Troubling Times

Double Dots, my three year old Golden Comet rooster

A couple of weeks ago, a troubling thing happened.

I was standing in the barnyard observing my flock, as I am prone to do. Pavelle had her babies outside and I wanted to get pictures. Also, as I am prone to do.

The chickens were milling around about me, as they are prone to do.

I was holding my phone, paying more attention to Pavelle and her babies than anything else, when sudden my I heard flapping of wings and felt bird feet on the back of my head. A couple of seconds later, my head rooster, Dots, goes flying over top my head and lands on the ground next to me.

He flew at my head.

It was puzzling, to say the least. Was he attacking me? Trying to perch on my shoulder or head?

Needless to say I’ve been a little (a lot) more mindful of where he is in the barnyard when I am down there now.

And then… Yesterday it happened again. I was in the barnyard with my daughter, watching the chickens. She was holding her favorite hen. Dots was behind us on the barn stairs and suddenly starts flapping his wings and launches himself at me. He did not connect this time or get as high off the ground. But my Girl witnessed it and needless to say, we were both shocked.

This is a rooster I have raised from a baby. He usuallyets me pick him up, cuddle him, let him. He comes to the sound of his name. If I sit on the steps, he has been known to come and sit on my lap.

So, I ask myself, “what is going on with my handsome man?” Have I done something? Is he jealous of my attention paid to the younger roosters? Is he confused because I have lost 96 lbs and no longer look like the Mom who raised him?

Or is this a change in hormones or temperament?

He’s three years old, though and in that time, he has never been a bad rooster. He still is letting me pick him up and carrying him. Still likes pets, neck rubs and water massages.

I just don’t know what to make of this. I hope I don’t have to make a hard decision.

And Baby Makes Four

Occasionally when I go to the coop to be with my chickens, I have the opportunity to witness one of my hens laying their eggs.  Such was the case three weeks ago when I witnessed my sweet, inquisitive Maicey laying her egg.

I had a broody hen (Briar Rose) whom I intended to give eggs to that night, so I picked up Maicey’s egg and tucked it away so it would not get mixed in with the other eggs.  So I knew who that egg belonged to.

When I gave Briar her eggs, I labeled them, and Maicey’s egg became known as #1.

Number #1 turned out to be the fourth egg of five to hatch.  (We are still waiting to know the fate of the fifth.)

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It is a tiny little baby, with red downy feathers, a small crested-looking head and, much to my surprise when I picked it up to say “hello” … slightly feathered legs.

For those of you keeping score at home… I have three crested birds.  Pavelle, the little Pavlovskaya, and her two children, Heather and Phillip.

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Phillip, who is Pavelle and Pip’s offspring, is the only rooster I have right now capable of siring a crested (or in this case, partially crested) chick.  He is, himself, a barnyard mix of Pavlovskaya, Rhode Island Red and Golden Comet, which would make this little chick 2-parts RiR, Comet and Pavlov.  With feathered legs like its Auntie Heather. 

I’m excited.  I really am.  Not only is Maicey one of our favorite hens, but this is also Pip’s grand-baby.   You all know how much I love(d) and miss my little Pipsqueak.  And Phillip acts so much like his papa.   I’m so excited!

There is one more egg we’re waiting on to hatch.  I’ll let you all know how it goes in the morning.

 

Babies!!!

Day 19 and Briar Rose is anxiously awaiting for the hatch of her first little ones. One egg was pipped this morning before I left for work. I returned at Noon to two pips and the sounds of cheeps.

And also to Ashley sitting on them because she is still trying to borrow Briar’s nest.

So we removed Ashley and gave Briar back her babies… and then put four eggs under Ashley. I’ll talk about that later.

By 4:15 pm … still oy two pips, but they are bigger holes now and this one is almost free. There will be at least one baby by bedtime, I’m sure.

Good luck, Briar Rose and Babies!

Too Many Broodies

The Broody Bug has bitten my flock – big time!

First, there was Pavelle, who went back in March, but thanks to the cold and snow, I was able to convince her that it wasn’t time for babies.

