Well Friends, our sincere hopes and intentions were to let those of you who were interested, watch the chickens grow up, with us. But what I have found is, they grow in size faster than I can possibly keep up with! It’s crazy! Sometimes the growth spurts seem overnight. By the time I photograph them, load them into my computer, and prepare the photos for the blog (tasks all managed to have been squeezed into my otherwise busy Mama-agenda), it’s been a week, and the chickens have grown so much, the photos become instantly outdated! So, we’re doing our best here, to share this new exciting chicken-keeping journey with you.
If you didn’t even know we GOT chickens, and missed their photo shoot at 4 days old, and introductions by name, you can go smitten yourself with the overabundance of cuteness, HERE at ‘Come Meet Our Chicks!’.
At some point I’m going to blog about the day we got our chickens, how we were prepared for their arrival, and what the first week with them was like. (It was all as FUN as we were expecting! I can tell you that now!) But just to update you, because we only wanted females/hens, we ordered 8 vent-sexed female chicks in June, and they arrived July 10, 2014. THAT was a very exciting day we look forward to sharing another time.
Taking a Look at Our 4 Week Old Chicks
Today, we’re going to show you lots of photos of where they are all at now, a fun peek into their personalities (YES, chickens have personalities too!), and all of the latest news.
They turned 4 weeks old last week, and since it was a beautifully mild and calm summer day, we decided to bring them outside to play for awhile. You know, give them some time to practice scratchin’, and all that.
The cover to our old strawberry bed came in perfectly handy, as a playpen of sorts, for them.
In the first few days of having them, I found I am very drawn to taking feathered-bum shots! Their bums have gotten so much bigger, where they used to be so tiny. But my love for photographing them hasn’t worn off much. This cute backside belongs to Kingston, who we’ll be talking more about in just a few minutes.
Having them outside in natural light, is where I’d most prefer to photograph them. So this day was a good one to take some updated photos of them. But keep in mind, all of them had to be taken through the chicken wire this time. We hold them all LOTS, every day. But they are just too young to roam free yet, and I didn’t want hands, arms and shorts in the shots.
So this is Plymouth, our White Plymouth Rock. Her beautiful snow white feathers are coming in so nicely.
At the moment, she is medium sized among our chickens. She’s a very curious one!
Here is another of her.
Call me silly, to compare a chicken to an angel but, I really love how the light shines through her outer feathers, and surrounds her in that glow.
Duxbury, our Silver Laced Wyandotte, is about the same size. We have loved watching her fancy feather pattern develop.
She is competitive and determined.
This is Westfield, our Golden Comet. Also known as Red Stars.
This is a breed my brother recommended. He and his family used to have chickens, and they live in Westfield, where I also grew up all of my life, until Michel and I got married. The crazy colored mix of her feathers right now is so beautiful! She’s pretty sweet. The kids call her ‘dainty’. Incidentally, Olivia is quite drawn to her. Westfield is one of our smallest chickens.
This is Pembroke, our other small chicken. She’s an Australorp, but she sure has been resembling an ostrich to us, lately.
She is not nearly as feathered out as the rest of our chickens quite yet. But she sure gets lots of love. Especially from our triplet boy Shane, who seems to give her extra love and attention. He always says out loud, “I love Pembroke”.
Although it’s clear he loves them all, Pembroke seems to be special for him. Michael and I marvel at that fact, because as strange as it seems, Shane and this chicken seem to have some similar characteristics. For example, they are both very under-estimated by people in general, and are both physically lightening fast and clever. Even we can’t catch Pembroke, in the brooder! Yeah, she’s going to give us a run for our money, TOO! 😉
Boston, is just a super cool bird. She looks like a hawk! She’s our Easter Egger, and her feathering is so striking! She is definitely one of our biggest birds, and she has command among the flock. She’ll definitely have high ranks in the pecking order. But she’s as easy to hold and cuddle as any of them.
That said, she is jealous as all get-out, when others get attention. Especially one, whom I’ll tell you about shortly.
This is her again. Although, she looks much smaller in this photo, or at this angle, than she really was.
They have all grown a ton since these photos from just over a week ago, now.
I was trying desperately to get at least one updated photo of every bird, so you could see how they’ve grown and changed.
I think the only one I did not manage to get, before we had to bring them indoors and go someplace, is Hanover. Hanover is our Rhode Island Red is pretty medium in size, and very uniform in color. A very dark reddish brown, right now. She is really so easy going.
So lets’s see…..you’ve seen Plymouth, Duxbury, Westfield, Pembroke, Boston, and we just talked about Hanover.
That’s six, so we have two more to cover.
Let’s talk about Weymouth next.
Ohhhh, sweet Weymouth.
Do you remember our Welsummer, Weymouth?
