Okay, the baby pictures are done now. These birds are becoming chickens. I finally did some research and discovered I should be keeping food in their feeder at all times, not just twice a day like the dogs. I also read that you should give them room – like a square foot per chicken! I took away their cage and set them loose in their cardboard box and my husband rigged up a cover to keep them safe from the dogs. I made them a little roost and put their food and water in the metal tray from the dog crate in hopes it might be a little easier to clean out. I was mad today because I’d gotten their box all clean and fresh and returned from errands to find they’d tipped over their water and soaked everything so I had to do it all over again.
I took my eyes off Fionn while he was outside this week, and it came to mind that I’d better make sure he was leaving the chickens alone. Sure enough, just as I peeked out the door he shot past with a bird in his mouth. He dove out the doggie door and I screamed at him. He was at least good enough to drop it and lurk nearby, while I scooped up the poor little chicken. Its eyes were closed and it was limp, but when I gently set it down in the box it jumped up and skittered over to hide in the middle of the flock. There seem to be no ill effects since that near-death experience, and I learned to be more careful.
I have two favorites now. One I am calling “Beauty” because of her gorgeous shiny orange and black feathers. The other is mostly white but is developing a distinct comb. I wonder if that indicates she is a “he”? I took a photo of Beauty outside the box and when I set her down the “rooster” ran right over to check her out. That sounds like a developing guardian, don’t you think?