Abby’s little ‘egger babies’ (as I have affectionately called her Easter Egger chicks since they hatched in November) are babies no longer. Sort of.
They are approaching 17 weeks now and, of all our chicks, are a bit antisocial and – dare I say it – scaredy cats. Scaredy birds even.
What are they afraid of? I’m not really sure. The first and most logical answer is Double Dots and The Big Hens. Because when they were little chicks, Momma taught them that The Big Hens were to be respected at a safe distance. And Dots, while not necessarily mean, is big. And BIG = Scary in little eyes.
Yeah, that makes sense.
But there is also the niggling memory of the two other Easter Egger babies. The ones who vanished on the day Abby took her four little ones on their first outing into the Run. She had been missing the outdoors and it was a nice, not cold, not rainy or snowy day and she went out, expecting her Littles to follow her. I had taken a picture of them contemplating the door, but thought they wouldn’t go because they were afraid. You could hear it in their voices. Later, at lock up, I made the discovery that two of the babies were not there with Abby. And the next day, I made an even worse discovery – blood droplets on the ramp of the run. They had gone out. And there had been Trouble.
No bodies. No other signs of struggle. But Abigail, the ever constant helicopter momma, kept her two remaining chicks close to her side and safe inside the coop for the rest of the winter. Unlike Pip, her first winter baby, these two rarely saw the light of day unless it came through the coop window. And then it got snowy and no one went out anyway.
Regardless, it’s almost spring now, and things are turning green, and Abby is off doing Hen Things and no longer mothering chicks. So no one has told the Easter Eggers that it’s safe to go outside now. Oh sure, they see everyone else rushing outside when I open the door to the run. But do they follow?
In fact, the only time these two go outdoors is when I pick their little butts up and carry them outside. And when I do, they only stay outside if too many Big Hens are blocking their route back into the coop. Because, it turns out that despite being almost as big as the rest of the flock now, they are still terrified of the Big Hens.
I have no real feelf or whether they are hens or roos. I suspect hens, as there is a decided lack of saddle feathers, so I have been calling them Leia (the dark one) and Padme (the lighter one). Because Little Dude wanted Star Wars names and I didn’t want to name them Darth Maul and Darth Vader.
However, more recently, my friendly little Leia has started to concern. In rare video footage of them – gasp – outside, you can see Leia showing more of a rooster-like stance.
As the caption suggests, I can’t really tell. Leia has roo-like qualities in this picture. At 17 weeks, still no signs of saddle feathers, but she’s still taller and more upright than little Padme? Could I have a little Luke or Chewbacca on my hands?