It’s true. While they are only five-weeks old, they barely resemble the tiny little day-old chicks that arrived at 1840 Farm on the first Tuesday in May. When they emerged from their cardboard shipping box, they were helpless. As I lowered them into their brooding pen, I had to dip each chick’s beak in fresh water in order to encourage them to drink.
Today, they are far from helpless. They no longer need my direction to find water or food. In fact, they seem to spend most of their time finding shavings, food and grit that they can scratch directly into the waterer. I don’t mind. These chicks won’t be chicks for long, so I plan on enjoying this stage while it lasts. I’ll marvel at how quickly these chicks are becoming adolescents. I’ll find it entertaining to watch as their personalities emerge and their flight feathers do the same.
Already, they are beginning to resemble the grown hens they will become. When that day arrives, it will be difficult for me to remember them as tiny day-old chicks. Fortunately, I’ll have hundreds of photos and videos to remember them by.
Day one was filled with the excitement that accompanies a batch of baby chicks. Everything about that first day was memorable, from the phone call that announced their arrival at the local post office to the moment that we first saw them in their shipping box. Watching them as they took their first tentative steps was a moment that the entire family took part in.
On their second day here at 1840 Farm, they had already become bold enough to climb on top of their brooder. Our Welsummer chick was the first to make this discovery. She’s been running this flock of chicks ever since.
While she took her position at the top of the brooder, the other chicks looked to find their own way. They explored the brooding pen and their own avian abilities. It was amazing to watch as they tested their tiny wings and practiced leaving the ground right in front of the camera.
A few short days later, the Welsummer had decided to give the BirdCam a much closer look. She began to watch it closely as if she was expecting for it to challenge her position as Queen of the Flock.
Flying lessons began to be a very common occurrence when the chicks were one-week old. They were constantly flitting around the brooding pen. They seemed to be taking turns as they practiced their skills and strengthened their wings.
Their personalities began to bloom shortly after. It became clear that the chicks were becoming individuals as unique as the farmers who tended to them. Some were shy while others seemed to enjoy posing for the camera. Clearly, we had a few chicks that were ready for their close-up.
Some of the chicks were ready for the spotlight. Others were ready to become a bit more adventurous. They took to pecking at the camera as it filmed them.
As the month passed, we continued to watch the chicks as they continued to watch us. Their first month ended with a day spent outside on a beautiful afternoon. We chick-proofed a covered run and allowed them to spend a few hours under the shade of a maple tree. The chicks took tentative steps on the soft green grass and huddled together until they had established that their environment was safe.
Once they had determined that being out of the brooding pen was a positive experience, they began to explore. With each step, they exerted their independence. They began to scratch at the ground and nibble at the blades of spring grass.
I watched and tried to commit the scene to memory. It seemed to me that they were having a sweet taste of the adventure of life that was to come. There are so many first steps for them to experience in the coming months, and I am happy to have a front row seat.
I’ll remind myself to take photos and videos along the way in the hope that I won’t forget the experience. I’ll proudly share the pictures and videos with you so that you can watch as our chicks grow over the next year. After all, they won’t be chicks for long.