Just shy of a week old, the girls took a field trip this weekend into the backyard to experience outdoor life, get exposure to some of the microflora that would surround them once they move into the coop and soak up the 70 degree sunshine like the rest of the family.
I made a makeshift pen with chicken wire and stakes and brought the screen along to cover it. As you can imagine, there was a lot of peeping along the way as I carried them in a big box to destinations unknown.
When I placed them onto the grass they just stood there looking up at me for a few moments before one brave soul decided to explore. It always takes one leader to get this crew going and once a step has been taken, the others follow suit. It was similar with the introduction of worms to their diet as well.
I began with dried mealworms on Wednesday. They scattered when I dropped the mealworms onto the floor and then one after another apprehensively approached them, pecking at them, sampling and deciding that they were quite tasty.
I added real worms the next day and that’s where the real fun began. This time the food I offered moved! Heads tilted to the sides from where they backed up to consider this offering. Again, one hen decided to investigate further, pecked and ate one. Before I knew it, it became a feeding frenzy and they chased each other around for the exact worm a sister carried, no mind to the many remaining on the floor. There were even tug of war battles over worms which ended in both chicks flying backward when the worms snapped.
Outdoor life pleased my girls. They inherently know to scratch and peck and the Columbian Wyandotte tried to dust bathe. My children graciously dug up worms nearby and deposited them into the makeshift pen for them to discover. Dandelions and wild violets captured their attention, but no more than dried leaves perceived as a delicacy not to be shared, eliciting squawks and high speed chases that resulted in disappointing realizations that the clovers and grasses tasted fresher and better than the prized dried leaves. Yet the chase was fun.
They enjoyed the short outings and like toddlers, when returning home after a big day, they crashed out within minutes to recuperate. When I collected them yesterday for the same field trip, there was less peeping on the walk and they immediately got to work, occasionally stopping to listen to nearby birds calling to one another, heads stretched up and tilting to carefully listen to the exchanges.
Feathers on wings started to grow within days and the plumage is like a work of art with multiple colors and designs, hinting at the beautiful hens they will become. Tail feathers are coming in as well.
They are comfortable with us and they know my voice now, gravitating towards it. I noticed on both days outside that they come to the side of the pen where I am talking, comfortable with my voice and surely hoping to secure a new culinary delight.
They are one week old today and it has been delightful watching them and learning their ways. My son cannot get enough of them, talking to them like little children, sitting in a chair next to them to complete homework and wishing them goodbye each time he leaves, warmly greeting them upon return. My daughter has assumed role of worm digging, bringing them treasures daily, never complaining about the dirt or worms wiggling in her hands, just happy to provide for the girls. Names have been assigned and the coop is progressing nicely.