The brooder in the mudroom is empty now: the two buff brahma chicks moved out to the coop in mid-November. They stayed in the brooder longer than the other two sets of chicks, mostly because there were only two of them so they weren't crowded, and partly so that they'd be well-feathered when they moved, since the temperatures are much lower now.
One of the speckled Sussex.When they began sleeping on top of the feeder and waterer, I figured it was past time that they move out and have a real roost to sleep on.
Of course that meant that the buff orpingtons had to mingle with the older girls in the coop so the brahmas could have the wire dog crate. For two weeks I'd been leaving the crate door open, hoping that the buffs would move out on their own, but the older girls were being bossy. If a buff came out, one of the sex-links would look at her cross-eyed and the buff would run back inside. Then the older chicks took it a step further and ate the buffs' feed before they'd eat from their own feeder.
I felt bad that I had to throw them out and into the midst of the older pullets, but it had to be done. I rearranged a few things in the coop so the buffs would have some places to hide if they needed to. They spent several days hanging out in front of the crate door, evidently wishing they could go back inside.
One of the buffs discovered that the coop floor had a soft spot right there in front of the crate door, and she spent a lot of time dust-bathing. It hadn't occurred to me that the chicks were old enough to want to dust-bathe, or that the wire floor of the dog crate had prevented it. Well, at least this chick was happy.
They are finally beginning to coexist with the older girls now, although you'll always find the bright gold chicks in a group amidst the black sex-links, black and white dominiques and the speckled Sussex girls. (Yes, now I think the Sussex chicks are both pullets too. What were the odds of getting two pullets out of a bin of straight-run chicks?)
The buffs are so friendly. I had buff orpingtons for several years, but these are much friendlier than any chickens I've ever had before. I know that buffs are known to be calm and personable, but these five are really exceptional. They practically beg me to pick them up.
One morning as I leaned over to fill the feeders, one of the buffs jumped from the top of the dog crate onto my back. I stood up slowly and she crawled up to my shoulder and hung out for awhile. Another day one flew onto my back, and then hopped to the top of my head. I attempted a selfie - I don't have much experience (none) at taking selfies, so please excuse the poor quality, but I thought you might enjoy the photo.
Yesterday when I was taking the rest of these photos, one of them again flew onto my back... yes, now they're flying from the ground up onto my back, not just hopping. She groomed my hair for several minutes. Then a second one flew up, and a third. After awhile I told them to get off and they wouldn't. Come on, girls, I have to go feed the horses before it gets dark...
I hope they stay this friendly as adults, although I don't want more than one on my shoulder at a time.
News from the Coop, Part One
News from the Coop, Part Two
News from the Coop, Part Three
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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