The chickens have now been out of the egg for about ten days. Whenever we open the lid of their box they jump up and start flapping their little wings, unless it's late afternoon, when they are settled down on their newspaper bed like one big fluffy pillow. Here they are when they were first put into their box after being in the incubator. Some of them are moving faster than others: for example the really blurry yellow one in the bottom left hand corner.
We have since bought them a proper water dispenser so they don't have to walk into the bowl to drink.
Abel came round the other day and showed us how to tell male from female - the woman - as he said. At first it seemed a very imprecise science, though there are things you can look for in the way their feathers develop, when they are very little, and then in their little vent, so you have to hold them upside down and massage them a little. I could kind of see what he meant, but am not giving up my day job yet.
Mother Nature has excelled herself, apparently, producing eight female and seven male chicks, evenly — though confusingly — distributed between dark and light colours.
One of Joel's friends came round on Tuesday, and they spent a good hour just sitting and cuddling the chickens. And Jane from the chook group is coming tomorrow to bring her son to admire them. The more we handle and pet them the better. One of them hopped up on my hand a moment ago, and that was cute. They are rapidly getting too big for this box, though they are far too small to go up to Ceres, so Paul is converting the lower floor of Joel's treehouse (don't ask) for lodgings. But today it's raining steadily, and in any case he is still recovering from being bitten by mosquitoes or spiders the other day.
The chook group is losing Kelly, but before she left for her Very Big Job in Canberra, she spent an afternoon with the chickens up at Ceres, and took these terrific photos.
|One of the proud fathers.|
|"Peck hem up right as they grow and ete hem in."|
|Another proud father with a group of proud mothers.|
|This is what free range really looks like: chickens with room to run around under the fruit trees.|
|End of a long day in front of the camera.|