Learning To Be Chickens

Perching

I’m having difficulty calling the babies chicks anymore. There are very few squeaks anymore and there is a growing amount of clucking. Ever since the white roosters were removed from the coop all the rest of the chickens calmed down and started coming into their own.

Lesson 1, you don’t have to fight over snacks. Peck the snack, not my hand or other chickens. Check! They’ve got that one covered….FINALLY! Life is so much calmer.

Lesson 2, a young rooster shouldn’t sound like a young teenage boy with a cracking voice. Warm up those lungs! It’s not taking too long. He has 3 neighboring roosters teaching him how he should sound.

Lesson 3, you need to start learning how to get on top of things and perch. There are some lovely roosts in your coop that you aren’t using yet and it would save me a lot of clean up time if you’d poop on your poop decks under the roosts rather than all over the floor! When you do that I have to throw out all your pine bedding once a week!  I can’t afford it and the compost bin is getting too full!

As you can see in the picture above they are starting to perch using a couple stumps and an old tree branch. We also built them a table with scrap wood to give them another object to fly up on and also give them extra shade.

chick on table

Check out the cackling new rooster in charge with a new calmer flock on What the Flock’s YouTube Channel. And just so you know they still have a lot to learn, watch the other video of the chicks chasing shadows on the ground from the butterflies in their run!

 

 

 

I’m So HOT

Cooling Off

We went straight from winter into summer heat and we don’t have air conditioning in this old farm house…..ooooof! Can you imagine what it’s like to be a young hen starting to grow a ton of feather and getting your first 95 degree day?!!! It’s not much cooler in the coop than it is outside. The shade cloth roof helps a lot, but wow the heat came on suddenly. It’s a good thing I did my homework when I bought my chickens. I picked heat tolerant chicks including Buff Orphingtons and Australorpes. The Aracaunas…not so much but hey….they lay blue eggs! I had to make an exception to see how that works!

Hot Beaks

Did you know that chickens can die from heatstroke easier than freeze in the cold? Scary, right? So I’m looking for signs of hens with heat stroke. The first tip they are getting too hot is when they open their beaks as they breath, like they are in the picture. If they are getting dangerously hot they’ll stoop down and hold their wings out, looking lethargic.  Just like the picture of the Barred Rock Rooster! That’s what we get for keeping the mystery chick! This is a bad way to find out he’s not heat tolerant!

Heat Stroke

 

Luckily I already read that in an overheated emergency, you can hold them in a tub of cold water until they cool off. So that’s what I did. He was too weak to fight me, but within a minute and a half he was looking at me to say thank you, and hopped out completely recovered!

Too Many Roosters in the Hen House

The white ones

I think we have all had enough. The young rooster in the front of this picture had taken his position to an extreme. Here he is guarding his area and keeps coming at me. If I pay attention to another chick he interrupts by pecking the chick. When I push him away he comes up and pecks me! All the white ones are starting to posture and bump chests with other chicks.During treat time they push everyone else out of the way and peck anyone who interferes. At night time when they huddle together in the corner all you hear is squabbling for about an hour. You can hear them all bumping and squealing in the morning waiting for the coop door to open. The Barred Rock rooster is constantly running away and hiding, afraid of being attacked. I can’t tell you how many feathers are on the floor of the coop and in the run.

Enough is enough!

We put an ad online and this afternoon a very nice family of 4 came to pick them up! They were from the city and just bought a farm. They’ve never had chickens before but I gave them the tips I learned and some websites to look at. Sounds like they have a free range situation there so if they all turn out to be roosters, I’m sure they will be very happy with their new bachelor pad!

Although I miss their young crazy personalities, the girls are already so much happier without them. They are calm, cooing nicely to each other and aren’t fighting during snack time. And the Barred Rock is so docile for rooster, he joins the girls in their dust bath and snuggles with the best of them. I think life is going to be so much better. And I’m glad the white ones got a nice family to move in with!

Two Mysteries Solved

Barred Rock

Wow has our mystery chick grown!! Outgrown all the others. And I finally got confirmation on what our free mystery chick is. A Barred Rock or Plymouth Rock. A sturdy chicken and great egg layer. Now for the second mystery…..I was taking a video of the chicks coming out of the coop hoping to catch our rooster crowing. I heard a crow, but it wasn’t from the rooster I was watching! It was from this chicken who I now know is a second rooster! Ooof!  At least this one is more docile than the white one.

Sorry the video is a little long, but it’s how I found out who was crowing. You’ll notice the Barred one walk into the coop door, faintly crow and the rest of the flock freaks and makes a mad dash to the door! Funny chicks!

Little Miss Peeps

Little Miss Peeps

People wondered what ever happened to Little Miss Peeps, the baby chick we had a hard time getting to eat and drink. Well, here she is. Smaller than everyone else and a little off. We decided she truly is a special chick. She has some sort of neurological issue, holding her head to one side and having trouble walking straight ahead. It’s a little comical to watch and she likes to spend more time with us than most of the other chicks. Best of all, she seems to be very happy and healthy!

You can see a video of her here:

 

 

 

Surprise! It’s a Rooster!

First Rooster

Remember the white chicks I didn’t order that started to get brown feathers? Well, I still don’t know what the heck kind of chickens they are, but I do know something new about one of them.

I opened up the coop door this morning and the chicks started pouring out. Most of them made it outside and started pecking the ground when the speckled one in the picture said ” Ca COOOOO! It was LOUD and scared the heck out of the flock! They all ran to the coop door and climbed over each other to get in. Okay….so it wasn’t a true “cock-a-doodle-doo” but it was clearly a great adolescent attempt at a crow!

Our newly revealed little rooster was surprised to see everyone running for the door and had that “what did I do?” look on his face. He just sat dumbfounded until the other chicks decided to carefully make the trip back outside.

So…..now that we know one of those 4 white chicks I didn’t order is a rooster, that begs the question….are they all roosters?!! They have been getting obnoxious lately. Pecking at each other, staring each other down, and pecking US when we try to touch them or when we’re holding good food. Oh….and they especially like my toenail polish.

We’ve decided we can keep 1 rooster with the flock, or 2 docile roosters, but can obviously not keep 4. I read up on what to do with extra roosters, and someone suggested that roosters can get along fine with each other if there are no hens around. Maybe we can give them a bachelor pad of their own. Hubby suggested them to be free range, in other words, no chicken run. It’s a thought, but clearly he’s willing to sacrifice them more than I am.

I’ll just ride this out until we are sure how many roosters we really have! Until then, I’ll start bring my camera out every morning when I open the coop. Maybe I’ll catch a crow for you!

They Grows so Fast

8 weeks

They grow so fast! It’s their 8 week birthday and they really look and sound like full grown chickens! Just a little smaller. They aren’t easy to catch and hold anymore.

Ahhh memories. I remember the first time we opened the box when we got them in the mail. You can see the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cxB5Uy-HEA. Tiny soft fuzzballs. Little peeps….little poops. No having to run outside to see what’s going on. Now that they are big enough to be in the coop it’s just not the same.

But I guess there are good things.  The basement doesn’t smell. I’m not having to deal with pasty butt anymore. Here’s the vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAIyfk67taU.

Ok….they are more fun to play with when they’re older, even if it means bigger pecks and bigger bags of feed to buy.