Sunday, September 8, 2013

Growing up

Remember these fuzzy babies, the Buff and Welsummer chicks we hatched about 11 weeks ago? They don't look like that anymore. Say hello to our teenagers.

The Welsummers are a new breed for us, and it has been so interesting to see the differences between their growth and behaviour and that of the Buffs and Australorps. They're quite a bit smaller, for one thing, and are maturing much faster. The cockerels, who started crowing at about 9 weeks, are showing some spectacular colours...

...and even the pullets' more subtle colouring is just beautiful.

There's nothing like a new breed to show you all the ways in which you have been taking your old breeds for granted. Buffs and Australorps, being as big as they are, are not flyers. Sure, they'll flap their wings to soften a landing as they jump down from the roost, or to give some acceleration as they run, but they never fly. The Welsummers, on the other hand, have taught us all about verticality. Boop-booping is a whole different business with them: it's not enough to usher them along with a boop-boop stick, you have to factor in the likelihood that they will fly right over the stick, you, and anything else in the way.

Postscript: The Welsummers have matured into a much more dignified adulthood! They have lots of personality, curiosity and energy, are great talkers, have been consistently good layers, and the verticality issue is not a problem any longer. And they can boop boop like the best of 'em!

The baby Buffs, on the other hand, now that the feather picking issue has resolved itself, are a more predictable bunch. Kim has been away the last few days so I've been on Chicken Management duty, and I've appreciated their willingness to come, predictably, thankfully, back into their enclosures at the end of the day. No chasing them around the bushes, no fishing them off the rafters of the coop, no wings beating in my face.

Thank you, baby Buffs. What good chickie-chickies.


Shim Farm said...

Spectacular plumage indeed!

Beautiful birds, your chickie-chickies!

Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

I'm doing Americaunas for the first time this year and I have to say I'm not impressed. They fly, they peck, and they are kind of bitchy.
So those blue-green eggs better be awesome. B/C otherwise those chickens are gonna wind up in a pot.
I like the Buffs - the Golden Retriever of the chicken world. Cutie-pies.

Alison said...

I'm laughing at Lindsey's golden retriever comment--too perfect! Those Welsummers are beauties, for sure, but apparently they have let it go to their little chicken heads. Would you consider clipping their wings? We used to clip the flight feathers on just one wing of each bird. On the other hand, we had Buffs and Rhode Island Reds, so it's not like they were, well....Welsummers.

Inna Deineko said...

Great post! thank you for sharing these photos

Regards, Inna
Agriculture in the Black Sea Region

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