That’s right, I said it. The bigger the better – bring it on! One of my main motivations for getting Opringtons was that when they are true to their breed standard, they are big fluffball chickens. I have to admit, I didn’t know quite what to expect when ordering chicks from a big hatchery, since they don’t breed for show-quality… but I am happy to say, they are fluffing out excellently. I couldn’t resist getting a shot of the fluff butt in the above pic. So cute!
Oh, how lovely and fluffy they are!
I have to apologize to my poor little chickies for something I said a couple of weeks ago. I showed a pic of some little bare spots on a Buff Orpington and I said that it was the beginning of the end – that it was going to be a downhill slide into un-cuteness from there on out. This was very reasonable for me to say as they can really, honestly get pretty darn ugly in the transition from babyhood to adulthood. However, mine have not yet hit that stage and here we are 2 weeks later. In my humble opinion, they are all still quite cute, actually. Granted, they aren’t the little fuzzballs they were when they first arrived, but they are far from award and ugly. So, I apologize, chickies. I did not mean to hurt your feelings. None of this is to say that the stage is not coming – it’s just not here yet.
A Head Above the Rest
Anyway, point is – they are still growing and changing every day. Most of the changes I have been noticing recently have been in the head area. The most obvious one is the begnning of head feathers on some.
Also noticeable, but apparently not photographable, is the changing of some combs from yellow to pink. Coincidentally, in my neverending search for ways to sex my Marans, I read just yesterday that cockerels’ combs turn pink much earlier than pullets’. So, as I tend to do, I went out to the coop and stared at their combs. They were all yellow. All six. When I asked how early they are supposed to change to pink, I got answers like “8 days” and “two weeks.” Not much help there. I have definitely come to the conclusion that people basically have no clue how to sex chickens until they crow or lay. I have gotten so much conflicting advice that it’s making my head spin. All that said, when I went out for my chicky check this morning, I saw the definite beginnings of some pink in the comb areas of some. Hey, maybe we’re onto something here… (I tried my darndest to get pics, but the little buggers won’t hold still and the light sucks in there)
JB (Johnny Bravo) has the pink, too, but he’s a giant pain in my rear and won’t hold still so this is my best shot:
As a happy accident, I captured another comb at the bottom of that shot, and it doesn’t seem to have any pink. I WANT A GIRL SO BADLY. I hope I have one…
Another pink comb:
In case you’re counting, they are four weeks old today or yesterday.
Ha HA!! See????? I DID IT! SHE LIKES ME, she REALLY likes me! Yes, that’s right, since that fateful morning, Lady B has come back for more lovin’. She now follows me around when I walk, hops on the doorstep to see me when I open the door, and hops on my lap and my arm and shoulder all the time, and lets me pet her to my heart’s content. I win.
Forgive my looking like a hobo – they are perkiest when I first wake up in the morning, and since they’ve gotten friendlier, I also tend to get pooped on frequently. All this adds up to this pic – I rolled out of bed, and before my shower, without brushing my hair, I tossed on dirty clothes and dragged Brian out to take some documentary photographs of my blossoming relationship with Lady Banks. Sadly, this was the best one, and yes, that’s poop on my right sleeve. Anyway, that was yesterday. The top pic I took myself this morning, so it’s not great, but you get the point. Here is one more for good measure.
Our Lightest Chickies
Daisy Mae and Mystery Chick are our lightest-colored chicks by far. Until now, I have been calling Daisy Mae “the buff-colored Ameraucana.” Well, this is not the case. Sure, she started out basically the exact same color as the Buff Orpington chicks, except for two darker buff stripes down her back, but she did not stay the same color. It is clear at this point that she is much lighter than buff. However, she is also not pure white. That’s Mystery Chick. He/she is turning out totally white so far, and it’s wuite a contrast.
