The house is quiet tonight for the first time since late February. At six weeks old, the nuggets are spending their first night outdoors locked up tightly in a pet carrier-turned mini-coop. They’ve already been spending their entire days outside for the past week (after a week or so of partial days) and with night temperatures in the 50’s–the time has come.
While they are not grown up by any means, if they were being raised by a mama hen, she’d likely be done doing maternal duties and they’d be turned out into the flock to fend for themselves. We are NOT turning ours into the big flock any time soon since that flock is still working out the blending kinks with the nearly twelve week-old teens!
The teens spend the days in the large run with the old gals–they’re learning how to make their way while getting out of the way when the mean girls come pecking. At night, they roost in the little house that has been theirs for a couple months now. They are starting to spread out a bit and actually roost on the roosting bars during the night instead of piling into a cozy heap in one of the nesting boxes. With four pullets (females) and one cockerel, there is safety in numbers. We’ve told Sprocket that until he starts crowing, as far as we’re concerned, he’s just one of the gals. Our last Ameraucana roo started crowing around 14 weeks, so maybe we have a couple more weeks before Sprocket has to go.
And, speaking of cockerels…we’re pretty sure this little bantam Mottled Cochin is a male as well. He’s got quite the long-necked strut and his little comb is just as red as can be. He flits around trying to tell the other two what to do and we’ve taken to calling Daisy, “Dudley”!
The three nuggets love their makeshift run we’ve created out of chicken wire right next to the big gals coop and while they are separate and safe, we want them to get used to each other’s presence. The nuggets had no trouble figuring out that the new little cage in their romper land was where they should be when the sun set; they hopped in an out for a little while and then in they went just about the time the older hens were getting settled in their roosts.
It always amazes us how they all just sort of figure out how to be chickens and all we need to do is try to give them what they need at each developmental stage. So, as the full moon rises over Raggedy Hen Farm, our baby chick raising days are just about done for this year. Now we can turn our nurturing attention to the garden!