Well, the feather babies are more than one week old now, 10/11 days old to be precise, but I was prevented from blogging sooner due to a small child taking me captive. The Little Fulla, on top of getting a cold, had developed separation anxiety from me at bedtimes. It took me a while to realise that was the main cause of ‘the lost evenings’, but now that I know, we are working through it and steadily reducing the hours it takes to get him to sleep at night, which peaked at four-and-three-quarter hours of in and out and crying. Yikes. Thank goodness feather babies are much less complicated! Well, to me anyway. Frodo might not think so.
The chicks have grown a fair bit, although they still look like pipsqueaks. Their tiny wee wing feathers are coming through, replacing the fluff. I have been trying to figure out how many are black and how many are blue. Despite a lot of peering and squinting, I’m still not sure yet. I think most of them are black, but at least two are blue: Little Spot and The Smoky Chick. I think. One of the others may be blue too. Then again, it could be purple.
The chicks are funny little characters. They are becoming more independent, running around finding things to eat, climbing on things, including Frodo, and taking themselves to the water bell when they’re thirsty. Frodo gets to walk around more now and is very good at alerting them to food sources. Except when the food source is the dirty litter I’m cleaning out of the coop. No! Don’t eat the poop Frodo!
Today, Frodo let the chicks venture out into the wider pen for the first time. Well, the first time that I’ve seen. She quickly discovered the treats bowl and proceeded to feed her babies globs of food from it. That turned into Frodo feeding everyone, as Sam and Legolas hoed in on the takeaways. Only Elrond was left standing a little distance away. I think he was wondering why Frodo had taken his job. He normally feeds Legolas, and Sam if she’ll let him, out of the treats bowl. But I think he was glad to have everyone out and about anyway. They have all been spending more time in the run where Frodo has been keeping her babies.
People keep asking me what I’m going to do with the chicks. I’m still thinking about it. It really depends what they turn out like. I want to start breeding some good quality Australorps for myself and to sell. If I’m going to breed things, I want to do it well. This means research. I like research. And that is a complete understatement. I have been researching about the breed, reading the Australian standards, which are available online, and perusing some forums. I’d like to get, I mean must have, the New Zealand Poultry Standards handbook for myself. I am starting to get an idea of what makes a good Australorp and what to look for in my young’uns, but I may ask around for some advice too. Ideally, I would like to keep two pullets, one black and one blue, for now (I can always get more later) but it really depends what their conformation is like. I will have to keep them all until pullet stage or older to be able to ascertain which ones are the best quality. The hard part is going to be setting emotional attachments aside in order to get good quality chickens. And then there’s the part about the boys. Whilst doing my research, I may have stumbled across some pictures of blue Australorp roosters. Now I’m screwed if one of my chicks is a blue boy, because I want one. Boy, are they pretty! Oh, the problems I have… But in general, the fate of the boys will either be the pot or I will sell them. Time will tell…