Yesterday the baby Ameraucana chicks left the brooder boxes in our upstairs bathroom and went out into the big world. I set up a nine square foot pen for them on the lawn so they could enjoy the warm, sunny day and the fresh grass.
When the babies first landed on the grass and had a glimpse at the immensity of what lay beyond the cardboard walls they had known since hatching, they were stunned. They hunkered together in a bunch, not saying a peep, just staring. One little rooster lay exactly where he landed with both wings spread wide, not daring to move. I had to coax him over to his siblings.
Some encouraging clucks from mother hen (me) and a few minutes spent watching for predators gave the little chicks enough assurance to begin exploring. Soon they were eating snips of grass, scratching at the ground, and one even found a bug. It ran around peeping loudly with the catch in its beak and several chicks following to see what the excitement was about. A benevolent white bunny watched from a nearby cage.
Soon the freedom became intoxicating and chicks started to spread their wings. They flew about the enclosure. This is a sign they have become comfortable with the surroundings.
Everyone had a good look around, then a bite of chick food and a drink. The sun was so warm and inviting that soon it was naptime. All twenty-one little birds spread out in a patch of sunshine for a good sleep. Afterward, the babies took up their new residence in the barn.