homeschooling / homesteading

homestead: chick princesses

Well I hope all six of them are princesses anyway. I am willing to call a rooster or two George and Louis, but I am unwilling to call one Archie. And sadly, no rooster may stay, and I’m pretty sure it’s not a myth that roosters don’t make great soup, so not sure what we’ll do.

The baby fluffs arrived two Wednesdays ago. A large cardboard box that connects at the top like a McDonald’s Happy Meal and six tiny puffs chirping madly inside.

Two Buff Orpingtons. These are a most interesting chicken colour, unlike others I recognize. Ours, Lady Diana & Sarah, Duchess of Sussex (Fergie, because she has a red dot on her beak), were your classic little yellow puffballs when they arrived.

Two Black Australorps. These Australian-originated chickens are dual-purpose, friendly and non-aggressive roosters (great! because we’re pretty sure we have a rooster, he stands so tall). Let’s hope Princess Charlotte of Cambridge and Princess Anne don’t need to be renamed Prince George and Prince Louis.

Two Barred Rocks. I already have one barred rock hen. She’s aloof enough, friendly enough, confident enough, that I thought I’d like a couple more. And their stripes are so pretty. So pretty, in fact, that the barred rock is on our house sign, and these chickens are named after the Queen and her departed sister, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.

Baby Chick home. I’ll prep a giant plastic tote with paper towels (then pine shavings later), put baby chick feed in the rectangular feeder, put a glass canning jar into a red plastic round, and a light mounted at the side of the basket before I tuck them under the homeschool desk.

They’ll have that cozy abode for about a month.

Introducing them to their older hen friends. Until I get impatient to see them dance around the green lawn, introduce them to their older counterparts, the Cluckingham Palace ladies: Marie Antoinette, Mary Queen of Scots, Lady Alice, Anne Boleyn, Jane Boleyn, Margot Pole, Lady Jane Gray, Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, and we cannot forget King Henry the 8th.

I’ll let them enjoy the orchard clover as I move them to and fro in their pre-owned ‘rabbit hutch’.

Roost required already. Already one flew out of the plastic tote, pooping on my homestead book, hilariously. Since they are in the same room as the crokinole table, my son and I decided we needed a lucky chicken to win. Each of us chose a chick, balanced it on a finger for its roost and played. You know the Lucky Chicken game, right?

The great outdoors. I’d like to introduce them to the great outdoors, so maybe I’ll sneak them out in the heat of the afternoon. Might be the most adorable thing ever: baby chicks introduced to grass.

When are baby chicks the right age to introduce to the great outdoors? That depends. But based on the pics, we did it before two weeks old. They were thrilled to find ants to eat.

No matter the animal, we humans enjoy babies of all sorts, especially hip-splayed, toddling fluffball baby birds.

In the Brooder

Little Chickie warm and snug,
scratched the dirt, and ate a bug,
fluffed her feathers, settled close,
watched by mama, who loves her most.

Each morning, they go outside,
sometimes Chickie takes a ride,
up on mama’s warm broad back,
far from things that bark or quack.

Eating worms, and pecking seeds,
momma clucks, and Chickie heeds.
Little Chickie, warm and fed,
Goes back home and goes to bed.

-Lise Carter

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