“Ethereal chicken” is almost always an oxymoron, like “plastic silverware.” For just a day or two though, when they are tiny and completely covered in golden down, chicks can be ethereal. Our new birds are in this brief phase of their lives. When they stand under the red light of their heat lamp, they almost glow. Watching them, I remember the lightness of their little bodies as we lifted them out of the boxes on Thursday. They could almost be like little wisps of air, except their tiny little feet make the quickest little pattering sound as they dart around the brooder.
My mother-in-law helped me construct a cardboard wall across part of the brooder so that we could have a separate “room” for ducklings. The ducklings came on Thursday, the day after the chickens, and we have been amazed by them. Picking them up is a completely different experience then picking up the ethereal little chicks. The ducklings are more substantial, with a long neck, active feet, and a bit of softness cushioning their belly. Ian described them best when he called them “purposeful.” They seem driven in their pursuit of any bug that has the misfortune to wander into their part of the brooder.