The Ameraucana chicken fledglings are three weeks old in these photos. They are just beginning to explore the big world beyond the enclosure where they were kept safe as hatchlings. The chicks stare out from the safety of the barn into the great green world. The lure of grass, sunshine and tasty bugs helps them overcome their fear of the unknown.
Sunlight streaming through the barn door makes a wonderful place to stretch out. Chickens originated as jungle birds. The love of warmth is in their genetic code. The little guys plop down wherever the sun is bright to spread their wings and absorb the heat. Their response to sun seems automatic.
Hatched in early May, these chicks are growing fast. Their fully feathered wings and relatively light-weight bodies make them good fliers. I have to cover any buckets holding water to avoid calamity. Chicks have accidentally flown into water buckets in the past and drowned. Because they are not swimmers, they panic, inhale some water and quickly succumb. The same thing happened to a wild turkey poult in my horses’ watering tub last year. Very sad.
These young chickens grow more brave every day. In a gang, they adventure farther from the barn and discover new places where they can hide quickly if danger threatens. Soon their sixteen little siblings that hatched last week will join them in the barn. With plenty of exposure, the two ages of chicks will come to tolerate each other. When this winter arrives, they will be friendly enough to form one big flock.