cute chicks & a cute chick

Our little flock has been growing out in the backyard. Before anyone worries, we did a lot of research and reading up on chickens…on integrating new birds, on laying span, life span, flock size, breeds, and just about every other subject in my 4 chicken raising books. I’m not one to do things without thinking it through! We’ve alredy added to our flock before and ‘chicken sat’ another flock of 6 for 2 weeks. We are becoming regular ole’ chicken farmers around here 🙂 Anyway, here are some of our new little chicks…

ISO 160, 1/800, f/2.8, 70mm

ISO 125, 1/500, f/2.8, 51mm

ISO 200, 1/500, f/2.8, 70mm ~ ISO 125, 1/640, f/2.8, 70mm

And some of our original flock – who are getting really close to starting to lay eggs!

ISO 320, 1/500, f/13, 30mm (auto mode) ~ ISO 200, 1/400, f/2.8, 70mm

Since the red one was 3 days old, I’ve thought she was a rooster. She is about 16 weeks old, doesn’t crow at all. Her comb and wattle just popped out over the last week. I’ve been studying her saddle feathers…what do you guys think? Rooster? She stands so tall and chest bumps like roosters….

ISO 200, 1/500, f/2.8, 54mm

And totally unrelated to chickens, other than she is a pretty cute chick, FireCracker recently turned four! I was looking at old pictures of her and it brought back so many memories. I love the way a photo can take you back to moments otherwise forgotten. In the picture on the left, she was in the process of getting her finger stuck in that handle bar. She was also waving at random people walking down the street. Both moments I don’t think about, but when I saw that picture it took me back in time.

I know I just said I really like the age 9, but I like 4 too. I have no desire to relive baby days. I loved and relished them when I was there. It is almost impossible for me to believe it has been 4 years since I was last pregnant. I went through a period where it felt like I was always pregnant! I sure enjoyed the newborn and baby phases, but there are new things to enjoy at new ages. She tells people she’s ‘spicy’. I am not sure where she came up with that, but it is kind of true. My sweet and spicy girl is four.

Her cousins and couple friends came over for a little party. She originally wanted all the girls to wear princess dresses and she wanted her brothers to dress like Avengers and chase the girls around the yard yelling. I had to convince her that not all little girls think it is fun to be chased by The Hulk while he is yelling at them. It is hard for her to understand why any girl would not find that fun! We stuck to no chasing….

My mom made her a new twirling dress for her birthday. She wears my green one (that my mom & grandma made me) all the time. So, for her birthday she got to pick out fabric and my mom made her a new one. She has worn it everyday since.

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  • Amy - Our Rhode Island Red Hens had us convinced they were ALL roosters until they started laying eggs. Every one has a comb and waddle that we thought were huge. A great tell is if they have “spurs” on their legs (sharp fighting barb) – that was the only way we could tell that we didn’t have a flock of roosters, in the end. There was at one time a call into the company, from where we purchased, with a complaint that we had a flock of roosters and no hens. Thankfully, we didn’t follow up on that call and they started laying eggs! (Must admit it was quite funny and embarrassing – especially for the veterinary student (me!)). 😀

  • Sophibelle - Happy birthday to your little girl!! <3 What a pretty dress she got! And cute chickens, we have some too. They're so fun! <3

  • Pamela - The comment above is great. LOL!

    I also liked the baby stage but as the mom of a now 3 1/2year old I love this age so much more.

  • Stephanie - Happy birthday sweet girl! I still wish we lived close because I know she and Bo would be dear friends! 4 years has passed way too fast! We are about to start the chicken process and would LOVE to hear the highpoints of what you have learned up to this point (and maybe where you got your coop plans…you prob designed it but I would TOTALLY buy the plans!). Miss you sweet friend!

  • Rachel Kaylynn - Thanks for sharing your point of view on motherhood. I find it very encouraging/challenging to read about how to you see, embrace, and delight in each of your children’s uniqueness.

  • Ashley - I don’t miss the baby days either…we have the bike fire cracker is playing with! It belonged to my dad when he was little….happy birthday firecracker! For is an awesome age for little girls….mine just turned four as well!!! She also loves being chased by her brothers! Lol….

  • Izzy - What a cute chicks! I love the variety of colours/markings on them.
    Firecracker’s dress is lovely! What a talented dressmaker! When I have been reading before I assumed that she was older than 3/4! Looks like a fun girly party!

  • Brandi - Our red looks just the same, a hen. We did end up with a rooster of another breed in our flock. From a baby we always thought he was different–not as friendly–and then he started with the crowing at about 16 weeks. He was aggressive (attacking our kids) and we had to get rid of him. After that, one of our hens seemed to take on a lead role…so many that’s what you’ve got going on? We’ve only had ours a year, so I’m no expert 🙂 But, I do love seeing how yours are growing! So many look like ours did!

