Breeding season is winding down here for the Silver Ameraucanas. The third hatch finished four days ago. This year I had an excellent fertility and hatch rate, 99%-100%. Currently there are eighty-one chicks on the farm. They sure do go through the bags of chick feed! They grow so fast.
By this weekend I hope to move the last hatch out to the barn. Then our upstairs bathroom will be chick-free. I’ve had an incubator going in there since mid-April. It will be nice to have the room back to normal.
The first two hatches are doing well. They have started free ranging during the day. Such adventures those babies have in the wide world! They have discovered that grass is delicious, as are bugs, the rock walls near the barn are good for exploring and naps and the lilac hedges are a prefect playground for birds that evolved in the jungle.
The first two hatches have formed one large flock. When the last hatch is introduced, they will be afraid of each other for a day or so, then quickly become friends. I construct a pen from wire that allows only the smallest to enter so the youngest birds can escape any bullying from the older ones. In general Ameraucanas are very social and easily accept new birds to the flock.
The first hatch is now 6.5 weeks old and they have finished growing all their baby feathers. The little pullets look much like miniature adults, but the cockerels will change a lot with their subsequent moltings. The pullets will also grow red feathers on their breasts. The birds on the left are pullets, the right is a cockerel.