One Year Pond Study Week 20: Checking in on the Chicks

Our pond this week
Our pond this week

Welcome to week 20 of our one year pond study.  For the rest of the posts in this series please see here.

This week I was astounded by the change in our Moorhen chicks – they have grown so big so quickly, changing from a fluffy black chick, to a sleek brown – grey chick to one that is darkening and losing it’s baby look!  I thought I would do a quick post documenting their growth over the past few weeks.

  • Nesting but no signs of chicks (week 10 – 15)

It was the moor hens!

  • Chicks at last (week 16).  They were straggly, fluffy and black with a touch of red on their beaks:

Full and happy little chick does a bit of sunbathing

  • Week 17, not too much change.  They were fluffy and had started filling out.  Their beaks seemed red still:


  • We didn’t see them week 18 but this is how they were looking week 19.  They had lost their fluffy look and had turned a pale brown.  Their beak was an orangy colour with patches of black on it:


  • And this week (week 20).  This chick is beginning to turn a darker colour again.  It has completely lost it’s fluffy chick look.  There was no colour on his beak at all.  It will be interesting to see if this comes back.  Sigh, they grow up so quickly!

Edited to add a picture of the chicks at week 22:


Just two weeks later and he is almost the size of his mother.  Still a brown colour but you can see the tips of the wings darkening to the Moorhen’s characteristic black.  It’s beak also seems to be going back to an orangy colour.  I’ll keep adding these pictures each week  until the chicks are fully grown.
Science Sunday  Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


  1. We know what you mean about the chicks changing so quickly. Something we’ve noticed is that the babies quickly grow to be as big as their parents but still need fed. It’s funny to see their impatience and total lack of respect for each other. If one is being fed and another one comes on the scene it will just muscle in on the first one and a squabble starts. It’s really funny sometimes. I hope there’s still plenty of activity when you’re here. Love to you all xxxxxxx

  2. How interesting to see the different stages of chickdom. Ours have been quite shy so I’ve had to view them through the camera zoom on the middle of the pond. It took me a while to identify them at the brown stage!

  3. I have to tell you that the Moor Hen was mentioned in Watership Down, which we are now reading in the evenings as a family, and we were tickled that we knew exactly what it looked like and how it acted. Thank you for enriching our reading time.

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