Wednesday was THE day, “Chicken Day USA” as Tony called it. We went to pick up our little brood of chicks, and what a day it was. They are varied and beautiful and amazing.
This was taken while we were still at Ideal Poultry. They were all in this little box, just as happy as can be. (Well, except for Alpha. She is L-O-U-D. I had to go all Momma on her on the way home.)
Most people who have seen pictures or find out we have gotten a dozen baby chicks feel it necessary to explain to me that chickens poop a lot as though I were unaware. Um, no news flash as I’ve stepped in my fair share of animal poopage more than once–and more than just chickens. It’s what chickens do. (No pun intended.) And despite the smell and mess, I’m sure we all agree that digestion is a pretty amazing event.
“Do you know what I heard? I heard all this stuff is poop.”
“Really? How disgusting!”
“Just who made this mess anyway?”
That being said, there are OTHER amazing things about chickens that prove how incredible God is. For instance, our little ones hatched at 10:00 on Wednesday morning, and we had them in a box in our car going home by 12:30. They were completely independent of their mothers, and their only immediate need was warmth which they got from each other (and us as we REALLY wanted to keep them warm, so we turned the heater on in the car.)
Despite our best efforts to not get “attached”– my own two chicks bestowed three of the girls with names on the trip home. Bobbie is one, but I’m not sure how you can tell–Victoria and Thad say they KNOW. The other two are easier because of their coloring and the fact that they are different from the rest.
Meet Hazel, a lovely Welsummer whose eggs I cannot WAIT to see.
And Alpha, a Silver Campine who is the drama queen of the bunch. She will also be a beauty once fully grown.
Now, when we got our babies home, we put them into their new nursery straight away. You will be able to see in the photo below that it was their first time in their new home by the absence of poop.
What is even MORE amazing is that when we put them into the box, they scuttled straight to the water and the food. They had never SEEN water OR food before, because as soon as they were born, they were plunked into a cardboard box that had some straw stuff and some kelly green, grainy stuff that they were able to peck at and ingest leading to lots of bright green. . .well, you know. So food and water were a completely new concept, yet they found it immediately. (And if you are wondering why the kids named Alpha that name, she is the little biddy who is hurtling away from the group to explore that red light. See? Alpha.) So–amazing God and his omniscience again, because our babies didn’t need their momma OR milk AND they were able to identify water and food immediately.
Our babies were SO brand new when we got them, that they all still had their egg tooth firmly attached to their beak. If you don’t remember the 1st grade chicken hatching lesson, an egg tooth is a teeny, tiny little nub that enables them to break out of the egg shell. Here is a close up of Alpha’s egg tooth. This was later that night, and you can see that it is beginning to dry around the edges to fall off. It looks kind of like a fingernail. I say it again–amazing, amazing Heavenly Father.
These are all pullets which means they are girls who are less than a year old. (There will be an FAQ later to answer the burning question, “Which came first? The egg or the rooster?”) This little quintessential yellow ball of fluff is a Plymouth White Rock pullet. Isn’t she pretty?
Here is a closer close up of Tony holding her.
Look closely at her little face. That tiny, jagged ridge between her eyes? That is her comb. It’s already formed with the number of ridges it will have. Once she (and her comb) is fully grown, we will be able to tell how healthy she is by looking at her comb’s color and whether it is standing up or flopping over. Her little yellow egg tooth is also still attached.
Score another point for the Creator.
Early the next morning, the kids started wondering if something was wrong with one of their wings. It was a little odd looking. (Maybe it was an allergic reaction to all of the poo, ya know.)
The answer was, NOPE, nothing in the world wrong. She is already exchanging her fluff for feathers. Yep. These babies grow FAST. (Chicken poo IS a very highly sought after form of fertilizer after all.)
It appears that she is not the only one who is growing. . .
Eventually, our young ladies will find themselves in these top notch digs, courtesy of my creative, long suffering, and determined husband. He has just about worked himself into a dither over their coop and run, but it looks GREAT.
These little girls are still babies, though. And like all growing babies they eat and sleep just as much as they poop. It is amazing to see them sleep. . .they sort of rock around on their little chicken feet, then face plant into whatever is beneath them. Also like newborn human babies, they don’t always sleep the way one thinks a chicken SHOULD sleep. Notice Hazel with her face in the bedding and her booty in the air.
This little girls seems to have been in the middle of a waking up stretch when she decided to go back to sleep again.
Doesn’t this look like a sleeping newborn baby? Despite, of course, the poo–although I DID have to change my own babies’ bedding from time to time due to diaper malfunctions.
This was the end of their first full day here, and they don’t seem to have any aversion to where they will lay their sleepy, little heads.
Ah. . .clean bedding. . .
I love her all propped up on her beak.
Chicks are like puppies that grow into dogs and kittens that grow into cats. They will, in fact, grow into chickens. But that’s okay. We WANT them to. At this very moment, all the eggs they will ever lay (just like with human females) are hidden in their growing bodies. AMAZING!!! Pretty soon they will enter chicken puberty which promises to be just as awkward as human puberty.
Until then, I have these pretty little girls in my house.
It just doesn’t get much sweeter than this.