Written by Jane
Every spring since the homestead's beginning, I, Jane, the chicken keeper, get a new batch of chicks, as the last year's batch has usually dwindled a little or a lot. (Ahem, Max. Really glad you seem to have gotten over your habit!) This year was no exception, this time the reason being that the Rhode Island Red population was down to one faithful old hen left over from the very first batch of chicks. That girl has been through a lot! Say hello to the month-old Rhode Island Red population replenishers.
The chicks are currently at the stage of development that Suzanne calls the "Ugly Stage," which is when their feathers are growing out and they look a little ragged and patched. They will hopefully gain all of their feathers soon and then I can officially kick them out of the front porch box to the chicken coop and wash my hands of all the miserable work that comes with having chicks.
The pictures below are from when they were younger. The first one is from when they were itty bitty chicks and the second one was a little more recent.
Sadly, for the first time, there is a cross beaked chick in our mix. This unfortunate deformity prevents the bird from eating and drinking properly, and it will be culled if it makes it to adulthood. The following [disturbing] pictures should effectively illustrate what I mean.
I am really looking forward to when these babies grow up because, according to their breeder, they sit on eggs and hatch their own chicks. This desired [by me] trait is sadly rare among regular chickens from hatcheries. After all, if your hens have their own chicks, who needs hatcheries? The other reason broody hens are generally disliked is that they stop laying eggs while they are sitting and for a few weeks afterward, although this minor issue does not bother me.
Written by Jane
6/11/2016 08:04:06 pm
How is the cross beaked chicken able to eat or drink at all?
6/12/2016 06:29:55 am
It uses the bottom of its beak as a scoop to get the feed/water into its mouth and then swallows. It still doesn't really get enough feed and is smaller than most of the other chicks, and it is always at the feeders trying to fill up.
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We are a family of eight living on twenty-two acres of land in North Carolina. We girls like to write about the times on the farm, and its a fun thing to do as there is alway something happening on the homestead!