Oh they grow up so fast these days don’t they? One moment they are teeny little bundles, so sweet and unknowing, then next moment they are living in a specially made shed in their own bit of the field.
I’m talking, of course, about chicks. This year we’ve been able to get our birds out onto pasture earlier than ever as we now have a specially fenced ‘chick zone’ that is protected and set up just for them.
When chickens are still small like this, in fact just ‘feathering out’ and losing their baby fluff, they are at risk from the bigger girls who are likely to attack them. So keeping them in sight but not physically accessible is really important. These girls will replace the older members of our laying flock who will move on to new homes and lives on other farms sometime in the fall.
This year we’ve mixed it up a bit, based on our experiences of different chickens that we’ve raised up and bought this year. We’ve got a nice mix of Barred Plymouth Rocks (heritage, very hardy), Rhode Island Reds (another hardy heritage breed) and some Black Sexlinks (a new breed but excellent layers) and they are already enjoying life on the farm. I have to admit I really enjoy the Gulliver like feeling I get when I go from the big girls to the teeny ones, darting about amongst bushes that look like ginormous trees in comparison to these mini chicks. They may be growing bigger each day, and enjoying the life of scratching, eating and exploring that nature designed them for, but right now they are still our teeny, feathery babies.