Lady Banks Goes to Town

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Never to disappoint, first thing yesterday morning, Lady B decided to expand upon her flying, climbing, and exploring skills.  Of course, for that visit, I didn’t have my camera (noticing a trend?), but she went up on the baby perch, then onto the lowest ramp.  After hanging out there for a bit, she went to the highest end of it and eyed the nesting boxes.  Soon afterward, she jumped onto the perch bar in front of the nesting boxes and proceeded to walk all along it, back and forth, glancing in each box and looking down at her friends below.  After a long pause, she then flew off of the perch bar and landed quarely in the middle of a group of chicks, sending them squealing in every direction.  Ah, good times.  Quite satisfied with herself, she almost immediately went back up onto the bottom ramp and started eyeing the next ramp up, and before I knew it, she was up there!  From there, she walked to the highest end of the second ramp and started looking out the open door into the rest of our shed.  You can see the proximity of the open door in the above picture.  I shooed her away and closed the door so she wouldn’t get any funny ideas.  I know that look by now.

Anyway, luckily, this morning she repeated everything for me except a trip to the nesting box perch bar, so I got some good pictures for you.  When I came into the shed this morning, they were all hanging out under the lights.  When they saw me, several ran over to the door to greet me and I went to get a scoop of feed to fill my ramekin so I could continue my work on conning them into being my friends.  When I looked up from the bucket of feed, there was Lady Banks, all the way up on the second ramp again!  I opened the door to come into their coop area and she immediately started eyeing the open door again.

I opened the door and there she was.

I opened the door and there she was.

"What's out there?"

"What's out there?"

"Hmmm... could I make the jump?"

"Hmmm... could I make the jump?"

"Pleeeeease, can I go out there?"

"It's not too far down..."

As you can imgagine, I got the pics and then came in and quickly closed the door behind me.  It’s only a matter of time before she tries it.
Wormies
Anyway, she then hopped down for the worms I brought and I am proud to say I finally got a couple of decent worm shots.
Mmmm, fresh worms!

Mmmm, fresh worms!

The Orpingtons are always first to grab worms and run with them.  The Marans immediately run over to look at them and make cautionary chirpping noises, which I figure means – “look out, those things could be dangerous!” – then they eye them and peck at them and drop them before finally decided to run off with one.  Usually the same few will get the worms and then the others will come to look for them after they’re all gone.  I always tell them the early bird gets the worm, but they never seem to listen!  Typical children :)
So, today, Mystery Chick somehow got a hold of one at some point (after someone else dropped it, no doubt) and ran off into the corner to eat it in peace.  Of course, as they all do, he/she dropped it and looked at it before trying to eat it.
Mystery Chick with a worm

Mystery Chick with a worm

And, as is to be expected, while Mystery Chick was staring at his/her prize on the ground, it was almost stolen.
"No!!  I'ts MY worm!"

"No!! I'ts MY worm!"

After that bit of inspiration, she/he ate it quickly so that wouldn’t happen again.  They do learn… slowly.
Making Friends
Giant Marans chick on my knee

Giant Marans chick on my knee

I have now gotten some of them to hop onto my lap.  They are, by nature, curious little buggers, and if I sit with them long enough, they always come over to check me out and to peck at my jeans and shoes, etc.  That big sucker on my knee in the picture is our biggest chick and I’m really starting suspect that he’s a boy.  He’s huge, has a lot of white in his feathers, has the longest tail of anyone, and is generally a pain in the you-know-what.  He wants to be invloved in everything and kinda likes to pick on everyone, but he’s also kind of skittish.  He thought about jumping onto my lap for a long time before actually doing it, and it took a sprinkle of feed on my jeans to get him to finally do it.  But, if I move my hand toward him, he takes off like a shot.  Also, yesterday, he was being really mean to another chick (I know this is natural, but I couldn’t help myself) and I pointed at him and told him to knock it off in a stern voice.  Everyone else ran away in fear, but he turned to face me and held his ground like a big tough guy, even while I continued to poke my finger toward him and tell him that he’s not so tough.  He begged to differ until I actually tried to touch him.
Other chicky friends also hopped up onto my lap for a little snack and even a TINY bit of petting.  Right now the lap-hoppers are mostly Marans plus one particular Buff Orpington and, of course, Lady B, who is my most regular visitor.
Other Marans on my lap

