It is with heavy heart I tell you that we had another visit from the fox. In order to save the life of the remaining ladies, my family helped us play our last game of Chicken Ninja sneaking the survivors into the neighbors coop in the dark. They will finish living out their days there and we will still be able to visit them.
Since there is already a rooster in the coop Stewart was not invited. He’s too big for the littles so we couldn’t put him in with them. His crow turned so sad that after a couple days I took him to the Rooster Rescue and the owner fell in love. So hopefully that means he will get extra special treatment.
Terrible lesson learned. Next time we bring in new chicks they will be raised in the barn and not let out until they are full size while the veterans still stay in the coop and predator proof run. We are now considering a chicken tractor for either the veterans or the littles in life transition. A chicken tractor is a fully covered run with a small coop that you drag anywhere you want. Picture it! The ladies get a new area to investigate every couple days! On 10 acres there will always be new greens and bugs to peck on!
I know this blog is supposed to be rated PG 13 so if you take offense to chicken 3 ways you may want to skip this post.
When we got these chicks 3 years ago I fell in love with a beautiful blue girl who truly glowed when she was younger. I named her Blue. She stuck out like the celebrity she was. Unfortunately at some point she became the meanest of mean girls and took on the nastiest of personalities!
Not only was she pecking at every chicken in her path, she also started to do something I have never seen before. First, she sucked up to Stewart the Rooster who actually let her take over his reign in a way! I knew Stewie wasn’t all that smart, but come on!!
As Stewart was wooing one of the ladies Blue came running up, knocked Stewie off the hen and then jumped on her herself! What the Flock??!!!!!! This on top of a number of peck wounds on all the ladies backs! Everyone was getting stressed out!
At one point one of my neighbors asked me if I wanted to get rid of any of my chickens because he had lost a few. I took this as an opportunity. Here is how the text messages went:
Me: Still interested in a egg layer? She sucked up to the rooster and is beating up a few girls. Thinking a change in flock might knocker her off her high horse.
Neighbor: Sure. Some night after they go to roost we can bring her into the coop and put her on the roost next to the others and when they wake up they will have a new friend.
Me: Is tonight ok? I’ll do it myself.
Neighbor: Your guys are welcome to.
If you have never heard of a chicken Ninja you have now. Chickens turn into zombies in the dark. It’s like when you try and wake up at 3 am in the morning and are not functioning. So after dark as the chicken Ninja, I carefully peeled away Blue from Stewart off the roost and carried her to the neighbors coop. I placed her right next to the rooster and snuck out. Next text……
Me: Package has been delivered!
The next day I walked to the fence line to get a look at the neighbors chicken yard and I didn’t see Blue. What happened to her? Now I was a little worried but decided to give it a day. Next text…….
Neighbor: Blue is doing really good. Slow first day to come out but yesterday you’d never know she wasn’t an original part of the group.
What a relief. I’ve visited blue a couple times. The neighbors chickens are mostly giant Brahmas so there is no way tiny blue will ever create a problem there.
I couldn’t resist. The old ladies were free ranging and I was going into the coop to feed the littles. The old ladies were trying to fight their way inside so I got curious as to how they would react to the little girls. So……I let one of them in!
Interestingly enough the buffs were more interested in the food bucket than the littles! Stewart the Rooster was the funniest. All I could see in his eyes was ….”additions to my harem!” The Easter Egger was the most curious. She spent the most time checking them out. Unfortunately something I noticed about Easter Eggers is they tend to look and act a little more wild than the other chicken breeds.
I was soaking one of the Egger’s feet one night next to the brooder when the chicks were only a week old. The older Egger got a wild look in her eyes, darted glances all about the cage and had her mouth hanging open! Yikes! She scared me a little! Yet the Eggers are still my favorite. No, they do not have fluffy feathered butts like the others, and when you need to catch them they run much faster. They can be a pain!
But now we have a coop full of young, overactive Rhode Island Reds. They are taking a very long time establishing the pecking order. Bumping chests, flying at each other in the air and pecking like mad! Makes me wonder if we have roosters in this batch again! If not is this a sneak peak of a future angry flock?! Double yikes!
Well, I guess we will see! Wish me luck!
Watch the older chickens checking out the Littles on the their YouTube channel:
For those of you who have been following the ladies, you know that Stewart is the young rooster that we gave to hens for Valentine’s Day last year! Well……he wasn’t as strong as we were hoping.The brutal ladies refused to let him grow a nice flowing tail. Every time he had new pin feathers starting to grow the ladies would literally yank them out of his butt! How humiliating!
