These guys have been such a pleasure to have around. I don’t know whether it’s the breed (Naked Necks) or just because there are ten of them (plus one future layer) but they are FUN.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve shown you pictures, so I’m putting them in chronological order, so you can see them grow. They still have a ways to go before they have their ‘one bad day’ as Joel Salatin puts it, but until then, they are having a ball.
They are experimenting with the Big Girls’ perch – much to the dismay of the Ellie, my Welsummer who likes to go to bed early. It’s simply impossible, she says, for a civilized hen to share a perch with such an uncivilized gang of youngsters.
And just look at their necks! Are we sure they aren’t diseased???
The babies love their kefir.
Even the new future egg-layer, our Golden Sexlink. We have named her Matilda, Tilda for short.
She is the sweetest little bird. I have to be very careful not to step on her, because she’s always right at my ankles. I haven’t socialized these meat birds much, because…well, they ARE meat birds. They aren’t scared of me (because I bring the food) but they don’t really want to be touched. Tilda does. Even though she was raised exactly the same, she started approaching me, and wanting affection – or at least extra treats!
They love to sunbathe – they spend more time stretched out in the sun than any chickens I’ve ever raised.
And when they are in the way back part of their yard, and they hear me coming with the fermented grain, it’s like having a little flock of velociraptors. They are fierce, when they run! Sometimes, it startles me…but always, it makes me laugh. I need to try and get a video of it. I did get a video of them drinking kefir.
I just took this pic today. Relaxed, happy babies, just hanging out.
And Ellie peeking at them through the grape vines, still convinced there’s something wrong with them…
I have been working on planting the chicken areas with lots of future fruit sources: grapes, mulberry, blackberries, herbs, wolfberry, roses, apples, and many others. It’s really starting to look pretty nice, and the girls appreciate the greenery, even if it’s too soon for fruit.
I have also spread a thick layer of wood chips out here. The chickens are not very fond of them when they are fresh – I don’t know if they don’t like the smell, or the prickliness of all the pine needles and twigs, but it prevents the ground from turning to mud in winter, and bare, dry, cracked earth in summer. Once the chips age a few months, they will be in here, constantly digging through it and finding tons of worms and bugs.