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.
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:
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!
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!