He still has an awesome singing voice and loves to share it at all hours of the day and night, to my neighbor’s dismay! Such a funny boy!
Although still not dominant enough to fully earn the ladies respect, he has at least been able to keep them off his hiney! Finally Stewy has a partially filled in long black/green tail! There is still some white fuzz where more feathers should grow from.
So here is a personally written poem to my favorite, be it my only boy:
Stewart, as a leader you fail Such a sad and pointless tail Listen to my plea you hear Keep your girlfriends off your rear!
Get a good look at Stewart’s new tail and hear his beautiful singing voice on the ladies YouTube channel:
Stewart is finally getting bigger than the ladies! He’s looking a lot more like a rooster! Unfortunately molting season came and everyone lost their feathers. Now that feathers are growing back the ladies are starting to look lovely again. But what’s this? Stewart seems to be missing something……… His Tail! Now why isn’t Stewies tail big and tall like a real rooster? After a few weeks of pitying the poor boy I figured out what was wrong. The ladies are taking to pulling his tail feather out! How do they do that? They literally get behind him and check out his butt. If there are any baby pin feathers on his rear end, they grab it with their beak and pluck it out! It’s terrible to watch! This big proud rooster not even running away and squeaking at every pull! Stand up for yourself Stewart! Don’t let these ladies take away your rooster-hood!
Although Stewart still looks a little beat up from his battle against lice and mites, he is getting bigger and starting to look a little sexy to the ladies! Or maybe it’s just another power hungry Buff Orpington wanting to be top hen by trying to win Stewy’s approval! Who knows with these cute, innocent looking Buff ladies who seem sweet and loving but in reality they have pecked me and the other hens more times than I can count!
Still, it was adorable to see her watching Stewart crow and then jump up next to him trying to get his attention. At first he ignored her, so she scooted in closer. Then he took a quick look and went back to crowing. After awhile she leaned in to try and preen his face but he took a couple steps away from her and went about his business.
Ohhhh! Dissed! Poor Girl! She looked so dejected.
Love will come another day.
Watch Stewy and the wannabe top hen on the What the Flock YourTube Channel:
We had more requests for eggs this last week for Easter but had to disappoint everyone with the ladies still not fully up to speed on egg laying. So we decided they needed more entertainment.
Poor Stewart, the new rooster, is too much of a gentleman during snack time. He patiently waits for the ladies to get their fill before he eats. Unfortunately they never leave anything for him!
I thought we would kill two birds with stone……well not exactly how I should phrase that! BUT I wanted to give Stewart a chance to get his favorite snack, sweet peppers, while entertaining the ladies to make them happier. Happy chickens lay more eggs, right?
So I created a different kind of Easter Egg hunt. I scattered sliced sweet peppers Everywhere in the run, opened the coop door and let them make a mad dash out to find their snacks. “Go Stewart!” I cheered many times but every time he put his head down one of the ladies ran up and he’d back up as if saying “its all ours!”. Then he got……distracted. After all, he is a 1 year old testosterone driven rooster! Need I say more.
Once again, Stewart did not get any sweet peppers. Poor Stewart.
Watch the Easter Egg Hunt on the ladies’ YouTube Channel:
So the ladies have been behaving badly over the winter due to being cooped up. They are picking on each other, causing a lot of stress and not laying many eggs. We’ve tried giving them toys, covering their lack of feather areas with aprons and giving them a variety of snacks.
Well they are getting an early Valentine’s Day gift! Meet Stewart…..the new 1 year old rooster we saved from the butcher! (averted being stew!)
I did my research and the consensus was that a rooster is the the best thing for a large flock of hens. The rooster wants to protect his hens and will insist on order. He will keep them in line and will sacrifice himself if a predator tries to attack.
At first the biggest mother hen tried to cross him, after all she’s twice his age! He had none of it. He put every hen back in her place and then herded them to keep them together. He’s awful pretty to boot!
After a few hours Stewart was standing in the middle of the chicken run surrounded by the meanest girls, the Buffs, and they were preening him and giving him kisses! I wish I could have caught that on video.
I hope Stewart has a long and happy life with his new harem!
Watch as Stewart asserts himself on the ladies’ YouTube Channel:
Watch how Stewart herds his ladies on their YouTube Channel: