Crikey – showing the age there.
On to the matter in hand. Our first home-reared flock of Light Sussex large fowl are now eight weeks old and looking amazing! One cockerel has already gone to a new home, and two others have homes promised. One will likely be staying here with us, at least until it’s breeding season and we need to bring an unrelated cockerel in, so we only have to find home for one more. The two ladies will stay here at Merrybower, to live with their mother Daisy. The photographs here are from two weeks ago when they were six weeks old and spent their first days outside. We quickly added an easy ramp to the eglu ramp, to help them up into the coop. We also found out that adding a red light inside the coop helped encourage them up the ramp to sleep.
The second batch of chicks hatched two weeks ago tomorrow, and we now have twelve little chicks in the house under the heat lamp – two large Light Sussex and ten bantam Light Sussex. I have a feeling one of the large Sussex is a lady – and we’ve named her ‘Smudge’. She was stuck in her egg – the humidity was too low and she couldn’t break out. We gave her 48 hours to try herself, but no joy, so we tentatively broke the shell from around her as she was so vocal and alive, chirping constantly that she wanted out of the egg. Bit by bit we broke bits off, hoping we wouldn’t damage any blood vessels, until eventually the top was off and we had to peel the egg shell from her back and the top of her head, figuring if we didn’t try anything then she would surely die, so at least she was having a chance. I’m so happy to say that two weeks on and she’s a delight! To keep a track of which chick she was, I coloured the toes on one foot with black indelible marker – hence her name Smudge 🙂 I call her ‘her’ as she’s slightly smaller than the other large Sussex, and less ‘upright’ when confronted. With our first batch I noticed the males tended to be more ‘male’, in that they held themselves in a dominant stance, chests puffed out and heads aloft, whereas the ladies were more amiable and less likely to push themselves in the faces of others. All that said, this batch of complete Light Sussex seems a lot more placid than the mix of breeds we had last time, but then both parents were exceedingly gentle, the cockerel in particular – gentle and unafraid of humans.