Dateline, almost eleven weeks old, and the chicks’ voices are starting to change. I still hear mostly the peeping and chortling sounds of contented chicks, but every once in a while I’ll hear funny noises that are the beginnings of adult chicken talk. The funniest one (and I can’t quite tell who it is) sounds like a tiny little klaxon horn- what are you? A chicken or a goose? Repeat after me,”Brauck, bock bock bock, BUCKET!”. Better!
Just kidding, I don’t care if they sound like goslings, as long as they don’t make THAT OTHER noise. What other noise? Well, kids, as I recall, my first batch of chicks was right about this stage of development when the Americauna looked up at me from the box and made a new sound, a strange sound. It sounded like a sixteen penny nail being pulled out of a sticky board, sort of a “urrreeeck” (all one syllable). Funny. That almost sounds like, well, like a little tiny rooster trying to crow for the first time. Ahhh, but mention not rope in the house of the hanged, nor water in the house of the drowned, it couldn’t be, these chicks are sexed. When the Plymouth Barred Rock, (a chick I was POSITIVE was female) started doing the same thing, “urrreeeck”, I thought, “see, perfectly natural behavior, they are just starting to make big chicken noises”. After all, it was just this one syllable, no louder than some of their other boisterous calls, and look how happy the bird is when it makes this sound, it’s just a happy chicken sound.
Now, so far all of my premises were correct, even while I danced around the truth. It was perfectly natural, it was the beginnings of big chicken talk, and it was a happy sound for the bird(s). It took me about a week to say the “R” word, and by then, any fool could see what was going on, even though the wise man kept repeating, “but these are sexed chicks, how could two out of three be roosters?”. The strange noise now had two syllables: “urk-urrreeeck”, and it was becoming more frequent. By week 12, the all too familiar notes were being warmed up in the morning and practiced all day, and by week fourteen, I had two pretty big cockerels living (and crowing) in the bedroom closet (along with our own Miss Kitty).
So I guess the bottom line here is that the chicks are entering true adolescence, where sexual development begins in earnest and sexual dimorphism appears. So far, all I have is honking and hen feathers, (thank God and knock on wood). Just 12-14 weeks until first lay!
Get that coop built!