The girls are going through an awkward moment in their growth. In the last few days, their faces have taken a decidedly hard right turn into the realm of "only a parent could love."
At the tender age of nine weeks old, the girls' faces currently resemble those of a teenager who is struggling to grow a (patchy) beard and fell asleep in the sun without sunscreen on: patches of downy grey surrounding blotches of bright red skin.
The fine feathers that used to cover where a "chicken cheek" would be are starting to fall out to reveal the red skin underneath and I can see the wattles beginning to bulge out. Their combs have even begun to sprout out of the tops of their heads in earnest (they've grown a quarter-inch over just the last two days), although they're still on the pinkish side. I assume the deep red color comes later?
In all, its not a pretty process, but I'm getting a much better at identifying how old chicks are by their appearance... it used to be I recognized chickens in only three stages of development: chick, skinny teen and fat adult. Now I'm getting to know the finer points of their maturing, and it's delightful to see the changes that are visible each and every day.
Another bonus to the recent growth: Sophia's now started to do more of what I'd call a "clucking" sound than her typical peeps that we've grown to love over the last two months. Granted, she only sounds that way when under duress (meaning: I'm trying to coax her back into the Eglu run), but it amazes me to all the sudden recognize my girls as real chickens.
Oh, and we discovered this weekend that our girls LOVE grapes.