Thursday, 7 May 2009

Chick progress

Photos: 19 days old. The chicks have reached the scruffy stage, as far as appearance goes.They have lost their fluffy chick cuteness and have yet to develop their smart adult plumage. They often remind me of miniature vultures.

It has been two days since I have mentioned the chicks !! not obsessed, honest, just fascinated. I have only reared chicks using a broody before so being able to watch their daily development is a privilege.They will be three weeks at the weekend and are growing strong.Today I raised the heat lamp for the second time, the next stage I think will be turning it off for a couple of hours during the day. They are feathering up well and if the weather stays fine at four weeks I might try putting them outside for a short time each day.The order in which their feathers have developed is interesting, I presume it is the same order for all young birds.Within a day or two of hatching their wing feathers started to emerge.Then fluffy little tails which slowly grew into more noticeable feathers, next the shoulder feathers, then either side of the upper breast and, at the stage they are now, the back feathers are just beginning to show.
The Speckled Sussex are feathering up at a slightly slower pace than the Welsummer and their shoulder feathers make them both look as if though they are wearing 'angel wings'.
We have had to put wire netting over the top of the brooder as they are like miniature harrier jump jets, capable of a vertical take off from standstill.They do spend much of the time now, scratching around, attempting to fly and squabbling between themselves.I have offered them chopped lettuce and goose grass, as suggested by various 'how to' books but they have shown little interest so far.They do love jumping to try and catch the dandelion seeds that fly in when the garage door is open, however.

Photo:Above Speckled Sussex 19 days.
Below Welsummer

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