Last week, I mentioned we were almost ready to move the chickens to the basement. Matt even built a big brooder over the weekend for them to stay in until they’re big enough for their coop, but when the time came to relocate them, we just weren’t ready. Thing is, little Olive is still really little, and the rest of them aren’t that big yet either, so we decided to wait another week.
In the meantime, we’ve upgraded their accommodations yet again (this is the 4th time) by taping together two very large boxes to form a 5’-x-2’ megabox, and the chickens seem to really love all the extra space. The walls are only 2’ tall, so we have to screen the top with bits of hardware cloth and cardboard to keep them in, but the whole thing is working out really well. The best thing about the added space is that we have enough room to section off the far end with a brick for their food and water. This brick has done wonders for keeping things clean and level, and prevents the water dispenser from falling over like it would before.
As for the chicks…
It looks like Miss Amelia Pond may not be the Ameraucana we thought she was. After doing a little reading about the breed, I discovered that despite the name most feed stores and hatcheries use, true Ameraucanas are rare, and can usually only be found through specialized breeders. Amy still has Ameraucana or Aracauna blood in her veins, but she’s likely a mixed breed (aka an ‘Easter Egger'). She’ll still lay colorful eggs, but her bloodlines are a mystery to me, so if anybody has any guesses regarding her breeding, I’d love to know.
As for her personality, she’s still the most active and brave of the lot. In fact, you can see her standing on the edge of the brooder box in the photo above because she jumped out while I was taking pictures. She likes to run around, flap her wings, and rile up the others. She’s really fun.
Seven of Nine is starting to fluff out a bit now, too. Her white down is slowly being replaced by black pinfeathers, and she’s starting to develop a decent comb on her forehead. She’s still a little timid around people, but she’s getting more personable every day. I also think she’s got a really pretty face, which I guess is a characteristic of the breed.
Okay. So, I’ve done lots and lots of research about Buff Orpingtons, and now I’m almost 90% positive that Starbuck is a girl. Hooray!
Thing is, she’s feathering out so much that she’s starting to look like a real chicken. And she’s huge! Not to mention, her comb is small, and has remained a nice, neutral yellowish color. All of these are good signs that she’s a female, and from what I’ve read, Orpington cockerels use most of their nutrition toward growth rather than feathering, have shorter tails (until they grow their plumage), and have more conspicuous combs that redden up at an earlier age than pullets.
And last, but not least, is little Olive. These pictures were taken on Monday, just two days ago, and as of this morning, little Olive is not so little anymore. Seriously. I went to bed last night and she was teeny tiny, but when I woke up this morning, she grew an inch! She’s also starting to feather out now, so she looks pretty awkward. It’s all very exciting.
Little Olive is probably the funniest chicken to watch. She’s not the biggest, or the fastest, and she’s definitely not the most sociable, but she’s really awesome at Chicken Football (the highly competitive sport of eating). Whenever she gets in possession of a piece of food that the other girls have been fighting over, she chirps as loud as she possibly can, and starts running around in circles, even if none of the other chickens are paying attention to her. And when they are paying attention, she’s really effective at keeping them away because she’s so much smaller than they are. Or she was, at least.
Just so you can compare, here’s Starbuck and Olive side-by-side…
In other chicken news, Matt and I have started work on the coop. If all goes as planned, the whole thing should be finished by May 1st. The date is a little ambitious, I know, but it’ll be really nice to get the whole project out of the way as soon as we possibly can. I’ll post photos of our progress in next week’s chicken update.