Bonafide Farm

The chicks at four weeks: New trick

August 6th, 2013 § 2


For the past week or so, the chicks’ new trick is to fly out of their broody coop when I open the lid to feed them or fill their water. At first they were shaky and tentative, but now they explode up the second the lid’s lifted, and fly from rim to rim, occasionally overshooting their landings and meeting the concrete garage floor. It’s cute, yes, but it makes a pretty ridiculous scene as I try to grab each chick and toss it back into the coop before another flies out before I can shut the lid. It makes me wish I still had the big garage brooder my dad put together for the guineas.

The only chick that has yet to fly out of the coop is the white Coronation Sussex. This bird is more stout than the others, which may be part of it, but I find it interesting that my homegrown barnyard mixes are more daring and precocious.


All these little flapping feathers definitely catch Tucker’s interest and provide a good training oportunity as I reinforce the concept that “the babies are to be protected, not eaten.” As you can imagine, this is a challenge for any dog, let alone one that I am asking to differentiate between unwelcome varmints and livestock. But I know he’s up to it, with constant reinforcement and vigilance on my part to help him succeed. Just after I took this photo my rooster and Cora started walking in the garage toward the coop. Tuck turned around and herded the older birds out the door. I would think this was a coincidence, except he did it each time the big birds tried to approach the broody coop. Very interesting.

The chicks, now four weeks old, have reached “the awkward stage.” Their baby down is quickly being replaced by prickly pin feathers, and their legs are now thick and scaley. But they are all healthy, and growing quickly thanks to their forays into the garden for free ranging. After having only raised chicks in a brooder, not with the help of the broody hen, I am noticing how much sturdier these chicks are. I attribute that to the more varied, natural diet they receive while free ranging, and to their being able to live a more natural chicken life, scratching in dirt and bug-hunting, much earlier than other chicks I’ve raised indoors.

As an unrelated aside, I just realized this is my 400th blog post at For some reason that number seems so big to me, and I am glad to have kept up with this journal for so long. I wonder if I will get to post #500 before getting fed up with country life?!

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§ 2 Responses to “The chicks at four weeks: New trick”

  • Happy 400th post! I would say that is quite an accomplishment…please keep it going! I so enjoy your blog!

    I wanted to have my previous blog, My Southern Heart, published in book form but soon discovered from the publisher that with 576 posts, it was too large. Hopefully, in the future when I have time and $$$, I can edit it and publish.

  • Chaucea says:

    Whee! Congrats on 400! :-D

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