Guess What? Chicken Butt!
So as we've been enjoying our chicks for the last week, we have also, of necessity, come a little obsessed with their butts. While that doesn't necessarily sound healthy (in a Freudian sense) for us, it's important for the birds. We have to check their "vents" (that's chicken-speak for, um, sphincter) to make sure that they don't have poop stuck to them. If they do and it dries, it can glue their butts shut. That sounds kind of hilarious in the abstract, but it can kill your chick if you don't take care of it.
So we have found ourselves making a nightly inspection of everyone's rear end, and using a damp towel to soften and then pull crap off of their butts. Poor Sally seemed to have kind of an issue with this for a couple days, and Kirk felt bad when he pulled off a bunch of her fluff once, but it's better than death. I think they might be big enough to be past this issue now, though, as we've had a couple nights of clean-as-a-whistle bottoms.
On the bright side, chicken butts have their moment of cuteness too. How is this possible? Their little tailfeathers are coming in!
On the left is Abigail and to the right is Sally. The tail feathers are easier to see on Abigail, but Sally has them too.
Abigail also has a whole bunch of wing feathers, as you can see. Every day the chicks are bigger and have more feathers. This process seems to have them feeling itchy and antsy, though – they are always preening and stretching and trying to get comfortable.
They also have a few new tricks, including gripping with their feet to roost, jumping, and trying to get some air by flapping their wings. On Sunday Abigail managed to jump up and sit on the edge of the brooder box, so we now keep a piece of screen crimped around the corners of the box while we are sleeping or at work. The last thing we need is a poultry prison break!
I will leave you with a cute sleepy-time shot of all four:
PS – If you find yourself mildly obsessed with their butts as well, you can see that Martha also has a tuft of little white tailfeathers showing. She's the one that in this picture is all butt, because she is hiding her head under the others to sleep.