  • Emilie Gate - Hi, we are just about to embark on buying chickens. The Law in Jacksonville is changing tomorrow so we hope to hear good news that we shall now be able to own 4 chickens in a residential home! Can you tell me what breeds your chickens are as I love the colors. Also, what part of the states do you live as I am wondering if there are better chickens able to
    Cope with hotter climates like us in Florida! Thanks 🙂

  • Lauren Klouda - She is a hen. 🙂

    Your girl is awesome!

  • Emilie - I’d say she’s a hen and about ready to lay. We’ve had backyard chickens for about two years, they are loads of fun. Happy Birthday to Firecracker.

  • Analia - I love your photos and words that are so encouraging!

    As for the chicken/rooster issue, I’m experiencing similar questions…can’t tell but I think I might have 2 roosters…one for sure is crowing!

    I want to see a tour of your Coop!

  • Hannah - Oh my goodness, I can’t believe she’s four! It always puts things in perspective for me about how long I’ve been following certain blogs based on how old their children are. I’ve been following your blog for OVER 4 years because I remember before you were pregnant with her! Wow.

    Happy birthday, Firecracker!

  • DebZorn - When my middle daughter was little (she’s now 37, yikes!), she loved twirly dresses. When she started school, I told she had to change clothes, when she got home. She did so, abligingly – she changed from one twirly dress, into another 🙂 You have a beautiful family. I really enjoy reading about your adventures. Thank you for sharing.

  • Cindy - Look at the chicken’s feet. Giant feet = rooster. Also the first few crows are more of a mangled warble. My RIR is more squat and round and has a fluffy behind.

  • TerrieG - Between you & Meg…I sooooo want chickens!
    Seeing the camera settings by each picture takes me back 2 years.
    I had just gotten my first dslr & meg had suggested I take your class.
    So glad I did! Those numbers that used to mean nothing…
    now, make total sense. Thanks again for making it all so easy & clear for me.
    You are such an inspiration to so many…crafting, photography, mothering…
    I love seeing the world through your eyes!
    And yes, enjoy every stage. All too soon, they are grown and gone.
    There are good, great & not-so-great moments through them all.
    But, I’ll tell you a secret…as good as parenting is,
    Grandparenting is even BETTER! 🙂

  • Courtney - I’d bet money that’s a roo. I obsessed over our “girls” for weeks, going back and forth. Of the original 9 chicks we had 5 roosters, now we have 13 hens (carefully integrating birds from three separate flocks at two different times) and it feels good to be settled! We live in midtown Kansas City so no roosters were allowed and my kiddos were sad to see them go, but now we’re one big happy family of dogs, cats, roosters and soon to be rabbits! Chickens are so fun!!! I’m trying to talk all my neighbors into taking the plunge.

  • Beth C - My 8yr & 10yr old boys say to check the chicken for spurs. You should then be able to tell if it’s a hen or a rooster. They are our “chicken farmers!” Ha!

  • haverlee - Ha!! I love what Firecracker wanted for her party! I’m CONSTANTLY telling my boys that girls don’t want to be yelled at, growled at or chased! I use the phrase, “girls are fragile!” a lot 🙂 I think they need to find a Firecracker to marry 😉

  • Tessa - I started reading your blog when Firecracker was a baby, and I can’t believe that she is now 4! I even remember the post in which you shared about her name …. which I think is now deleted! 🙂 Happy Birthday to your spice girl!

  • Avenlea - That chicken looks extra proud, plus he has a crown and waddle before the others, so it could be a rooster. Look for spurs on his legs. The ultimate giveaway will be if he lays eggs. Watch out! Roosters can be very mean!

  • Caryn - I think you’re safe, pretty sure that’s a hen 🙂 Our Rhode Island Red girls were always some of the biggest, toughest, bossiest of the bunch. At the same time they were always the friendliest and most calm around people. Excellent breed!!!

  • Lauren - I just wanted to let you know your blog makes me tear up on almost a daily basis (in a good way). And I am not a crier. The way you speak of your kids and watching them grow gets me every time. I have a 10 month old son and I have a love/hate relationship with him getting older…no phase lasts forever, which is both a good and sad thing!

  • Sandy - Gorgeous photos! I laughed at Firecracker calling herself spicy! We sing the song ‘Spicy Kid’ by Lunch Money to our little guy. Something about his smile just makes him a spicy kid:)

  • kimberly oyler - i’m always so confused when i see pictures of little chicks being held. in my brain, chickens are mean animals that peck at you. but i guess that isn’t really true? do the big ones let you hold them? maybe i need to make a visit to a farm and learn some stuff!

