Like all our Light Brahmas, Alexia has feathered legs and feet, which is cute until they get covered with dirt and poop. The Brahmas suffered more than the other chickens in our brief heat wave this summer, but will likely have an advantage (along with their greater weight and size) in the cold to come.
Our Brahmas also have these odd little half toes on the outside toe of both feet. Which is normal, it turns out, but gave me a heart attack when I first noticed, and sent me running to the internet.
Why am I telling you all about Brahmas and nothing about Alexia? Because Alexia was one of the chicks that didn’t want any human contact, and who screamed if picked up. I actually have no baby pictures of Alexia. This coolness lasted until puberty hit, when she became much friendlier. It’s like the opposite of humans.
Now, along with Orpingtons, Brahmas are slow to mature. There are breeds you might expect to start laying around 16-18 weeks, but the later breeds might take 22-26, or longer. So, when I was waiting for our first egg (which was AGONY), I was not expecting our first squatter to be Alexia.
What is squatting, you might ask? Squatting is what mature hens do to (ahem) prepare themselves for their rooster. The chest goes to the ground, the tail goes up in the air, and the wings open out to the sides. Imagine my surprise, then, when the first of my hens to squat for me was Alexia! It went a little something like this:
The girls do this for me daily; I give the base of their tails a couple quick squeezes, and they get up, ruffle their feathers to get them back in order and walk off. I used to take longer, until I saw this.
The days leading up to Alexia’s first egg were very hard for her. She had no idea what was happening, and no mama or other older hen to model. She lost her chilly personality, and suddenly had to sit in my lap, crying, panting, pacing. It was hard to watch, and I comforted her as best I could.
Alexia was the first of our girls to squat, and the first to lay. Her first eggs were laid in the run, but, to be fair, we had only a makeshift nesting box at that time. Now that the proper nesting boxes are in place, she is Little Miss Reliable. She was the one to show the others how it’s done.
Her eggs are the smallest, but she lays like a pro. She will scream bloody murder, however, if her nesting spot is taken when she’s ready to lay…