First the bad news.
When these chicks were sent, it was 2 day express with directions to call me ASAP. Live animals on the box with air hole and peeps from the chicks. Well the bigger post office in my area held my chicks when they arrived on day two and didn't sent my chick to my local post office until the next morning. My local post office called me asap and I picked them up within in minutes. The heating pack in their box was cold, chicks huddled together. Two chicks were weak, the Speckled Sussex and the Buckeye. I let the hatchery know asap, so I got a refund quickly when they died. I've never ever lost a chick let alone two before this. The hatchery's customer service was great, they gave me info to try to save the chicks and when it failed refunded me without any hassle. They weren't happy what the bigger city post office did. I checked to see when I could get replacements from them, but that's out in Sept. So I looked at other hatcheries. I found one and ordered 4 chicks. 1 each and all girls: Buckeye, Buff Orpington, Rhode Island Blue, and Speckled Sussex. there's a 3 chick minimum order. They will be here next month. Sweet & Sour are 7 years old. They egg laying days are coming to an end soon. Sweet hasn't laid an egg yet this year and never was a good layer. Sour's eggs are a lot smaller now (was large light brown to now medium almost white) and she lays 1 or 2 a week. Their breeds normally lays for 3-4 years, but their 2nd year is the best. Sour was great for 5 years straight. Year 6 is when she started to slow down.
Now the good news and lots of cute pictures
The Delaware and Buff Orpingtons are thriving. I'm still thinking of a name for my tough little girl. She's going to be tough since she's being raised with 6 brothers. The boys are already practicing their fighting as they figure out their pecking order. I admit, this started out really funny. They first had to master jumping up without falling on their back when they moved their legs forward. then to go forward. Many fell on their backs, went sideways, or straight up. Kinda like popcorn. This has been very interesting to my cats, but really can you blame them? Once the chicks could go forward, they had to work on their aim. I've seen many many misses and the chicks and my cats looking confused as to what just happened. Even my little girl is on this. I think Cookies is going to have a hard time teaching this group quickly that she's above them in the big flocks pecking order. Some of these boys are already very cocky. Once their legs are big enough, they will have a leg band on. This will help us to identify which will go to freezer camp and the lucky one that lives. There will be only 1 winner. My son wants to name him 'lucky fucker'. It is fitting.
Roosters developed faster then hens. The Delaware breed matures fast so my little girl is keeping up. Keep in mind this breed was meant to be dual (meat/egg) bird, and was the meat breed before the Cornish cross. She's close in size and feathers are coming in at or a little ahead of the boys. Once the saddle feathers come in, I'll be able to show the difference between male/female. Male feathers are more narrow and pointed whereas female feathers are wider and rounded tips.
Some of the boys have started to have their little chests out when walking or standing. This started very cute as they were doing this at first in front of the mirror. They sometimes do this when I bring a hen to look at the babies. My hens watch them then start talking. The boys then stop stunting with their chests out and lay down. Feisty can get them to do this with a look, if the boys see it. If not, Feisty starts talking, might be yelling at them, since they all stop, lay down, and pay attention. Sour, the top hen, tries this, but the boys just look at her stand with their chests out. Sour never went broody and never raised any chicks unlike Feisty.
The Delaware is in this pic, do you see her?
Below is a young rooster. The wing tips came in first then the upper wing and now the tail feathers
Just eat dry oatmeal and/or baby grits (tiny rocks)
You can see the chick's ear, the hole behind and slightly lower to his eye. Feathers will grow here soon
My Delaware's wings are more developed then most of the boys. She also started her tail feathers days ahead of them