Tag / Silver Laced Wyandotte

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

My Presto Chicken

Presto is a speed in music.  Dottie Speckles is a “presto” chicken.  All of the others are mellow girls.  They walk quietly and gracefully.  They scratch with purpose.  They preen ever so gracefully and they love to take naps.  These traits are the complete opposite of  Dottie Speckles.

She will be 15 weeks this coming Monday and she is on the move continually.   First thing in the morning, when I let the girls out, one by one, they jump and walk down the ramp.  First out are Tilly, Oyster Cracker, Feathers and Sunshine.  Then, I brace myself for Dottie Speckles.  She always comes out flying!  Then she runs everywhere.  Truthfully, it is rare that I see this chicken walk.  With purpose, she runs from here to there and then back again.  She jumps on the outside roost.   She jumps on the log.  She runs over to the water, takes a drink and then sprints across the run.  Then back again and so forth!  I get exhausted just watching her.  This is how she moves about all day long.

In regards to the pecking order, she has moved up and is now in the middle.  Interestingly, I wonder as she gains size, will she overtake the two Buff Orpingtons, Oyster Cracker and Sunshine?  Would she dare to take over Tilly’s position?  I don’t think so, as Tilly scares her so, but I have heard that Silver Laced Wyandottes can be bossy.

She is a very curious little girl.  She knows her name and enjoys engaging in conversations with me.  She visits me every morning, but is usually shoved out of the way by Tilly, Oyster Cracker and Sunshine, as they are jealous and want all the love for themselves.  When she complains, it is still in a chick like peeping voice.  I have never heard her make much noise.  However, with each day, she becomes more assertive.  She no longer fears going after what she wants, especially treats.  Lately, Oyster Cracker and Sunshine do not mind.  Tilly on the other hand, chases her away.

Even though she acts like a teenager, she enjoys being a baby still.  She seeks protection from the Silkies when she has done something to upset the big girls.   She even tries to sleep in the nesting box with Dolly.  The past few nights, I find her crammed into the nesting box with Dolly.  I gently lift her out and put her on the roost next to Fifi our 17week old Black Silkie.  There they settle in together.  Finally, she calms down enough and falls asleep, restoring energy for the following day.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Dottie Speckles

Ever so tiny

Here she is!  The kids want to call her “Dots” for short.  She is now two days old and I could not have asked for a better outcome.  Yesterday, continued to be a day of getting to know each other.  Interestingly, I have noticed a difference with chicks hatched by a mother hen vs. an incubator.

While Dolly, brooded over her eggs last month, I would often find her talking to them, touching them, rocking them and rolling them.  It seems as though the babies knew Dolly long before they met her in person.  Once the babies hatched, they all spoke the same language.  When Dolly told them to eat, drink and let out a warning signal, all of the babies seemed to know just what to do.  She is a fantastic mother; incredibly careful and tender with all of her babies.

I have gorgeous legs!

Right from the start, it was clear to me that Dottie Speckles had no idea who Dolly was, nor did she have any idea what a mother hen was.  In the hatchery, she never felt or heard her Mother’s touch.  Instead she heard the whirring of the heating fans and felt a machine tilt her from side to side in a methodical timed fashion.

Last night before bed, I checked on everyone in the garage.  All were sleeping.  Dottie Speckles was sleeping amongst and closely nestled into her new found siblings’ warm little bodies.  Usually, a day old chick would normally sleep underneath their mother.

This morning, I awoke and checked on the chicks.  Everyone was happy and alive.  Dottie Speckles was pipping and popping all over the place with a smile in every step that she took!  As I was changing out the feeder and waterer,  I purposefully tried to go in and grab Dottie Speckles when she was right in front of Dolly.  Dolly pecked me!  I was overjoyed, this could only mean that Dolly has accepted Dottie Speckles as one of her own.

I quickly finished my business and sat quietly in front of the brooder watching Dolly and the chicks’ interaction.  Dolly settled down on the floor of the brooder surrounded by her chicks.  Then, Dottie Speckles went over to Dolly’s wing.  She curiously and gently tugged on a feather of Dolly’s wing.  Dolly lifted up her wing and Dottie Speckles in turn tucked herself into the space between Dolly’s wing and her body.  I was so touched and overcome with emotions.  I have learned many things about life from our chickens.  Today, Dolly reminded our family of tolerance and acceptance for those that are different.

Speckled feathers adorn my face. They look like freckles to my human family.

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Shopping

Today I ventured to the local feed store to pick-up more food for the ever growing baby chicks.  They are eating so much lately, almost a pound per day.  So, on this drizzly and foggy Cape Cod morning, I went on my way.  When I arrived, I knew that it was going to be instant temptation.  Our local feed store has been getting weekly deliveries of baby chicks.  Everytime I go into the store, I find myself resisting my chicken addiction.  However, this time there was no escaping meeting the newest member of our flock.

I was good at first. I went over and picked up the food and supplies.  I even was standing at the checkout counter.  Then, I glanced over at the divided brooder.  It had some Jersey Giants left from the previous week and the other two sections were filled with Silver Laced and White Laced Wyandottes.  Uh oh; I have always wanted a Silver Laced Wyandotte.  I watched them eat, drink and sleep.  I had to have one.  After about 10 minutes of watching the chicks, I picked out the most adorable girl with a freckled face.  She was worth the every penny of the her five dollar cost.  They boxed her up and soon enough, I was heading home with chick food and a new chick!

Every chicken expert says, do not mix chicks of various ages.  Today, was going to be my experiment.  If worse came to worse,  I could always separate the group with chicken wire.  I took the chick’s Mom, Dolly, out to the large run and coop with the rest of the flock.   I opened the new box and placed it under the heat lamp.  Next, I grabbed Percy Peepers from the brooder.  I figured, Percy was about the same size as the day old chick and did not have much of an advantage with his bad leg.  I watched their interaction; no aggression.  In fact, they were snuggling after about 3 minutes.

I removed the rest of Dolly’s chicks into another separate box, cleaned the brooder, refilled the waterers and feeder and returned all of the chicks, including the new one to the brooder.  I sat and watched.  The new chicks definitely recognized the new girl as not being an original chick.  They were at first scared and cautious.  I gave them some scratch as a distraction.  Soon enough, they were ignoring her.  Our new little chick on the otherhand, journeyed closer to the heat lamp to take a nap; so far, so good.

I went and retrived Dolly who did not want to return to the brooder.  She was busy taking a dust bath.  When she entered the coop, she soon realized that there was a new little baby amongst her brooder flock.  All of the original chicks were standing behind Dolly seeking protection from the newbie.  Dolly gently pecked at the baby.  It just stood there.  As if nothing ever happened, Dolly and the chicks moved on and went about business as usual.  I sat and watched for 40 minutes.  Everything seemed fine.  After all of the  morning excitement everyone decided to take a nap.  The new chick nestled close to Dolly, not underneath, but in front.  Everyone, including Dolly, closed their eyes. 

I am optimistic that this transition will go smoothly.  I will continue to closely watch and intervene for the little chick as need be. I am excited to have a new little chick amongst the ever growing teenage chicks now.  They are goofy looking as patches of real feathers emerge.  Soon enough, our new little Silver Wyandotte will be bigger than the Silkies.  As she is a standard breed, she will grow at a much faster rate.  I will never claim to be a chicken expert.  I will never know as much as my fellow chicken keepers. I am only a novice with a big space in my heart for chickens. However, even experts can be wrong.

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