Other Marans on my lap

This is my Marans firend who is the most pettable of all the chicks

This is my Marans firend who is the most pettable of all the chicks

Same chick again

Same chick again

Buff Orpington chick takes a turn on the lap

Buff Orpington chick takes a turn on the lap

She has a snack on my knee

She has a snack on my knee

This is the one Orpington that likes my lap, and she was actually the first on it out of everyone.  Last night, I was sitting with them, and she came over and starting chirping at me and looking up at me and then hopped up.  She let me pet her a teeny bit and hopped up and down a bunch of times over probably 30 minutes.  No food to entice her – she just wanted to check me out.
And, while Lady Banks was not the first chick up on my lap, she is up there more than everyone else combined.
Lady B on my knee

Lady B on my knee

Moving On Up
After all the food, lap, and worm fun, Lady B headed back up to the ramps, and this time, she brought friends!  I looked up and first it was just her.
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Then there were two…
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Then there were three!
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They love looking around while on the perch and considering all their options… where to fly or jump next, and as always… how to get out the door into the other half of the room!
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"You're right... that open door IS interesting..."

"You're right... that open door IS interesting..."

So many options!

So many options!

I have decided to name the buff/white Ameraucana that is looking up in the previous picture, Daisy Mae.  I think she’s kind of daisy-colored and it is sort of in keeping with the flower name theme.  Two names down, thirteen to go.

After the other two got down, Daisy Mae decided to follow in Lady Banks’ footsteps and take a trip to the nesting boxes.

Daisy Mae on the perch bar in front of the nesting boxes.

Daisy Mae on the perch bar in front of the nesting boxes.

Daisy Mae takes a stroll along the perch bar.

Daisy Mae takes a stroll along the perch bar.

Growth

I am very excited to report that my Buff Orpingtons are starting to take on the full, fluffy forms that the adults are supposed to have.  I love the look of big, full-bodied, full-feathered chickens, which is one of the attractive points of the Orpingtons to me.  To the right is the picture (drawing) from the McMurray website.  I have seen plenty of pictures of Orpingtons that don’t seem to be the true fulffballs I have pictured, which is disappointing to me.  So, it is exciting to me that mine seem to be headed down that road.

Orpington fluffball

Orpington fluffball

Particularly note that they are getting thick, fluffy leg feathers – those are the best part!

leg fluff!

leg fluff!

In other news, some of the Marans continue to have almost no tails and limited feather growth in general, while others are the leaders of the pack with long, full tails and almost fully-feathered bodies.  Size does not seem to be relevant, as we have big ones with lots of feathers and with very little, and same with small.

Almost no tail and only tiny wing feathers.

Almost no tail and only tiny wing feathers.

long tail, almost fully-feathered body

long tail, almost fully-feathered body

And I finally got a good pic of Daisy Mae’s pretty tail, all fanned out.

Daisy Mae and her pretty tail

Daisy Mae and her pretty tail

Let the Names Begin!

Ok, technically, they began yesterday with Lady Banks… but I didn’t think of the clever heading title until today, so just go with it :)  In our most recent naming news, Brian has decided we should name one of our two Ameraucana ladies who love eyeliner, Amy Winehouse.  However, we haven’t decided which one yet.  Also, I still have a heck of a time telling the two of them apart.  This picture shows you that they are starting to differ – one is redder, and the other is more golden.

Which one is Amy?

Which one is Amy?

Non-Chicken Stuff

OK, I know this is supposed to be a chicken-only blog, but I haven’t started my intended garden blog yet, and Brian’s mom wants to see pictures of Brian, so here we stand.

Today, it turns out that Brian is related to the incredible hulk, and while trying to dig up the roots of an ugly tree we are removing from our front yard, he actually broke the handle of our shovel!

Sad Brian

Sad Brian

"OMG!  What did I do?"

"OMG! What did I do?"

Brian is a big, mean, strong guy!

Brian is a big, mean, strong guy!

Chickie Group Shots

This is a long post, but I’ll leave you with these.

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Lady B is everywhere!

Lady B is everywhere!

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