The chicks arrived a week ago. My first opportunity to take pictures came on Friday, when the chicks graduated to being pullets. I had some old kale in the garden that was infested with caterpillars, so I cut and gave it to my pullets as a graduation present. They loved it.
Watching the birds has been a hoot (should I make that a cluck?). I learned, for example, that even hens fly at each other and chest bump. I was most surprised to discover that a little pullet can pick up half a corn cob and run with it some distance. How far we may never know, because the other pullets grabbed hold.
I’ve also been amazed at the behavior of our cats, Tucker and Ms. C. (last picture). I was out of town when the chicks arrived, but Mr. Homestead read both cats the riot act (without shouting, he says), and now I can’t get them to get close enough to take a picture of them together. Of course, yesterday when I had the pullets free-ranging in the garden with just a little chicken wire encircling them, Tucker went into stealth mode, and we had to shut him in the house until we were done with our tractor modifications (removing the chicken wire on the bottom).
We are raising the chickens in a chicken tractor, a moveable coop and run. That way, they have fresh forage every day, to supplement their organic feed, and never sit in their own muck. They get all of the health benefits of free ranging without the danger. We are raising them primarily for eggs, but I keep reminding myself that some day, when their laying days are done, all five are destined for a stew pot. It’s not easy to think that way when they are so adorable, with so much personality. Deep sigh. Did our grandmothers feel this way?