Thursday, November 1, 2012

Playing with my food

Our little chicks that were still in egg form in This Post hatched about three months ago now. But, because of the whole "I'm growing a person and therefore quite exhausted" thing, I didn't get to tell how the hatching went, nor post photos of how adorable the little fluff buckets were (I say were because they've been going through that awkward chicken teenager phase and are not as cute looking now).

We ended up with three chicks. Five hatched but... momma hen stepped on one right after it had finished drying (this happens. Chickens are not very bright, even the best momma chickens do this). Then, momma hen got off the nest permanently in the middle of another one hatching. So, that one died too. Or it died in the middle of hatching and she got off the nest. Either way, we ended up with three little chicks.

Phillip built a pen and cage for them to stay in, so that 1) the cats wouldn't eat our chicks and 2) the other chickens wouldn't kill the little chicks. Again. Nature. This happens. It's what they do and how they establish pecking order. That, and sometimes chickens can be jerks. Like all living things.
Mamma Hen breaking apart grain for her babies
Such cute little balls of fluff!

We were hoping all three were hens. Hens have a purpose: eggs. More than one rooster around and you have fights for dominance and hens going off their laying because they're getting too much *ahem* attention from roosters (roosters tend to pay more attention to hens who are laying eggs, as, well, this would increase their possibilities of actually reproducing. Hens not producing eggs means no babies means roosters give less "attention" to the hens. Therefore, too many roosters means you have no eggs. Which was the main reason we got our hens in the first place. So, any roosters in this batch will get the ax. It is, however, a bit difficult to see what sex a bird is. With chickens though, the rooster's comb starts to develop more quickly than a hens.

We seem to have one rooster. Which, the city-girl side of me thinks is kind of sad, because he's quite friendly at this point. And, well, they're baby chicks. They're still kind of cute. The practical side of me knows though that, if we get too many roosters because we don't want to kill them, we're feeding an animal that, if anything, will give us more trouble in the long run.

This is what happens now when I bend down to feed them
Oh well. Practicality wins out. In the meantime, we're having fun giving our little chicks a nice life of leisure. Their idiot hen mother decided that two months was a long enough time to look after them and left them to roam on their own. So, they've become overly attached to Phillip and me.

I seriously love our little chicks. They're adorable and fun. If I go out at the same time each day, they'll run up and jump on my to roost on my arms and lap No pooping on me thus far... But practicality must win out. 'Tis the way of life well, nearly everywhere unless you can afford to be picky and turn food into some sort of religion.

Please oh please don't poop on my head!
We've got another hen sitting on half a dozen eggs. Tried to stop her (I'd rather have more eggs than chicks) but, she is determined. We've decided already that nearly this whole hatching will be going into the freezer in a year (home raised free-range chicken, yes please!).

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