Remember these fuzzy babies, the Buff and Welsummer chicks we hatched about 11 weeks ago? They don't look like that anymore. Say hello to our teenagers.
The Welsummers are a new breed for us, and it has been so interesting to see the differences between their growth and behaviour and that of the Buffs and Australorps. They're quite a bit smaller, for one thing, and are maturing much faster. The cockerels, who started crowing at about 9 weeks, are showing some spectacular colours...
...and even the pullets' more subtle colouring is just beautiful.
There's nothing like a new breed to show you all the ways in which you have been taking your old breeds for granted. Buffs and Australorps, being as big as they are, are not flyers. Sure, they'll flap their wings to soften a landing as they jump down from the roost, or to give some acceleration as they run, but they never fly. The Welsummers, on the other hand, have taught us all about verticality. Boop-booping is a whole different business with them: it's not enough to usher them along with a boop-boop stick, you have to factor in the likelihood that they will fly right over the stick, you, and anything else in the way.
Postscript: The Welsummers have matured into a much more dignified adulthood! They have lots of personality, curiosity and energy, are great talkers, have been consistently good layers, and the verticality issue is not a problem any longer. And they can boop boop like the best of 'em!
The baby Buffs, on the other hand, now that the feather picking issue has resolved itself, are a more predictable bunch. Kim has been away the last few days so I've been on Chicken Management duty, and I've appreciated their willingness to come, predictably, thankfully, back into their enclosures at the end of the day. No chasing them around the bushes, no fishing them off the rafters of the coop, no wings beating in my face.
Thank you, baby Buffs. What good chickie-chickies.