Chicks up close

In my previous post about chicks, I introduced my new chicks: brown leghorn, australorp, auracana/ameraucana/americana/easter egg’er, and the one mystery chick. At just 1.5 weeks old, they have been growing by leaps and bounds — they’ve started jumping up on the lowest rung of the ladder their heat lamp is suspended from, they devoured the amaranth leaves I threw in this morning, every few days I raise their feeder and waterers, and every day they are a bit more feather and less fluff.

Here is an Ameraucana, big and fluffy! They will lay light blue-green eggs

Check out the brown leghorn’s feet! Such a tiny bird and such big dinosaur-ish feet:

And the Australorp, at its first look at the biiiiiig world outside the brooder:

The mystery chick remains a mystery. It runs so fast the only picture I can get is this:

And here is the box they came in

As I might have mentioned before, many chicken breeds other than the few that are standards of commercial production, have become much rarer in the last few decades. Some have been pushed to a threatened or rare status, and many more are on a “watch list.” This includes what used to be farm and homestead standards, including great dual-purpose breeds that are good providers of both meat and eggs. With commercial specialization which favors breeding which takes varieties to the extremes of meat OR egg production, and specialization of farms in general, the dual-purpose birds became rare. Specialization also means that the roosters of egg-laying breeds are useless, and may even be killed immediately instead of being raised for meat.

Increasingly, people are becoming interested in reintegrating chickens into small farm and garden ecosystems. This allows exploration of amazing variety of chickens out there, as well as a healthier farm, and healthier, and I think happier, chickens!

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