From Fluff to Feathers

Apr 10, 2012 | 2 comments

Five Days Old

     Each day we try to spend a few minutes of “quality time” with our baby chicks.  We pick up each one, pet it gently and talk to it softly.  They peep back and look at us either fearfully or curiously – it’s hard to tell with chicks.
     Our chatter to them comes under the category of ‘inane’ and I truly hope that they only understand the tone, not the words.  I say things like, “You’re a little girl, aren’t you?  You’re going to grow up to be a good egg-layer.” Or, “If you turn out to be a rooster, you have to be a gentle rooster.  Mean boys go in the stew pot.”
     Their wriggling and futile attempts to get out of my clutches diminish each day.  We are bonding… or so I tell myself.  In the past, it has worked well with some of our chicks, but not all.  Apparently certain breeds feel more strongly than others that humans should know their place.  They make it clear from the get-go that they are not interested in being buddies.
     Nevertheless, we persevere.  And day-by-day we marvel at the outward changes that occur virtually overnight.  The first day or two, these were round balls of fluff.  Now, at day five, their wing feathers are coming in nicely and I expect tails to appear at any moment.
     Five weeks from now these little balls of winged fluff will be completely feathered out but it won’t be until they are three of four months old that any tell-tale cock-a-doodle-doos begin.  Some people swear by earlier signs – bigger combs and wattles or shinier feathers among the guys – but I’m not so good at discerning those subtleties.
     So… for the time-being, I’m a believer in the power of suggestion.  “Such a nice little girl” is my mantra.  Never mind logic and the laws of nature…   

2 Comments

  1. Sandy

    I thought you weren’t supposed to handle the chicks. Suppose that was something parents told kids back in the old days. Can’t remember whether it was to protect the chicks from us or quite what.
    Good luck and may you have figured out how to protect them from whatever ate the last ones.

    Reply
    • sydney

      Something we read said to handle them as much as possible to get them used to humans and so they’ll come when called etc. But we are careful to wash our hands afterwards. I don’t know how little kids would do with them. They’re pretty squirmy and the natural reaction is to squeeze tighter… So, I think you are right. The ‘rule’ was probably to protect both kids and chicks.

      Reply

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