True stories of a small flock of remarkable individuals -- and other critters.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Four Nuggets


Born May 5 --- 

I raised them in the living room for the first two weeks. Not because I especially wanted to raise them indoors, but because they'd been vaccinated for Marek's Disease, and they needed a little time for their immune systems to kick in.  

Marek's Disease is a virus that thrives in my yard. I lost both Pigeon and Fern to the disease. Lucy has suffered from it, but she is a strong survivor so far.  I'm hopeful that the vaccine will protect the new little flock members. 

There was no shortage of fun activities for the chicks indoors.

They met THE HAND... 
---pretty darn exciting.

Then they met THE PAPER PLATE, with watermelon slices. 
 --- a little too scary.

They played a variety of sports.
Phoebe showed natural athletic potential... Jenny, not so much. 

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

Dorrie, the Barred Plymouth Rock, warmed right up to The Hand. 

I was alarmed that Dorrie sported a tiny comb on her little noggin from day one.  And from day one I was sick with worry. Was she a "he"?  I read that the boys are the most personable chicks.  Dorrie was by far the most personable. She was uniquely endearing.
I struggled to keep my heart in check while I searched the chicken sites for information on the sexing of Barred Rock chicks.
I posted the above photo on Facebook, asking knowledgeable chicken-friends whether Dorrie was a pullet or a roo. 

Many opinions and educated speculations were offered, but the response was pretty much 50-50.   So I continued to wring my hands over Dorrie and I tried not to fall in love with her.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

Meanwhile, Jenny the Australorp, who we named after our first Jenny, 
 sported no comb at all, thank goodness. 

Instead, Jenny had a curiously enormous head. I wondered about the size and complexity of the brain inside her huge chickie skull.  
Jenny grew twice as quickly as the others-- perhaps her body was trying to catch up to her hat size.
It occurred to me that she might actually be an ostrich.
Or an albatross?

. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

Now, Scarlett - she's my little Buckeye.  She's named after a flowering tree: the Scarlet Buckeye, and her adult feathering will be a deep red.
Her breed is supposed to be good at catching mice.
What they do with the mice once they catch them, I'm not sure.
Scarlett is a bit shy, so I don't know much about her personality yet.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

Phoebe, a Speckled Sussex,  
 is elegant and vivacious.    
And very photogenic.
Here's Phoebe at nine weeks:

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

And here's great big Jenny at nine weeks, with her friends Phoebe and Scarlett:
Jenny's still the largest.  She's a respectable and level-headed lady, and has accepted the leadership role of her young flock.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

After nine weeks of worry, I can now officially declare Dorrie a GIRL.

I can tell by her stance, and by the shape and color of her feathers.  Thank goodness. Now I can sleep at night. 

Except now Dorrie is showing herself to be a spitfire and a daredevil.

She rushes to greet Marky, fearlessly.  
She taunts Daisy.... 
very foolishly.  

If we can keep her alive to adulthood despite her reckless tendencies, she may turn out okay. 

After all,  
she is quite handy with power tools, 

and she's an avid reader. 

So with a bit of luck, some smarts and wisdom may eventually displace the lunacy in that little head of hers.

....we'll see.