Names have been chosen
The other two babies are buff Orpington - Martha - and golden Hamburg - Jewels (yes, for our friend). The older girls are Australorps - Mary and Kylie, buff Sussex - Margaret (Olley), New Hampshire - Anne Shirley, and silver Hamburgs - Lotte and Stella Gladys, my grandma's name.
The littlest chicks were put into a safe area in the vegetable garden yesterday and scratched for the first time. They also jumped onto the top of their box, stood in their water dish and ate - boy can those girls eat!
The older girls are fenced off from the three large chooks but kept flying out of their secure area. Cocobelle, our last remaining black chook, ran off into the jungle down by the creek and sulked all day. The two Rhode Island Reds - May and Nell - are unconcerned by the new arrivals except if there is grain thrown for scratching, then they peck any little chook who comes near. Late yesterday afternoon I found a bush turkey sitting, watching, in the grass and later it came into the chook pen. There are many wild bush turkeys around here so I had Alice gently chase it off as they can devastate a garden (by scratching) in a very short time.
Overall, the new chicks have settled in well and have been accepted by the older ladies. Thanks to everyone who submitted names for my list. I have several Wyandotte bantam chicks coming soon, they are currently under Margaret's broody, and I'll choose more names from the list when they arrive. What a colourful and varied clutch of chooks we'll have in a few months when they've all developed their distinctive plumage and features. They'll be wonderful backyard entertainment.
It seems to me that chickens are in their rightful place in a backyard. They provide eggs and manure and will clean the bugs right out of a vegetable garden better than any human worker. Today I'm going to suggest we make a new garden bed just for chicken food so we always have enough greens for our feathered friends. Feeding spinach, Chinese cabbage and silverbeet to chooks guarantees deep golden yolks and the tastiest of eggs. I also have some open pollinated oats, barley and rye seeds here, so I might try those as well. I would like to supply as much of their food as I can. Not only would that cut our costs but it would also help us close that chicken feeding system, where we would supply everything they needed from our own land and not have to rely on bringing in food from outside. We aim at closing a lot of our systems to become as self sufficient as possible but we often have gaps. Maybe, with these chooks, we'll be able to do it.