The Old Brigade
Our new batch of chickens are Pekins and a Silkie. From a dozen tiny bantam eggs, the tiniest I have seen, hatched 10 little chickens - 5 a light apricot colour, 2 cream with a large brown stripe down their back with a thin black stripe on either side of it, 2 black chicks with a cream chest and 1 cream chick. As they grew and their down disappeared and their feathers formed we had 5 buff chicks, 2 black, 1 white silkie chick and our 2 cream brown chicks that had looked identical as babies turned out quite different. One is a grey speckled with white and the other has turned out mostly white with some grey.
Determining the Sex of Chicks
The next thing we wait to find out is their sex. Very quickly we could see we had three pullets and one cockerel. The sex of the others is in abeyance. I am hoping for a few more pullets and like my chances at this stage.
From a couple of weeks of age, we could start to pick the chickens by personalities. The little silkie was very nervous and stayed well away from me. As they grew older the 5 buff coloured chicken were hard to tell apart at first. At seven weeks of age the two pullets are obvious by their smaller and paler crest and wattles and their timid personalities. The obvious buff cockerel is the boldest of the lot. Two chicks that are hopefully hens - some of those in abeyance - come close for hand feeding and don't mind being picked up for a cuddle at all.
Chickens having Breakfast
Here is a short video of my chickens having breakfast. The mother hen is not the chick's biological mother but has done everything else for them. We bought purebred fertilized eggs and put them under our clucky bantam hen. She had found a spot in the flower garden under some large hollyhock leaves. These protected her from the rain. Six chickens hatched, two Rhode Island bantams and four gold pencilled Plymouth Rocks. They are four weeks old here.
Here's a lovely video that tells you just why free range eggs are good for us.
Perhaps you will get some hens for yourself and enjoy the benefits too
Here's another video showing some beautiful hens
These are spectacular
Here are some North Holland Blues
They remind me very much of Barred Plymouth Rocks. I haven't seen them in Australia.