Picture day. C3.0 on Day 26.

It seemed as though the rain would never stop and the sun would never shine, but it has and it has. Halleluia! I’ve been looking for a day that wasn’t so very cold to take C3.0 out of the brooder and out from under the heat lamp for updated photos. Spreading and preserving the cute, yes, but also informative; I am impatient to know how many hens I have.

(By the way, it might amuse you to know that, in my head, C3.0 is C3PO.)

The sexing is foregone for many of C3.0 (See? You’re doing it now, too.). I am as certain as I can be without pissing off Mother Nature that I have a minimum of two Blue Copper Marans roos. My beloved Big Blue, the biggest, the fastest, the most precocious, who I had hoped would be a hen, crowed on Day 19, dashing my hopes. That his wattles are now a rather spectacular cherry red is just salt in the wound.

1305 Big Blue leRoo

Ladies and gentlechickens, I give you…Big Blue leRoo. If all continues on its current course, Big Blue leRoo will be my Marans rooster. He hatched first, easiest, healthiest, strongest, and biggest. (Wendy, he might well be #37.) I’d be a fool not to use him as the foundation of my breeding program, modest as it is.

Recall that I am naming the Marans after Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters, and the Ameraucanas after Angel characters…my Marans rooster will be named Spike. As I try not to tempt fate whenever possible, he remains Big Blue leRoo for the foreseeable future. How ’bout them wattles, huh? Here he is, at left, with Blue Roo Two:

messagepart

Not hard to see who the alpha is, is it? Big Blue leRoo has already begun to peck at me when I clean the brooder, and, thanks to the invaluable guidance of Justine at Les Farms, I know now to ping him when he does so, and force him to recognise my physical superiority. I am the alpha.

That said, Blue Roo Two will be kept as my backup until the fall, at which time, if all goes according to plan (ha!) he will make a fine Marans rooster in someone else’s flock.

Then there are the blue girls, which is to say, what I hope are the blue girls:

messagepart-5

A dramatic difference in combs and wattles, you’ll agree. Although there is likely a slight age difference, it can’t be more than one day, so I don’t think it’s a factor at this point. I will need a blue rooster and blue hens if I’m ever to breed the elusive splash.

Then there are my two blacks. Both of these chicks required help hatching. Medium Black was born 25 days ago, and Scrappy 24. Medium Black may have needed help getting from the shell, but was completely independent thereafter, and never required my help again. That said, she is significantly smaller than the blues.

Scrappy, as you’ll recall, was very high maintenance. She pipped when I had given up hope of any other hatchings, and needed quite a bit of my help, including an after-hatch bath and and elaborate leg bracing to correct weak toes and an inturned left ankle:

1305 2BACM

Here they are today:

messagepart-4

They were the wiggliest of the bunch and this shot is the most in focus of all the shots I took. Scrappy, at left, may be tiny, but she is undaunted. She was the only one of the nine who tried to fly off the 3.5 foot roost on which they were perched. As you can see, she is still behind developmentally, but is now making progress.

I believe both of these blacks to be girls, and await the thoughts of more learned chickeneers.

Which brings us to the Lavender Ameraucana trio. I think I lucked out and got a proper breeding trio, one rooster and two hens. I base this conclusion not on combs and wattles, but on the rate of feathering, as I’m told this is a reliable method of sexing in Ameraucanas. From the outset, two of the LAs feathered in quickly, and one slowly.

messagepart-3

Although the roolet, at center, is blurry in this shot, you can see how his feather development differs from that of the pullets on either side of him. He and the girl to the right were born on the first day, making them 26 days old; the pullet to the left is none other than Light Preemie, who has blossomed.

messagepart-1

Assuming I am right (and that’s always dangerous), I am going ahead and giving them their adult names. The roo will be Angel. The larger, more glamourous hen, at right, will be Cordelia, and the perky, come-up-from-behind hen will be Fred. Yes, Fred. Innit she sweet? In the shot above, you can also get a good look at Cordelia’s beard coming in.

So, there you have it: the kids of C3.0, on Day 26. Coming later this week, the babies of T1.0, and the embryos of C3.1.

Advertisements

Bedhead.

Chicks are born with down, not feathers; the feathers emerge in the first six weeks of life, but not all at the same time; there’s a procedure.

Much as children gain adult teeth in a specific order, chicks get their primary wing feathers first, then their secondary wing feathers, then shoulder feathers, breast feathers, butt feathers (I’m thinking that’s got to itch), and, finally, head feathers.

The emerging feathers push out the existing down, leaving the chicks with a fuzzy halo of almost-dearly-departed down hanging by a thread, then flying into the air until you could choke from it all.

2.0 are now getting their head feathers, and they look like the rumpled, rambunctious children they are. As the down is pushed out by the new feathers, they look like kids who’ve gotten into their older brother’s hair product, and laid it on with a heavy hand.

I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking:

Little women? The sequel.

I’ve been keeping my eye on my littlest chick to see if she is a he. She’s smaller than her sisters, but her feather development is significantly ahead of where Jack’s was at this age, and her comb not as prominent. I am exhaling, cautiously.

She is still the smallest, though, and by quite a bit. She is also a Silver Laced Wyandotte, which makes her one of my “good girls”, and, so, she is the first one to get her name.

She is Gidget. Gidget the Midget. I know, I know; very un-PC of me. I just can’t resist a tasty rhyme.

And if Gidget the Midget should turn out to be a roo? Gidget had a boyfriend in all those movies, right? What was his name again? I googled “Gidget’s boyfriend” this morning.

Moondoggie. His name would be Moondoggie. Which is so awesome, I almost want it to happen.

Almost.

Please pardon our appearance…

…while we renovate.

The chicks are now 2.5 weeks old, and looking pretty darned ratty. Their fuzzy down is slowly being replaced by their first set of big girl feathers, and I can begin to see their adult colourations.

The Australorps, for example, are losing the white down on their chests, that had given them the look of baby penguins, and gaining tiny black feathers. When they’re done with this process, all their feathers will be black. Every last one.

If you look closely at the shoulders in the next pic, you can see that the Silver Laced Wyandottes are just beginning to get the silver-white feathers laced with black that will give them their lacy adult appearance.

They may look ragged, but they’re becoming more and more active. They now fly out of the brooder at me when I open the front door, eager to explore their larger world.

Day-old chicks are heart-breakingly cute, but, for me, this is the fun part.