Friday, July 26, 2013

Update on the chickens

As promised, here is pictures of the new babies. This blog post is going to be a bit picture heavy. The babies are crosses and because of that a bunch of them have feathers on their feet and some have fun hair-dos.  In a couple weeks they will probably be 3 months old.  They do seem smaller than our first chickens at that age.

This one's name is "Blackie"

This is Spot, our new roo.  We are pretty sure he's just a straight Barred Rock. Not sure if he's attracted by the sparkle of my rings or if he's already getting used to protecting "his girls"but he will ocasionally peck at my fingers when I'm filling their feed dishes.

I think my son named this one "White cheeks"

Even though this is a girl, we have named her "Elvis." I mean, look at that pompador.  My husband is a bit worried that she could be a he.  Time will tell.

I loved the expression in this photo.  She's also a very good flyer already.

This is a Silver Laced Wyndotte cross.  Her name is "Iggy"

This is the wee-est one of the group.  Her name is "Junior," And in Spot, Jr. She's a Barred Rock cross. She's got a little bit of a mohawk action going on.  I do believe she is my son's favorite.  She's a bit fiesty.  I do worry about her because she is the smallest.  The first night in the coop one of the other chicken's pecked her pretty hard.  While the babies were in the house the first week, my son would pull her out of the box and she would sit on his belly and just chill.

Hanging out in the coop. I noticed that Elvis kind of looks like Chewbacca in this photo.

Taking advantage of all the room in the coop and chasing each other.

They are a happy little group and stick pretty close to each other.  At night they now sleep in one of the nesting boxes all together.  It really is cute to see them snuggle under the rooster. 

We originally got six hens and one roo. ... Well, last week one of the hens started not doing so well and on Saturday we decided to put her down.  She was not going to get any better and one of my friends said just the thing that I needed to hear that helped me cope with putting that poor chick down.

While she was with us we called her "Little Red." She was an absolute sweetheart.   Very docile.  Though we realize now that it was probably because that was all she could do.  Her last day she wanted to be in the pen with her family and was happy to just be among them. Her having to be put down was probably the hardest thing to have to experience after we had to put one of our cats down in 2004.  But it was the best thing to do.

As for the Guineas ...

After we lost the majority of the flock we realize just how mean and bullyish the guineas were acting towards the chickens.  It got pretty bad.  The chickens were perpetually scared and afraid to eat. On a Thursday, three of the guineas ganged up on one of the Wynadottes in the pen and drew blood (made it's beak bleed)  DH decided enough was enough and we ended up butchering two of the guineas that night. The next night we butchered two more. The butchering process wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, my DH did the majority of the dirty work but I handled myself a lot better than I thought I would.  I guess it helps to not have any real attachment to them.  For those who are wondering, yes I did eat one of them this past weekend.  DH smoked two of them on the smoker. We ate one and gave the second one to the neighbors across the road.  They loved it!

Anywho, once we had two left and they became the minority they simmered down a bit.  They started roosting on the bottom roost.  That part was quite interesting.  They still snipped at the chickens but it was nowhere what it used to be. 

Yesterday and today while we were at work we had to keep the guineas separate from the chickens, and the chickens away from the babies.  So the two guineas got to free range, the chickens stayed in the pen and the babies stayed in the coop.  We were worried about either the guineas or the bigger chickens killing the babies.

I admit, we were a bit surprised to come home yesterday and the guineas were still alive.  Though this morning when we let them out we noticed that they wanted to wander ... We tried to drive them back to the pen area and the back yard.   No avail ... 

Guineas are very stupid animals.  They wanted to wander away from the safety of the house and this is what we came home to in the field just off to the side of the house. 

Two piles of guinea feathers. ... 

I don't have much fondness for these critters after all that has happened but I'm still disappointed that they were caught by the fox. Yes, that is one sly fox. He's not coming anywhere near the house now.  He waited until they wandered quite a ways from the house.  

Oh well, no use in dwelling on it. 

In the meantime, the remaining chickens seem to have adjusted from not having the huge flock that used to be.

She is turning into quite the little lady. She is also the first one to find her "big girl" voice. 

I'm sure they will be much happier now that there are no guineas to bully them.

This morning one of the Wynadottes found her big girl voice too.  Except it sounded a bit like she had a whiskey and cigarette problem.  I'm sure she will get it sorted out soon.

Look how fluffy this girl is. Too bad it can't all be meat, right? My son told me that this girl's name is "Eagle Face"

One of their favorite places to be, next to the deck and sometimes using that ladder as a roost. 

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