At just a few DAYS old, that sweet point on her head had me at HELLO. It was impossible for any of us not to fall in love with her.
And I especially, fell hard.
About 10 days old here.
So sweet in demeanor at that age, and I just couldn’t get over that mark on her head.
Like a sweet soft version of a rebel mohawk, right?
Well, Sad Surprise Story
When she was only somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks old, one early morning while we are all still in bed, Michael and I heard the craziest screech, that sounded all too much like a real baby-effort at a cock-a-doodle-doo. Michael and I were both like, “Was that just a….noooooo!”. After a second one, Michael got up and went to take a peek at who was freaking us out. After a third one, I heard Michael’s barefeet come back through the house to our bedroom, and he said a word I will never forget….
I wanted to cry!
But the many days went by without another sound from Weymouth so, I let myself slip right into denial that it was some kind of fluke.
But then it did happen again.
And as we watched her grow, troubling features in her appearance began to emerge.
So I began to research, and the more I researched, the more I had to accept what looked like cold facts.
She’s only crowed now a good handful of times, and not always just in the morning.
But really, at 4 weeks old, there was really no denying it, anymore . . . . . .
We did special order for our chickens to be vent-sexed, to try and ensure we only got females.
But the company makes it clear that occasional errors are made.
But what were the chances that would happen to us? I have since learned from our vet-friend, that vent-sexing is very hard to do, and it is such a special skill, that it’s a job that pays very well. I thought that was interesting. There error rate is about 10% though.
But they sure made a mistake with ours.
Lastly, we have Kingston, a Buff Orpington. Like Boston, she is a BIG bird. And bound to get much bigger.
Michael and Kingston have a bond. Those two together, are just ridiculous. I knew Michael would *love* keeping chickens. But he actually loves it more than I even expected. But Kingston adores Michael, like no other. If he is anywhere near her, she cannot fly to him and get ON him fast enough. And Michael just holds her, pets her, cuddles her, and grins with pride. Yeah, Kingston is spoiled. She believes she is the Queen of all. And Weymouth and Boston exude superiority as well.
Of course, Weymouth would ultimately hold the top of the pecking order. But HE can’t stay. So it’ll be interesting to see who remains in charge – Kingston, or Boston?
Here, Kingston and Weymouth forge contently, side by side.
They REALLY loved their time in the grass and sun. Soon, that will be only life they know.
We just need to get that awesome chicken coop done! (It’s going to be SO cool!) Because they are getting WAY too big for the house brooder, for much longer.
As for Weymouth, as much as we love her…..errr, HIM, he simply cannot stay. We never wanted a rooster, and cannot have a rooster.
I am a freak about being inconsiderate and annoying neighbors, and the ones right beside us (who are maybe a decade older than us) are so wonderful. Even though I doubt they would ever complain. He is from Vermont, and I think grew up on a farm. A big burly outdoorsy guy, with curly hair, a mustache, and big dimples. Add to that though, that he seems to be quite hard of hearing. So I doubt our rooster would ever wake or bother him. But we love his wife too, and she can hear.
Besides, WE don’t want to hear a rooster crowing, or waking us up, and we also don’t want to be candling eggs. And if I’m honest, it would be hard for me to see our girls constantly pinned down to the ground for love (wanted or not), on a daily basis. LOL. So…..we will find Weymouth another good home, soon.
Also, it’s important to mention, that we are not certain as of yet that any of our chickens, are not also roosters. That would be so heartbreaking to us, because we are so attached to them all, and Weymouth is hard enough to let go. It’s just kind of early to tell for sure, and especially with different breeds, the evidence reveals itself in a varied time frame. So we’ll keep you posted.
And THAT my friends, is the update on our chickens!
We continue to work on their coop, which will be a reveal we’ll be excited to share.
As well as other blog posts not chicken-related. Our creativity may have taken a little nap, but it’s picking up speed as of late. We’ll see what we can show you soon.
Thanks so much for spending a bit of your time with us, today!
– Laura and Family
As I type this update, it is one year plus a month later. I have just re-read this post, and wanted to share two things:
First, Weymouth, the rooster, ended up staying! If you are a regular follower, you know this, as there has been much talk, and many photos and posts on him. He’s a big and beautiful, traditional looking rooster. We never thought we’d be able to keep any rooster, but it has worked out so far.
Secondly, we expressed our shock and sadness in this post (Goodbye, Boston), when we learned my favorite, Boston (the hawk-like Easter Egger), was also a rooster! (If you are counting, yes that was 2 of our 8 vent-sexed (for female) chicks, that were males. You can read more about our sadness of re-homing Boston in that post, and why he had to go.
All events were shared in live-time, on our Facebook Page! So please join us there for instant shared moments.