This weekend, thanks to beautiful sunny skies and warm temperatures, our little chicks had their first outing. Since they are only two weeks old we let them out in a small pen with close supervision. They were delighted and immediately took to the outdoors, chasing bugs and flapping their little wings.
The little black one (our Cuckoo Maran) has large enough feathers to fly out of the enclosure, which she did a couple of times. The rest just hopped about. I also have put a few sticks in their brooder for practicing roosting, and I have been giving them clumps of dirt (often filled with worms) and grass for digging about and dust bathing. At least once a day they’ve been enjoying a handful of mealworms in addition to their chick mash, which is cause for great excitement.
The best part of the chicks outside adventure was definitely Little Roo. Our Wheaton Rooster is quite the dad of the year. He ran over to the pen as soon as they came out and spent the whole day with them, pointing out treats and guarding them whenever the cat wandered past.
Oddly, roosters are often better with chicks then hens. Hens are great mothers but they often pick on a chick that is not theirs, where as a rooster is kind to all of the chicks and just like with his hens, he wants to protect them and provide for them. Little Roo was exceptionally patient with these babies. They occasionally would try to jump up on him or peck at his wattles out of play, and he would peck them lightly on the head. Observing you could tell that he was pecking just hard enough to get a reaction without hurting them in anyway.