March 26, 2010

Outside At Last

We finally had a day warm enough to let the chickens out of doors. They are six weeks old now, and only have their brooder lamp at night. On the first sunny warm day, we opened the chicken door to let them out.

1st brave little chicken.This was not as easy as one might think. The door is elevated due to the corner bracing in the shed, which didn't allow us put it lower. Still, ramps make it accessible. The trouble was, the chickens didn't know that yet.

With a little help, they were finally all outside.
Rascal, our yard guard could care less.
(His take on the whole thing here. )

Lots of dirt to scratch.At first they congregated under the door,
but gradually began to explore...

Lots more room to exploreAs you can imagine, they absolutely loved it.

2 Delaware chickensDelawares

One of my 5 AmeraucanasAmeraucana

A pair of WelsWelsummers.

The Welsummers are the only of my four breeds that we're getting an idea of who's the cockerels and who's the pullets. mostly because of the head coloring.

Welsummer cockerelBoy

Welsummer pulletGirl

With the other breeds I can't tell. Behavior maybe? Any hints?

[UPDATE: while I was in the coop this afternoon, one of the Welsummer cockerels crowed! Not a big rooster crow, but it was definitely a crow.]

In other chicken news.....

New home crafted chicken feederThey have a new feeder made from a piece of 4" PVC pipe. We got the idea from here. It works well as they can't tip it over, can't stand on top of it, and can't spill feed all over the place.

Roosting like big chickens do.Also learning how to roost. Of course this behavior comes instinctively, but still, they have to learn how to keep their balance while negotiating the roosting perches.

As you can see, all is well in our little chicken world.

Outside At Last photos and text copyright March 2010 


Robin said...

How fun. I love watching our chickens out and about. We will have had them for almost a year now and I never get tired of watching them. Your little feeder was a neat idea. As for telling who is a boy and who is a girl, good luck on that. We could have sworn one of ours was a boy but no such luck. I think it depends on the breed in how fast you can tell along with maybe having chickens for many years (you pick up a knack for it). Otherwise I guess looks for crowing, growth of combs and wattles, and tail feathers.

Theresa said...

Free, free, free at last! A little envy right now for your weather. We had two super spring days followed by snow and rain....

Nina said...

What wonderful stories of adventures they'll be telling each at night now that they've all that roaming space :)
Cute and funny little beasties at that age. If you bought them unsexed and they are of breeds with no early signs of sex traits, like colour then it's just wait and be surprised :)
We can order sexed birds, so we'll be ordering the layer breeds as sexed chicks and meaties as whatever..

Laura said...

By this time, standard combed chickens will be starting to show sexual differences (in the comb size). The Barred Holland you showed just might be a roo...

You can really see the difference in the Welsummers' picture!

I love the feeder - I'll have to make several for myself!

Renee Nefe said...

glad you had a warm enough day for exploring and that the chicks liked it.

bspinner said...

Ah soaking up the warm weather and sun shine. The good life!!

Heather said...

They're gorgeous. There's just something about seeing chickens scratching around outside, isn't there.

charlotte said...

The chickens are so cute! And they're lucky to live a natural, chicken-friendly life.

Leigh said...

Robin, how can anybody not love chickens. With the Welsummers, it's fairly easy because the roosters have solid color heads, but the hens don't. I reckon we'll just have to wait and see.

Theresa, more snow! Oh no! We've got rain threatening, but the temperatures still stay mild, thankfully.

Nina, we're definitely on the wait and be surprised mode. One of the Welsummers crowed this afternoon though! Too bad it wasn't one of the other breeds, because I've already got the Welsummers figured out due to different head feather colors of the sexes.

Laura, I was wondering about that, comb size that is. We kinda figure that Barred Holland is a roo. Hopefully the other is a pullet. Dan really likes these so they may be the breed we'll go with eventually.

Renee, me too!

Barb, wouldn't it be great to be able to join them in that. Of course, just having chickens is the good life I think.

Heather, it's a very peaceful thing to watch. They look like they just belong there, doing just that.

Charlotte, that's the advantage of being able to have a small flock, giving them a good, healthy life. Even the one's destined to be meat can enjoy their lives in relative chicken freedom.

Woolly Bits said...

your chicks are beautiful, esp. the brown ones! they look rather like a dark brown hawk in the one picture - a bit wild!:)) they probably enjoy it as much as the first spring lambs and calves over here in the fields, all jumping about madly!


They look so big in the pics. How long will it before you'll get eggs. I remember the cocks my dad had for fighting but I don't think I ever saw any chickens in the back at least I can't remember every having any.

Sara said...

When my dad was stationed at Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico - he raised chickens to supplement our income...he sold them to the mess hall and the bar behind our house.

I still remember that time in my young life...

Flower said...

The feeder is a great idea! We will see about making one!
Your girls are quite attractive..and the boy is too!
We had a Hawk in the chicken coop this week....a first in 18 years...and not pleasant!! What kind of wild animals do you have around your place? We have raccoons, fox, coyote, and now a Hawk.

Benita said...

The babies are all growing up. They now look like chickens. Don't you love it when a rooster learns how to crow? Reminds me of teenage boys voices when they begin to break.

Razzberry Corner said...

Leigh, your chicks have grown up so fast! And now you've heard one of their first crows - we're you excited when you heard it? I remember when one of my roosters first crowed, I was excited. Soon enough, you'll be getting eggs galore!

Leigh said...

Bettina, those are my favorites too. I love the subtleness of their colors. They usually do look rather ruffled. I'm guess that's part of their growing up.

Deep End, I believe they start to lay around 5 months of age. That means we should start getting eggs in July!

Sara, what a memory. Does that ever make you want to have chickens now?

Flower, the feeder worked out great. There are lots of homemade ones on the internet, but we had the materials for this one on hand.

As far as wild animals go, so far we've only seen deer, hawks, and a groundhog. Actually we haven't seen any hawks since our neighbor cut down his woods. I assume they lived there and have moved farther into the country.

Benita, good analogy! They do rather behave like teenage boys. :)

Lynn, I'm amazed at how fast they've grown. You're right, it is exciting! And I'm loving every minute of it.

Life Looms Large said...

Wow - they've grown up so fast!!! They're beautiful!!