  • Julie @ Living on the Ledge - Just found your blog through Bower Power, and I have to comment – this is the most visually beautiful blog I have ever seen! Gorgeous. Looking forward to following along.

  • RaD - Nah, that’s a hen. The Rhode Island Reds are like that. If it was a rooster the comb would be higher and he would have a longer tail feathers that are kinda greenish in the sun and black in darker light. Here’s a photo of one I looked up for you:

    Love that your little girl calls herself spicy. It does seem fitting! 🙂

  • Cara Yeh - Not to be redundant, but we thought the same thing about one of our jersey black giants, and she’s been laying for us for a year now. (Though, my girls still say she’s a rooster; ha!)

  • Annbee - Your chicken looks like one of our gals! We were told she was a rhode island red but we think she’s probably a new hampshire red. Has big stance, waddles, and comb but sure enough she lays eggs! Your chicken doesn’t look like it really has the roo characteristics feather wise so I think it’s a girl. 🙂

  • Tiffany - Beautiful pictures! There are certain dresses that do require twirling in. So cute. My husband says that you have yourself a little red hen 🙂

  • Natalie - I remember a pink twirly skirt my grandmother made for me when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. FireCracker’s dress reminds me so much of those wonderful memories and feelings. Thank you. Hope she had a magical birthday!

  • Victoria / Justice Pirate - What a beautiful twirling dress that is!!
    That is really great that she likes being chased about by her brothers, and it is nice that you are trying to teach her that what is fun for her is not necessarily fun for others too. What great learning lessons! She’s grown a lot! I hope her 4th birthday was as grand as it seemed.

  • Sara - wow, I also remember starting to read your blog when Firecracker was a baby. 4 years! Happy birthday sweet girl!!! And I love that picture in the studio. That reminds me, I’ve always wondered where the door is in the studio. Does it open to the rest of the house or have an outside entrance? It’s a beautiful space, and appears to be such a special place for your family!

  • Allison - I think out chickens are a few weeks younger than yours. However, We have Rhode Island Red hens and a rooster. Your picture looks like our rooster and not our hens. I’ll try to get a picture this week and share it on Chris’s FB page. I guess you guys will know for sure when they start to lay eggs!! Chickens are such a fun addition to our little farm, and we can’t wait for the eggs to start coming!! 🙂

  • Jennifer Cole - Four years old was my very favorite age for my daughter. Enjoy all of it! You may wish for four in a few years!

  • Amy - The only thing I know about roosters is that they have sharp barbs on their legs. My brother-in-law John’s parents live on a farm and had a rooster that flew at John and cut through his jeans and into his leg leaving a big gash. About an hour later the rooster came at me also! My sister and daughter, who were in the yard with me, ran for cover! I swung my purse at the rooster and ran to my car screaming. I am a CITY girl!!

  • kate - I LOVE a good twirling dress! I used to have one when I was a little girl, I think it might be time so suss out how I can make /buy /find one for my little one (also 4) she gets really excited if her dress goes out even just a little bit – yes it’s time. And I think you’re right – the red one looks like a rooster to me. Happy Birthday Fire Cracker kxx

  • angie - I have a flock of only RIR’s, and they do seem to have a very large combs and waddles compared to other breeds. But Red definitely looks like a female to me! 🙂

  • christian - i think your red is a hen too. typically their combs get like that right before they begin laying. keep an eye out on your other chicks too; as they get closer to maturity their combs will turn a deep red. some chicks just mature faster! =]

  • Emily - Firecracker’s new dress is adorable! By any chance, could you share the name of the dress pattern your mother used? My daughter is 3.5 yrs old and won’t wear anything but “twirling” dresses these days. I’d love to make her one too! Thanks!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh my – a new twirling dress! And I love how you are so purposeful and think things through.

  • Sarah Bamber - What a joyful picture! Also – such a wonderful ‘space for creating’. We are building a home in South Africa and I can’t wait to have a space like yours!

  • Lisa M. - Oh! Cannot wait for the deets on that phonography course! YAY!
    And…your house and style are beautiful. Don’t sell yourself short!

  • elizabeth H - i treasure reading about Firecracker & her relationship w. her older brothers SO much!! i love seeing how “twirly girly” she is & how “spicy & daring” intertwine together.
    makes me wonder if that’s how my Sweet Pea will be..hmm…

    PS.LOVE the “Fresh Eggs” sign ~ it’s the perfect finishing touch!!

  • Jennifer - I love that dress! By chance do you have a pattern or tutorial for it? I would love to make one for my girl :). Happy Birthday Fire Cracker!