Then, she went broody again, and as we all know now, has three week old babies.

The week Pavelle’s babies hatched, one of my Australorps went broody. All the way broody.

Briar Rose, a two year old Australorp who has never been broody before.

I gave Briar six eggs. When I candled them the first week, all six were developing nicely. Sadly, half way through the second week, one of the eggs was broken in a next squabble.

Five eggs remain, and they are due to hatch this Sunday.

Briar has been a good broody in the same tradition of Abby and the Buff Orps. She has barely left the next for anything since she started this adventure. She also tolerates me petting her (with screeches but no biting) and allows me to lift her up to count eggs and remove ones she has stolen from other nests.

I’m looking forward to seeing how she does with her babies this weekend.

And while Briar was sitting in her babies, another Australorp went broody.

Ashley.

We all remember Ashley, don’t we?

Ashley, who was a decent enough broody, but a questionable momma last time.

Ashley went hard and fast last week while I was working a full time week and no one was watching what she was doing. After the last time, I had decided that it might not be a good idea to give her eggs again, lest she lose those chicks like she did Maxie and her siblings. Last year when she went broody, I was able to put in the dog crate and break her.

This time? She wasn’t caught in time and she’s so deep in it could take a long while to break.

Also, she’s been pushing Briar off her nest in an attempt to have those babies. I have to remove her twice a day, leading to me wonder which hen will be on the nest when the first baby hatches.

I’ve been debating just giving her a handful of eggs and getting it over with, because maybe she’s matured in the last two years?

But then yesterday… This happened…

Amy, a three year old Rhode Island Red who has never been broody before.

Amy is one of the RiRs who go through the motions every spring but never follow through. She’s done it two years in a row but never actually falls broody. She spent most of mid-April walking around in “thinking about it” mode and then stopped. I assumed that was the end of it.

Silly me.

Yesterday, I found her in a box, puffed up and bucky. I guess with Briar and Ashley acting like it’s fun, she went and jumped off the deep end.

So now I have two extra Broodies. I need to come to a decision about Ashley soon, and now Amy as well.

Do I give them both eggs? Or let Ashley chill out in the dog crate for a while? Can I trust her again after last time?  Decisions, decisions.

 

See How We’ve Grown!

On Thursday, Pavelle’s two little chicks will be three weeks old. Last week, she moved them out of the cat carrier nursery where they hatched and into the nests. I know, I know, we’re not supposed to encourage our chickens to sleep in the nests, but YOU explain that to a broody momma with babies to protect. Especially my little attack pineapple. Seriously, it’s much better to just let Pavelle handle her babies in her own way and clean up after them than it is to try and impose my will on her.

Other things to note… I was quite wrong about them not having feathered legs. The bigger of the two, who came from an olive EE-cross egg does, in fact, have feathered legs. Given the overall size of the chick and yellow coloring, I am guessing Sylvester the Buff Brahma to be the father.

They go outside almost every day now. Almost because we’ve had very up and down weather, and on the cooler, rainier days, Pavelle does not stray too far from the coop.

Here are some pictures of them from around the 1 1/2 – 2 week mark. If you look closely at the bigger, non-black chick’s legs, you can see the feathers on the sides.

 

And now here are some pics from over this past weekend.

 

 

Rhode Island Eggers

I wanted to share with you all what the “Rhode Island Eggers” in my flock look like.

Again, these pullets had Rhode Island Red mommas and an Easter Egger father.

This is Nutmeg. Her mother was an RiR hen. Her father was an EE rooster.
She has the look of an RiR, doesn’t she? Body-wise, I mean.
See? From the back, you could hardly distinguish her or her sister Cocoa from the older RiRs.
But those cheeks tell a different story!

And that’s Nutmeg. 😀

She and Cocoa are curious little birds with gentle personalities. A little skittish of humans sometimes but not in the freak-out way my full EE hen Padme is. They approach me for treats held in my hand and listen when I talk to them, but dislike being held.