The chicks are four weeks old today, but somehow they seem older. Perhaps it has something to do with the amount of work they require. Chicken chores are tedious, twice daily events that add up to a lot of work for the kids.
With the coop complete, all danger of frost past, and only the tiniest bit of fluff remaining, we moved the flock off the back porch today. The trampoline is secure with chicken wire and tent stakes. The coop is secure with hook and eye latches. The babies will spend three days and nights cooped up so they associate the coop with “home” and “safety” and “giant-group-egg.” On the fourth morning (Thursday) the chicks fly the coop, and get to play in their yard.
Over the past two weeks we took the chicks out for a couple of hours of playtime in their yard, every third, then every other day. They now hunt bugs and jump-fly across the fifteen foot circle. Their flocking instinct is strong and they started calling to one another. Lanchester is a quiet rooster so far, and does not call to the chicks when they stray from the flock. Instead, he herds the stray bird back into the group like a sheepdog. His eagerness to keep the girls together is a good indication that he has the instinct to care for the ladies.
The chicks have a pecking order mostly figured out. Only the top two hens (Meeps and Darkwing) still bicker about position. The more personality a chick has the easier it is to name. We have (in no particular order): two Easter Eggers named Cappuccino and Demitasse Coffee, two buff Orpingtons, one darker and one lighter, named Meeps and Peeps respectively, two red Dark Cornish named Lanchester and Unicorn, three black Australorps named Darkwing Chick, Bossy Leadership Skills, and their unnamed Australop sister, lastly, we have three unnamed golden lace Wyandotte.
Not sure how the chicks will feel after three days cooped up, but we’ll keep you posted.