Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Meet the Girls

The girls are all named and getting so big so quick, well except the Silkies. They don't seem to have grown much at all! I love hearing them peep, chirp, and trill in the bathroom. You can really tell when they are content and when they are all wired up just by the different tones in chirps. The Silkies tend to give off a purr when they are happy, Martha (the Americauna) makes little cooing noises, and the others peep really soft.

 Tallula (back) and Lucy

Tallula (the Barred Plymouth Rock) is our adventure seeker and courageous one. She is always first to fly up and perch on the edge of the brooder bin as soon as I take the lid off. She is our "Professional Percher". She has the funniest looks, cocking her head back and forth. She is by far the most curious and calm of the bunch. She will sit on her haunches up on my shoulder and just look around, happy to be high in the air. She is extremely independent and sometimes I can almost imagine her rolling her eyes at the strutting and goings-on of Buffy and Mildred. I have to admit, Tallula is probably my favorite though they are all pretty darn cool. 

Lucy (Black Australorp) is our pro bug eater. If something moves, she is the first to sneak up and get it. I put a moth in the cage for them. She grabbed it and ran, dodging and weaving between the girls who were chasing after her to get the tasty morsel from her beak. She is also calm natured and quiet. Her personality is still emerging and for right now is pretty reserved. She isn't a big talker but just walks around taking it all in. 

Mildred, Buffy, Martha

Mildred (Light Brahma) and Buffy (Buff Orpington) are our two "head" females. They are the biggest girls of the bunch and seem to posture a lot at each other as if they are sizing each other up in competition to be the head honcho. Time will tell who will be the flock leader, but I have a feeling Buffy will win out.  I hoping she won't turn out a "he"...

Mildred is dominant but not too bossy. She is still trying to master flying and will occasionally step all over the other chickens or push them out of the way. Her personality is also still emerging. Mildred was the name of my Great Grandmother who was an extremely strong female. I thought the name pretty appropriate.

Buffy is borderline bossy. She doesn't mind me picking her up or petting her. Once she is in my hands she settles on her haunches and chills out, but when she is with the pack she attempts to display her dominance. She will launch herself at the other chickens (mostly Martha and Mildred) and do a chest-bump in the air with her wings flapping out. Sometimes even doing a little "chicken hop dance" in front of them. It is funny to watch. She has lost a lot of her downy fluff and is starting to look like an adult chicken with a lot of thick feathers. 

Martha (Americauna or Easter Egger) is mild mannered, most likely third in command, and very curious. While I am cleaning out their food or water dish she will sit back, cock her head, and just watch me intently. I think she is trying to size everything up. She's a little bit of a follower to Mildred and Buffy. She also likes to perch and is second to fly up out of the bin. Her green feet are neat to look at. I wanted to name her Hilda Mae but Cowboy wanted to name her Martha so I relented...

Yesterday, Cowboy built an outdoor run for them so they can be slowly introduced to the outside to peck and scratch in limited doses. They are still young and learning to adjust their body temperature to the outdoors. The Silkies still need about 80 degree temps since they are a week younger than the other girls, who can stand down to 75 degrees. It was about 80 degrees outside today, so we put the run in the sun, provided water and some shade, and introduced the girls to the outdoors for their first time! 

They didn't quite know what to do and, at first, flopped on their sides and almost appeared to play dead. It frightened me a little bit but if you poked at them they jumped up and started walking around. We watched them closely to make sure they adapted and weren't too chilled or shocked. I climbed into the cage with them and they flocked to me like I was the Mamma Hen. The Silkies panted a bunch until I showed them where the water was and put them in the shade for a rest. To get them going, Cowboy sprinkled some food crumbles in the grass and soon they all were pecking and scratching around the dirt, catching bugs, eating dandelions, and perching. It was awesome to watch!

Their frightened chitter chatter gradually turned into their soft peeping and cooing of contentment. 

 Cowboy did an awesome job on building the run. Since we won't put them in the run unless we are home, a screened bottom wasn't necessary. We have some serious predators here in Colorado, so the top needed to be screened for hawks and big birds. We might add another higher perch, a small piece of tarp for shade, and some wheels to one side since it's pretty heavy. He also put hooks on the top for the food and water containers for mobility. This way we can move them around the yard and allow them to free-range in safety.

 Mildred and Hilda Mae...I mean Martha 

 The girls Left to Right: Martha, Lucy, Penny (Partridge Silkie), Buffy, Mildred, Agnes, Tallula


Agnes is our Blue Silkie. She is bold and talkative. Both her and Penny chat in a soft trilling tone constantly, even when they sleep. It's a very pleasant and soothing sound. Penny is probably the lowest on the totem pole right now. She doesn't get pecked at, but she tends to always be a little underfoot. She isn't as bold as Agnes, who will push her way to food and water, as well as try to burrow herself under the other girls' breasts as they sleep. Agnes is small but mighty. 

 Tallula- the professional percher


 Penny almost disappears in the tall grass

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