roost herself to escort the chicks back down.
Napping, although still a regular occurrence, seems to have been more scarce this week, and the activity levels of the chicks much higher!
Other than tree stumps, and roost platforms, apparently humans make rather handy play structures too!
Toe rings and other shiny jewelry simply must be investigated. Shoulders make for excellent perches with a view. Camera lenses are shiny and reflective, and laps make for a comfy spot to nap.
Through numerous counting sessions (especially after ‘Houdini’ escaped the pen), we’ve now determined that we have five standard bronze poults…
Overall they’re similar in appearance to the red bronze, but with slightly darker brown coloring.
…we also have seven red bronze poults…
The red bronze poults have quite a striking pattern on their wing feathers.
Last, but not least, four beautiful bourbon red poults.
These poults are mostly pale yellow and red in color, and have no brown stripes.
So far everyone seems to be in great health, with a tremendous appetite, and lots of energy! Did I mention how much more active they are this week?!
Jenny certainly has her work cut out for her, but fortunately for her, the poults do sleep at night, tucked away, snug and warm.
You’re doing a great job Jenny, but it’s clear that at the rate they’re growing, we may not hardly recognize them next Fowl Friday!