It seems that Daisy Mae is turning out to be a blendy color that I think is called, “wheaten,” in the chicken world. As you can see, her feathers are very light, almost white, but some are laced with the dark gold/buff color. I hope she turns out to be wheaten because I think it would be exciting! Click here and here for pics of adult wheaten Ameraucanas – one they seem to call “splash wheaten” and the other is “blue wheaten.” I have no idea what either means, but I think they’re pretty :)
Mystery Chick is offiacially our lightest chick and all of her feathers are coming in pure white at this time. The down she has left is so light yellow it’s almost green. You can see that she’s much lighter than Daisy Mae at this point. It will be fun to see how he/she turns out…
Leaves of Grass
Lastly, I will mention the grass. I skipped over it in my last post, even though I had already given it to them, because they showed no interest. I read online that if it’s too cold or wet or whatever for your chicks to go outside to learn to forage and free range, you can dig up a clump of dirt and grass for them to pay with inside. I did this the other day and they completely ignored it. So, I wrote it off as a failure. But then the next day, I went to see them and only a small piece of dirt with some dried-out old roots was left… and when I sat down with them, they started pulling even that apart and running around with the pieces, trying to eat them. By yesterday morning, it was 100% gone. So, it was a success! It just took them some time to figure it out.
Poor, Ignored Babies
I feel badly because I never talk about our other Ameraucana chicks. They don’t go on adventures, they don’t have stand-out coloring, they aren’t supposed to be boys… so they get left out. But, they are doing really well and I do get some good pics of them now and again because they’re not super shy. There are three others besides Lady B, Daisy Mae, and (maybe) Mystery Chick. There are the twins, one of which will become Amy Winehouse, and there is the lighter-colored one. I call the two potential Amys “twins” because they are pretty much identical still. In the light of the flash, you can see that the one is turning redder, and the other is more gold-ish, but that’s it.
The one notable thing about the really light one (pictures below) is that she is our second biggest chick, after JB. She’s actually huge… but it’s hard for me to get any pics that will give you perspective. Anyway, I am just going to assume that she going to be a big hen. I know that there can be sexing mistakes, but she’s supposed to be a girl, and I really hope she is.
In Other News
While I have been planning to do a separate gardening blog… I’m already having a hard time spending this much extra time at the computer, so it may never happen. In light of this, I’ll just mention my gardening projects.
I have a bunch of seeds started in the windowsill and many of them are now up. I started planting seeds on Valentine’s Day and have done new ones on several evenings since then as well. Here is what I have started so far:
- Plum Lemon
- Cosoluto Genovese
- Cherokee Purple
- Black from Tula
- Sungold cherry
- Pompeii Roma
- Balloon Hot
- Buran Sweet
- Jalapeno Sierra Fuego
- New Mex Joe Parker
- Ancho San Luis
- Red Savina Hot Habanero
- Red & Orange Suave Mild Habanero
- Rosa Bianca
- Asian Bride
- Black Beauty
- April in Paris
- Strawberry Fields (I think bad seed)
- Wedding Blush mix from Botanical Interests
- Moroccan Spice mix from BI
- Cupani’s Original
- Red Italian of Florence scallion/bunching onion
- Green Husk Tomatillos
- Mignonette Alpine Strawberry (people have a hard time germinating these but mine are up – yippee!)
- Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
- DaTaglio Celery (Italian variety grown for its leaves not its stalks)
- Indian Spring Hollyhocks
- Sweet Violets (the fragrant viola oderata, I wanted these so badly, but I think the seed is no good :( )
I have a million other things to plant and they all will be going out into the garden directly as seeds once the weather is good enough. And yes, I do know that the sweet peas could have been planted directly as well, and I will do that for most of them, but I need to prepare the beds and I’m impatient, so I started a few indoors.
Anyway, Brian and I will be finishing up building our raised boxes by next weekend and then I’ll have the soil delivered and we’ll be ready for planting! Hooray! Also, my parents are coming up for a visit next weekend and we’re going to plan out my future rose garden!!