Teeny Tiny Tail Tufts

(Mystery Chick shows you her(his?) tail tuft)

Well, it is day four and all is well at Lisa’s Chicken Shack. I am sad to report that the One Sicky Little Chicky did give up the ghost eventually yesterday after a long and hard fight. But, hey – that’s nature. I only wish it hadn’t dragged on so long – that was the most stressful part. That’s all I’ll say about sad stuff – moving on.

Everybody else appears well at this time. I was worried a bit for a while because starting last night and through most of today, they have spent much of their time sleeping. Before then, they only seemed to sleep for short periods and spent most of their time eating, drinking and playing. I tried not to let panic set in because both of our losses so far have started out as overly-sleepy babies. In an attempt to see if this was a bad sign, I resorted to my usual tactic of internet research and found a nice question and answer site called www.feathersite.com. On it, site owner says he gets many questions from concerned amateurs about whether it is bad that chicks are sleeping a lot. He said it’s totally normal – remember, they are babies and need lots of sleep. So, I decided to think of them like human babies in fast-forward. At first, they needed to eat and drink quite often and so would catch frequent, short naps. Now that they’re older, they are more efficient eaters and so can sleep “through the night,” so to speak. This was the most common site for me through last night and much of today:

Since I’ve got this picture up, I’ll mention this: today I read that you are supposed to be able to “color sex” Cuckoo Marans from birth. Apparently usually males are lighter, more silvery with less-defined head spots, while the females are usually closer to true black in color with strongly-defined head spots. This is not always true, but mostly. So, I ask you – can you see a difference between any of them? The above picture has five of my six in it. I guess some are a little lighter than others, but none are really “silvery” and none are really “true black,” are they? I am now a little worried that I have all of one sex. If you go here and scroll down to the second picture from the bottom, it shows you what the difference is supposed to look like. If mine are all females, that would be fine, but I seriously doubt it. If anything, hatcheries would err on the side of giving you more males (though theoretically they didn’t sex them at all and so they wouldn’t be able to choose). I really want at least one female so I can have chocolate-colored eggs! Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Anyway, they are still growing like weeds and today’s themes are tailfeathers and better pictures. This morning for the first time, little teeny tufts of tail fluff were visible on some chicky tushies. By this evening, most of them have them. I’m not kidding when I say they change by the hour! By earlier this afternoon, one Marans chick (today I have learned that “Marans” is both the plural AND the singular term)had visible the beginnings of two real tailfeathers. By this evening, another Marans plus the Cool-Looking One (an Amer.) had them too. A few minutes ago I went up for a photoshoot in an attempt to show you some tailfeathers and I definitely scored some of my best pics so far. I have been using the flash and it helps a TON. I really hope it’s not giving them brain damage or something else equally horrible. They don’t seem to mind as far as I can tell.

(Marans chick with visible tailfeathers, rather than just fluff… if you click on the image for the larger version, you should be able to see them)

(A Buff Orpington and Mystery Chick have some dinner with newly-visible tail tufts)

(the Buff Ameraucana hams it up for the camera and shows off her long, light wingfeathers and a hint of a tail tuft)

(a little love between sisters, Owl (top), and Big Scary One, who is turning out to be not so scary…)

(Hello, Gorgeous! Cool-Looking One, our darkest Ameraucana, is pretty for the camera, showing us her lovely, developing wingfeathers and a prominent tail tuft)

(finally a good, clear picture of a Marans’ comb)


One thought on “Teeny Tiny Tail Tufts

  1. I’m sitting here with one of my first ever chicks, really enjoying your blog.

    Your doing a great job with it!

    Lovely pictures!!!

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