The chicks were one day old when we brought them home last Friday, making them one week old today. Its amazing how they’ve changed in such a short time!
Here’s what I’ve learned in my one week as a chicken owner:
1. Chicks are very possessive of their valuables. When a dried petal dropped in their pen, one of the chicks immediately snatched it up and took off with some impressive evasive action. Instantly that rose petal (which was too big for any of them to swallow, I might add) became the thing of value thing too every chick and there was an absolute frenzy in the pen as they dove, trampled, bounced their way through a huge game of keep-away.
2. Like most little ones, I suppose, chicks are surprisingly brave, and fortunately, resilient. For all the intensity of the flapping, their little wings don’t actually accomplish much. But that doesn’t seem to bother them. No matter how high they are in hand or on roost, they will confidently creep toward the edge, look down, and jump, flapping all the way and bouncing ungracefully as they land.
3. The downy look doesn’t last long. The fluffy feathers that make them such cute little puffballs are already being replaced by fullgrown chicken feathers. Its amazing to see the beautifully layered wings and tail feathers that seem to be sprouting out of nowhere.
4. They like to cuddle. My mom tells a traumatic story of her little brother bringing his favorite banty hen to a backyard camp-out. Although to an eight year old snuggling with a warm cuddly chicken may seem like a great idea, the hen met a sad end during the night at the bottom of his sleeping bag. We too are trying to raise friendly hens (though not to be used as sleeping-bag buddies), which means we’re trying to get them very comfortable with us. One in particular naps in my hand as I sit at the computer or run around the house; I imagine protecting such a fragile little body to be an important task.
5. They are born knowing a whole lot. The chicks were likely hatched in a big egg incubator, shipped off to the feed store at one day old, and have never even seen a full grown chicken. Yet they know how to scratch and peck at the ground for food, that their wings work for flying (well, sort of), and that things they find on the ground (like rose petals) should be snatched up quickly and eaten.
So far, one week into it, Hubbs and I both agree that chicks were a really good decision.