You know how it is: the family photo albums are full of pictures of the first child. The second child not so much. And the third child? The third child is lucky even to be noticed.
It's like that with batches of chicks. I'm not even sure which batch we're on now - I have lost count - but the third child syndrome is full blown because I haven't even mentioned the current brood, let alone made them the subject of their own post. So here they are, the most recent additions to the Mucky Boots Flock: sixteen healthy, pooping, scratching, cheeping, almost-seven-week-old Black Australorps.
Right now they sleep in two brooder boxes (that's one of them in the photo at the top of the post) in the workshop, but during the day Kim and I ferry them out to the chicken tractor which is set up right now in the orchard. They're learning to eat bugs and grass, and experiencing sunshine, bird calls and even a bit of rain (although they have plenty of protection). The orchard is where the grown up Australorps pasture, and they have all been getting acquainted through the chicken wire of the tractor. Hector, the patriarch, is particularly interested in the little ones, as is the smallest hen, who would rather keep an eye on the youngsters than head back to the coop for an afternoon treat of scratch.
One of the funniest moments of every day is when the chicks get released from the brooder box into the chicken tractor. They required an awful lot of coaxing the first time, but now they can't wait to be set loose.