Week seven: Pecking order

I know it looks like I have a death grip on Gigi and Nellie, but they wiggled loose just before this photo was taken. I swear! Loretta (peeking out of the door) witnessed the whole thing!

I know it looks like I have a death grip on Gigi and Nellie, but they wiggled loose just before this photo was taken. I swear! Loretta (peeking out of the door) witnessed the whole thing!

Just seven short weeks ago, I was teaching three little chicks how to drink … and marveling at their fuzzball antics.

Today, they are miniature chickens, testing their wings and chasing worms.

My, how time flies.

Loretta, Nellie and Gigi just finished their first full week in the chicken coop. The first night was cold (34 degrees!) and I worried about them turning into chick-cicles. But they survived the night, and have really settled in.

We now have a routine. In the morning, I open the guillotine door, and they literally fly out, above the ramp leading into the run. They go over to the feeder and eat, eat, eat. During the day they mix their time between the run and perching inside the coop.

Funny enough, I built a baby roost that stands about 10 inches off the ground, thinking they would not be able to comfortably get up on the other two much higher roosts. They proved me wrong. Almost immediately they flew up to the higher posts.

At sundown, the birds surprised me by going back into the chicken coop on their own, and snuggling into a slumber in a dark corner. I haven’t had to usher them inside once.

The girls are slowly warming up to me. Nellie remains the most friendly, often walking right into my hand, and cooing as I hold her. But Gigi and, especially, Loretta just don’t have time for that. They squawk, and flap their wings … running in circles. But now I can walk into the run, and they come up to me pecking at my feet. I’ve tried my best to try to pick them up without looking like a crazy swooping predator. And that’s a hard task!

Nellie has taken to climbing up on my shoulder, sitting like a parrot.

This not a selfie. This is a photo of Nellie flying off my shoulder.

This not a selfie. This is a photo of Nellie flying off my shoulder.

I’ve noticed Gigi taking a leadership role, often investigating a suspicious bug before calling the other girls over. Loretta and Nellie are certainly feisty, but they clearly defer to Gigi’s judgement. I think we are just starting to see a pecking order develop.

This week we also gave the girls worms for the first time. Matt looked under rocks, and found a handful of wigglers. I wasn’t sure what to expect, since the chicks have been lukewarm to most treats we tried to give them. But with the worms? Fireworks!

Gigi would grab one from Matt’s fingers, then Nellie would snatch it from her beak and start running. This went on and on, a hilarious sideshow.

Certainly worth the price of admission.

BONUS VIDEO: The chicks jockey for position on the roost. Plus a surprise ending!

 

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2 Comments on “Week seven: Pecking order

  1. Gigi, the olive egger right? Is so funny with the little Mohawk. We just got our first OE last week. We ordered girls, but little Olive seems to be a rooster. She has a big comb at only a week old. Olives feathers are a black and white color so far, I hope she gets a Mohawk.

    To tame my chickens, before I put them down, I see if they struggle to get out if my grip. If they do, I bring them back up and hold them longer. Although, Marian, my polish, loves to be held. But when she wants down, let her down or you get wing slapped, lol. So not all chickens like to be held, like my Sumatra Raven, she poops on you if you do attempt to hold her lol.

    Anyways, it might work! Just a suggestion, good luck! 😀

    Like

    • Thanks for your awesome note! Yes, Gigi is the Olive Egger. She’s hilarious. Especially with her killer Mohawk. She seems to be the gentle leader right now. Picking up the birds is so much more of a challenge now that they are in the coop. They have so much more space to run from me! I have been making an effort to hold them as often as they let me, and I notice they do seem to calm down after a while in my arms. Nellie, the Dominique, loves to be held and comes when called. She’s my little sweetheart. Loretta insists on tantrums, but I know she’ll come around. Best of luck with your babies! Regarding your OE, mine seemed to develop a lot faster than my other birds, too. But she still looks like a girl. I hope you get that Mohawk!!!

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