Well, here we are. It has been two weeks and the Brunswick Mineral Springs baby chicks -- all twelve -- are alive and doing well.
It has been quite interesting, taking on the role of chicken-mommy. I have their brooding set-up near my room, so as I am drifting off to sleep I can hear the soft and contented peeping sounds. It's rather soothing. It makes me happy.
I have started to add new things to their diet: Chopped carrots, broccoli, celery leaves and cabbage. They love chopped carrots. The Broccoli? Not so much.
For their amusement, I added a non-glass mirror and they clustered in front of it immediately to admire their own reflections. Place a mirror in a room full of girls and they all flock to it. Imagine that.
I also added a bent branch to introduce them to the idea of balancing on the roosting branches I will add to their coop. They seem to enjoy standing on it and looking at their living space from a higher angle.
Having made it through their first week, and into week two, I can now raise the heat lamp to lower the temperature inside the brooding pen to 80 degrees. Eventually, with the temperature averaging to about 75 degrees in their pen, the outdoor temperature should be nearing the same. Once they are fully feathered, we will be able to bring them outside.
One thing is for sure. I am having to clean their droppings from the bedding of pine shavings a LOT more often.
As for their appearance, there have been a lot of changes.
The first photo above was what Rita (as in Hayworth) looked like two weeks week ago. She is a Rhode Island Red. Back then, she was only two days old and covered primarily with fluffy down with only a few hints of feathers on her tiny wings. The second photo is what she looked like last week. As you can see, she sprouted some beautiful wing feathers and tail feathers.
Today, her wing feathers are more developed and her tail feathers are much longer. On her head, growing near her beak, you can see her comb is starting to grow. The circular thing you see near her eye is actually her ear.
Marilyn (yes, as in Monroe), is an Amberlink. She is the largest of the twelve chicks and one of the most affectionate. While she will scatter with her sisters when I reach into their brooding pen, she calms quickly in my hands and can be easily coaxed to sleep with some gentle rubbings. She will even let me turn her over onto her back in the palm of my hands, a sign (so, I have read) that indicates trust.
Marilyn has what I call "Angel Wings." They are brilliant, almost iridescent white and she seems quite fond of them. The photo here was taken last weeks. She still had quite a bit of fluff. At two weeks old, she is sporting quite the spray of tail feathers! She really is becoming a beautiful little girl.
Mary Pickford, while still the smallest of the bunch, is starting to change colors more than her sister Golden Laced Wyandottes. Two weeks ago she was dark gray fluff. Last week she began sprouting lighter colored feathers, especially on her face. Today, she looks pretty much the same, only bigger and sassier. She still rules the proverbial roost. Her favorite past-time is standing on top of the roosting branch while her sisters are napping and jumping into the middle of them to send them squawking and flapping all over the brooding pen. Then she nestles down for a nap of her own.
Thankfully, all twelve seem to get along very well. Even the Golden Laced Wyandottes, traditionally known as the proverbial "birds of a feather" who prefer to "flock together" rather than to inter-mingle with other breeds, have no problem cuddling and interacting with the others. I hope it stays this way.
There really isn't much else to share for now, other than the fact that I am having such a wonderful time caring for and nurturing these little ladies. They have been a delightful addition to the family here at Brunswick Mineral Springs Bed and Breakfast.
Next week, dad and I will start building their coop. Of course, it will be more on the lines of a condo, with multiple floors, rooms and many fabulous amenities, which other chickens will surely envy.
Check back next week for another update!