Our little chicks are in their 5th week of life outside an egg! It has been such a joy to watch Jordy be a mother hen to these two, and to watch the chicks growing and learning about the world around them.
Jordy is the epitome of an overprotective “helicopter mom”. She never lets the chicks get too far from her side, and never lets anyone else get too close. It has been quite a task to get photos of them or to check up on them, because we can hardly get within 10 feet of them before they are led away by cautious mama.
As the days and weeks pass by, mother hen is expanding the area she is comfortable letting the chicks explore. What started out as a small perimeter directly around the nest has grown to about half of the one-acre property. She is doing a great job of showing them the ropes – how to find delicious plants and bugs to eat, how to take a dust bath, where to find the best spot for a nap on a hot afternoon, and when to take cover from danger. She is in constant verbal communication with her chicks, and after watching them for hours, we have noticed different sounding clucks that must have distinct meanings. A “come eat this!” cluck, a “be careful kids!” cluck, and a reassuring “mom’s right here,” cluck for when they wander too far.
She is also starting to bring them around the rest of the flock more and more. Chickens are not welcoming of outsiders, and any new chick or chicken is viewed as an enemy to be eliminated. Sometimes even flock members that have spent time away, perhaps due to illness or injury, have to be reintroduced carefully. Mama Jordy is keeping a safe distance, but the other flock members are able to see and get used to the new additions being out in the yard. Jordy and the chicks are still sleeping in their cozy nest, and have not relocated to the coop just yet.
The chicks are growing like weeds, and at this age their juvenile feathers are really coming in. Based on their feathering right now, our hypothesis is that we have two girls. Of course, we could always be wrong! It’s still a guessing game at this point, and we won’t know for sure until about 16 weeks. We once had a chick we swore was a rooster right up until it laid an egg! Turns out she’s just a bit masculine in her appearance. So time will tell, but for now they are healthy and happy!