Sarah has given me and Doug chicks. We have 9. They hatched last Friday, April 21, and arrived in a cardboard box in NH Monday afternoon. By the time I reached Shaker Village, many of them had been named (it's day camp this week at the village) and Sarah had bonded with the smallest, most speckled one. But there were plenty waiting to peep their way into my heart.
I have three that look a good deal like the Aruaucanas did last spring (now living with Sarah at Shaker Village). Actually, none of them look like anything in particular; of mine, one
has a topknot that makes her look like this. Well, with darker eyes and a weaker chin. Two have the first stirrings toward fluffy feet,
which might be a good adaptation for New England winters. One of them looks like a penguin (and refuses to take a good picture).
Actually, they seem not to care much about my heart; it is eerie to see such a fully-equipped bunch of tiny birds. They seem to think that they are entirely ready to go out there and be chickens. They walk and eat and drink and even flap; they preen, they assault one another, and one of them was beating the daylights out of a tuft of seeds in the hay. At least two of them (probably roosters) have given me the Look that translates as "We're Onto You, Missy," or "What're YOU Lookin' At?" I have previously received this look from adult English sparrows, who can be very protective of the locations of their nests. I don't expect it from infants. But then these chicks are well past the imprinting-onto-Momma window.
I have a theory (mammal-biassed)that the more comes genetically packaged with an animal, the less the animal is likely to learn later. It suggests that these chickies are already as full of themselves as they will ever get. I hope it's enough. I hope most of them are female, I want the eggs.
The cats are pretty much ignoring the chicks, either as a clever ploy or more likely because they cannot be bothered. Chicks don't look enough like cat treats. A good omen.
(it's now a couple days later ; I was having trouble getting the pictures up. They are still very small but now they are noticeably larger very small dinosaurs. Several more of them are sprouting real feathers, mostly wingtips. Goldilocks is working on a tail.)