Sunday, June 21, 2009

Chicken Little

The chicks are growing up fast. We turned off the heat lamp this week, and they seem to be warm enough when I pop in to check on them. They're almost fully feathered, and tiny combs and wattles are coming in. I'm feeling ready for them to move outside. For the first four weeks, their box didn't smell, but now a litter pile that's a few days old is a touch on the ripe side.

Look at that tiny comb above her beak!

To be honest, I'm wringing my hands about our Rhode Island Red, Tilda. She is supposed to grow up to be the midsize chicken, larger than the Araucana and smaller than the Orpington. Right now, though, she is much smaller than either of them. I worry that she may be a runt. I don't mind if she's a little gal, really, but does anyone out there know if her size will affect her laying ability or her overall health?

Tilda is the chick in front; you can see how much smaller she is than the other two.

She's small, but she's spirited. She's the most sprightly of the three.

Also, our Araucana, Amelia, has a curved beak that doesn't shut all the way. Has anyone seen this, and is it a cause for concern? Warped beak or no, she certainly can pack in the food. She's supposed to be the smallest chicken, and she's the largest! In fact, maybe Tilda isn't a runt; maybe Amelia is a giant!

Amelia has a hook on her beak, so she can't close it all the way.

Any advice on these abnormalities would be welcome (other than culling). I think culling is sensible and appropriate for farmers or people who really need their animals to work, but our chicks are pets. They're not perfect maybe, but they're ours all the same.

Chickens are good for a laugh if nothing else.

Alethea Morrison, Storey Creative Director
All photos by Mars Vilaubi


Kari said...

All of these chicken photos are wonderful. I think there should be an Animals of Storey Publishing calender for 2010. Think of it! The chickens, sheep and horses! It would be so much fun! Or maybe it would be a sampling f all of the wonderful things on this blog - gardening tips and recipes... anyhow, I would buy it.

Anonymous said...

Oh Alethea - the girls are lookin' good! That last shot of Honey laying her chicken breast right on top of Amelia is hysterical! I love how Tilda looks at them like they're lunatics! -Jayme.

Unknown said...

Mars and Alethea,

A friend of mine who keeps a small flock of hens suggests adding a bit of diatomaceous earth (found at pool supply stores) to their feed to keep their droppings from smelling so much. It won't hurt the birds a bit.