Monday, June 8, 2009

My Three Gro-Beasts

A few weeks ago, I got three baby chicks to raise as laying hens. They were downy little darlings that peeped sweetly and fell asleep in your hand. Within a few days, they had sprouted some wing feathers as shown below.

Tilda, our Rhode Island Red, is the most daring and self-assured of the three girls, and when we put a perch in their box, she hopped right on. It took our Araucana, Amelia, another couple of days to work up the courage and interest. Honey, our Buff Orpington, is the most docile and least adventurous. She waited at least a week to sit on the perch comfortably.

Tilda was comfortable on the perch from the moment we introduced it.

After these small milestones, the girls hit a growth spurt. First, they grew tail feathers, then their wings filled out, and by the end of the second week, pin feathers were crowding out the down on their necks. They seemed to double in size.

By the end of the second week, all the girls had full, feathery wings…

…and they weren't afraid to use them.

Pin feathers starting popping up around the neck.

This view shows the shafts of the feather up close. You can see the tips of the feathers unfurling.

If you used time-lapse photography, I’m sure you would be able to watch them grow in a single day. I’d check in on them in the morning, and by the time I got home from work in the early evening, I’d be shocked at how much they had changed. Just add food and water and watch these amazing creatures expand by 600%! Alive!

Alethea Morrison, Storey Creative Director
All photos by Marcelino Vilaubi

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