I just love my chickens. I couldn't wait until we moved into our new house with 4 acres to get some (and I didn't). I have 4 weeks until closing date on the house, I figure they'll be in the brooder that long, with frequent jaunts outside.So, I welcomed Sun-Yi, Lala, Chip, and Alfred into our chaotic world!!
Well, here it is almost Christmas, December 12, 2009, to be exact. We have been in our new home for almost 2 months, now, and the babies are out in their barn.
Alfred turned out to actually be a male (what are the odds) and a beautiful one at that. They are about 14 weeks old now, and they amaze and entertain me. It has been cold and wet here, so they haven't been out much, so I go to their barn and spend about an hour with them each day, most days. Alfred challenges me each day, then cozies up to me. He usually starts to crow as soon as I go in as well. He is making sure I know he's in charge before I get too comfortable. Alfred started out as the smallest of my 4 babies. I wasn't sure what any of them were going to be when I picked them out at Atwoods fom the banty chick trough, except for Sun-yi. I was pretty sure Sun-yi was a silkie. Alfred was always so alert, in fact that was what drew my husband to him. I had already picked out 3, and that was all I was going to get, until my husband, Larry, saw Alfred and knew right away that he was the one he wanted. So, we went home to the old place, 4 chickens richer. I wasn't sure about Alfred at first. He seemed so pushy! Sure he was small, but he made up for it and was usually the first at the food, the first to come out, and if he wasn't first, he was gonna push his way through. Soon he was making me laugh, and you only have to laugh to know you love!
I thought he might turn frizzle when he started to feather in. This seemed to be the only thing he was last at. As the others started gaining more adult feathers, Alfred's weren't coming in as quickly. I posted pictures on the forum, and some seemed to agree that he was frizzling. How excited I was! But others warned that their chicks had looked frizzlish when first feathering out, too.
Alas, he didn't frizzle. Alfred, as he was gaining feathers, ws also gaining attitude. He began pecking at and chasing the other chicks. I didn't think too much about it at that point, because he was so comical. He still was smaller than all but Sun-yi, who was becoming the smallest. But soon it got worse, and he was in serious danger of "chicken jail". However, Chip started fighting back, and that seemed to calm him down some. As he got his feathers, I was not sure what kind of chicken he was going to be, Lala is obviously cochin, Sun-yi is silkie, Chip looks like Old English, but poor Alfred is an unknown. I thought maybe cochin, but wasn't sure.
Suddenly, one day, I looked up, and all my babies had feathers!
It seemed to happen so fast. They were smaller versions of adults, all very beautiful and gosh, what a handsome dude Mr. Alfred was becoming! His cock's comb was growing, his wattles were becoming visible, and man, what a strut. He was fast becoming a good looking guy!
The first day that I heard Alfred crow, I didn't know that was what he was doing. I heard a kind of choking chortle, and I thought, "Oh my, I hope there's nothing wrong with him". I went over to his cage and saw him make this sort of choking motion, stretching his neck way out and gagging, then that horrible noise. I started to open the cage to bring him out when I saw him beginning to scratch and peck, and it was then that the question crossed my mind,"are you crowing?" Sure enough this became a routine, until the crow got better and more recognizable. My little runt was growing up.