Jeremiah pulled the covers back and kissed me goodbye at about 7:30. I was still in bed, unmotivated to get up and start my Sunday.
“I put fly masks on the horses and scrubbed the trough. The stalls are clean, and the water buckets are filled. The chickens are fed. The barn cats are let out. And don’t let our cats convince you to give them second breakfast” [for those of you who haven’t met them, our house cats are basically hobbits…] “because I just fed them too.”
I rolled over to say thank you when a rooster crowed in the distance, as though he knew he’d been left out.
“Oh, right,” Jeremiah continued, “I let the chickens out too.”
Jeremiah is gone a lot for work, especially lately, but when he has time, he does a sweep of the barn before leaving so that I don’t have to worry…
My small little clutch of eggs that were hatched out by the most unlikely hen, have reach a ripe age of 7 weeks yesterday!
Mother hen threw up her wings at 5 1/2 weeks… What a trooper she is! In all honesty, the chicks were starting to get really big. Three out of the five are Roosters!!! I’m so disappointed, I knew that I had 1 cockerel (and I was okay with that since loosing my big boy Franky), and now I will have two cockerels to re-home. I so wish I could trust them to get along, but we all know that’s not possible.
This morning I watched Mother hen peeking in on her pullets and cockerels, but not wanting to say hello… She wants to keep them in a pecking order according to her rank. The other day I had them all out together (older hens and young ones) and she was the only one pecking them on the head. Mother hens can be mean.
My next difficult decision will be .. which Roo to keep! I already have an opinion on the Easter Egger / RIR mix …I think too aggressive of Rooster for me! I don’t need wimpy, but would like to walk across the lawn and not have to worry :). After reading up on these two as a cross, I’m a bit skeptical. This young Roo is already trying out his vocals and pushing his weight around!!! The only plus to keeping him over one of the others are his comb and wattles at maturity (Egger has pea comb and little to no wattles). Winters are tough here in Catskill Mountains – that would mean less frost bite to worry about. The other crosses are a Buff / RIR and a Barred Rock or a Black Sex Link (I don’t know since I find genetics so difficult), both cockerels are beautiful ~ I will have to see how their personalities develop.
I have the next few months (Sept through early Nov) to integrate them into the flock. I have split the coop in half (they can be seen by the older hens) and will let them out separately and together under supervision. I was able to pull it off without a hitch two summers ago when introducing 8 new pullets to 5 hens and a Rooster. This time I’m expecting 13 hens to give 2 pullets and a young cockerel the business.
I hope to come out of this unscathed… or I should say, the new additions unscathed 🙂
On August 2nd, 2015 my RIR Rooster Franky who just fathered 5 beautiful fluffy butts died in my arms of an apparent heart attack. He was majestic, larger then life and took the responsibility of his hens very seriously.
For the past month he was showing signs of fatigue, he was brought to my vet who has chickens of her own and we tested (which came back negative for anything), and covered all illnesses with two rounds of different antibiotics. He never turned the corner…
It was so sad to see such a strong Rooster decline so quickly…. My heart breaks as my yard is now so quiet. My hens don’t know what to make of it – I haven’t let them out for the last two weeks to free range because I had Franky inside with me.
I have been wondering if Franky whispered in my hens ear and said “it’s time to make babies.” Or better yet, my hen instinctively knowing something was wrong and that he wouldn’t survive. She got the job done and put a clutch of eggs together. I’m so proud of her…
Either way, I’m Happy that I have his offspring…. Hybrids be what they may….