The early Spring hatchlings are 9 weeks old and they are losing their skittish insecurities. As far as they’re concerned, the world is their oyster now! They are pretty much fully feathered in the plumage that will carry them through adulthood and more than half the size they will be when they are full grown. They spend days foraging, dust bathing and roosting outside and at dusk, they climb and fly up into their little house to sleep. They no longer eat chick starter, but have switched to what is known as grower or developer feed. This feed ration is higher in protein, but lower in calcium than the layer feed the big girls eat. Since they teens are still separated from the old hens by a bit of fencing, we just serve two different feeds and everyone is getting what they need.
The five are starting to really show their personalities and they are all quite calm so far. They can’t wait to be freed from the henhouse at the first sign of daylight and come fluttering out into the run with a flap of feathers. Sprocket and Blue Andy are generally the first ones down and out, followed by Speckles and Buffy. Betsy, the Dark Brahma, is the mellowest, calmest pullet we’ve probably ever had and she never seems to be in a rush to do anything!
We’ve been quite convinced that Sprocket, the Easter Egger/Ameraucana we hatched in the incubator, is a cockerel since early on. Of course, we hoped that we would be wrong! This is our second Ameraucana baby and the second one to be a roo! While he hasn’t made any attempts at crowing yet, the growing tail plume, pointed saddle feathers and larger, redder comb have been pretty solid signs. We finally felt some prickly spurs developing on the back of his shanks so we can’t allow ourselves denial any longer–Sprocket is not just one of the girls!