I have intended to do a post on the chickens for a while now. I know some of you are wondering what happened to Helen’s four chicks and how they are doing. Unfortunately, two of them ended up being roosters.
Sadie, a ‘Splash’ Blue Cochin is one them that turned out to be a rooster. When I first started suspected ‘she’ was a ‘he’, I started calling him, ‘Saddam.’ I kept on having this nagging feeling that I was somehow cursing him by calling him that, so I finally decided to call him, ‘Sammy’. Sammy liked to peck on the others for the fun of it, and even pecked me. He was causing problems due to the fact that there were now three roosters in the flock. I tried to sell him on Craigslist but nobody wanted him. Then one day, I found out from one of my neighbors’ husbands that his wife always made a point to watch for ‘that chicken with the bloomers’ whenever they drove past our house. I immediately said, “Would you like to have him?” His wife came over later that day. She has some hens that needed a rooster. Now, Sadie/Saddam/Sammy has a new name (Fancy Pants) and is doing quite well at his new home.
Ingeborg is an Ameraucana. She turned out to be a rooster, which we re-named to ‘Ignacio’. Now, he is just Iggy or, affectionately, ‘The Igster’. He is a nervous little guy. He spooks easily and is terrified of me, especially when I take him off the roost in the evenings and cuddle him…but he’s so much fun to snuggle. He basically just freezes up, and, like Rudy, the other rooster, secretly enjoys the attention, though he’d never admit it. Iggy loves the women, but they don’t love him. Helen’s two other chicks that turned out to be hens defected to Rudy’s clan. That doesn’t keep Iggy from trying to love them, though. He still thinks they belong to him.
Meela is a Rhode Island Red. She has been laying for several months now. Bud named her. Our other Rhode Island Red is named, ‘Eula’, after my grandmother (Pronounced: YOU-la) and Bud being the Punster that he is named this new Rhode Island Red Meela (Pronounced: Me-la). Get it? YOU-la and ME-la. Well, I thought it was cute. Iggy is hopelessly smitten with her, even though it is unrequited. He will often stand on the bar to the nesting box and stick his head in there while Meela is laying her egg.
Vivien is a Lavender Orpington. She, too, has been laying for several months. She is very mild mannered and timid and sticks very close to Rudy for protection.
A while back, Henrietta went broody. Since allowing Helen to raise chicks was such a positive experience, we thought we would try letting Henrietta raise some chicks. Not only is our original flock aging and laying less frequently, but we also wanted some ladies for Iggy. If you have too many roosters per hen, they really get beat up from rooster spurs on their back and/or loss of feathers where the rooster grabs on the back of their head or neck to position himself. Henrietta has been ‘snatched bald-headed.’ She almost looks like has had a lobotomy due to the missing feathers on the top and back of her head. Sometimes, I think she could USE a lobotomy.
So, I ordered some Ameraucana eggs for Henrietta to hatch, and I put one of our eggs under her, hoping it would keep her on the nest until the eggs arrived. She was a great broody! Didn’t get off the nest much at all; however, when only one egg hatched (the ‘barnyard mix’ egg from our flock) she continued to stay on the other eggs. I removed them out from under her five days after the official due date. She still would not take the chick out to forage and still seemed broody.
I finally made the decision to get some more chicks from the feed store. We got 5 Rhode Island Reds to replace the eggs I removed from her. I’ve heard that some broodies will take on new chicks. Henrietta has always been a little ‘high strung’. She did not like the new chicks and would peck on them. She freaked out because they would not respond to her noises like the other chick. I finally made the decision to raise the new five chicks inside under a heat lamp. I didn’t want to do that, and I wasn’t prepared.
When I put Henrietta outside with her chick, watching her closely, she was not attentive to the chick much. When a rooster came after her, she flew over the creek and left her chick. This worried me greatly. What if a cat came by and she left her chick? Helen would never do something like that. I made the decision to raise Henrietta’s chick with the other new chicks inside. I think this decision was also good so that the one chick can be part of the group.
The chicks are all doing great. We put them outside in a fenced off area sometimes to let them get some sun. Inside, I was keeping them in a cage until they outgrew it. I finally bought a dog playpen on Amazon.com, and it has worked out pretty well. It has a zippered netting on the top.
Bud made a little roost for them, and they really like it! I also put a little pie pan full of dirt for them to dust in, and I often mix in meal worms, oatmeal, sunflower seeds or scratch for them to dig for.
The only bad thing is that one of the chicks I got from the feed store has turned out to be a ROOSTER. Oh no. 😦 We might be eating him when he gets big enough. The chicks are about five weeks old. I can’t believe how fast they grow! We will be moving them to the hen house once they are fully feathered in about a week.
Helen has gone broody, and I put some of our Buff Orpington eggs under her. Since Rudy will most likely be the father, they will not be a barnyard mix, but full-blooded Buff’s. I also put a few other mixed breeds in there, too. Helen’s chicks are due this coming week. Needless to say, I think we’ll have plenty of eggs! The more the merrier, right?