The Prodigal Son

After weeks of wondering, I finally got an update on how Black Jack was doing in his new home.  Or rather, his new new home.

My friend, Barb, who took him for us several weeks ago, had to remove him for basically the same reason I wanted to find him his own flock – her established rooster very strongly disliked him at first sight. 

After weeks of trying,unsuccessfully, to integrate him, she asked a friend without a rooster if she would take him. 

Her friend has a young flock of Rhode Island Red pullets.  No rooster.  

Her friend posted this picture today, and called it the best adoption she’d ever made.  The coop behind him looks cozy and fun.  He sings for her and is loved by his hens and his humans.  And look how big and handsome he is!! 

He’s not my Black Jack anymore, but I’m so happy for him!  

Rehoming, Reareanging 

Black Jack went to his new home today.  He’ll be free ranging with a flock of young pullets after his integration period. 

Little Dude was really sad to see him go, but I explained that this was the best option for Jack that didn’t involve fighting Double Dots for survival or going to Freezer Camp.  

Out last picture of Black Jack on his way to hos new home

When we returned home, the Littles were all inside the coop, save for handful of fearless ones.  They were subdued and quiet, no doubts missing their leader.  I’m going to miss him, too, and that special weird crow of his. 

  I wonder how long it will take before one of the other little boys will try their hands (beak?) at being the leader?  I hope it won’t be the little club-foot one because he is obnoxious.  

In a couple more weeks, we will be working towards culling the rest of the little boys and beginning the integration process.

The Littles will be 12 weeks this coming week, and I’m hoping to begin combining flocks by 15 weeks.  They should, hopefully, be able to defend themselves against the older hens by then.  

Friday & Farewell

There’s a lot to cover this Friday afternoon.  

I’ll start with the chick’s 11th weekaversary pic:

Black Jack, Scarlett and Tweety

My spring chicks have all turned 11 weeks old.  They are starting to look like feathered sardines on the grow up coop, just like they used to in the brooder.  

That means I need to start thinking about how, and when, I’m going to integrate them.  And how, and when, the 6 roosters meet their Fate(s).  

The fate of one of them has already been decided. 

I found a home for my beautiful Black Jack.


He is going to a new home, with a flock of his own.  Probably sometime this weekend.  I’m going to miss him, but I know this is for the best.  He will get the flock he deserves and I won’t wind up a basket case because he was culled.  

Remind me next time not to fall in love the roosters I know I can’t keep.  Okay? 

This morning, I let one of the Orpingtons come out to the pasture with me and I got a beautiful photo shoot out of the deal:


He had so much fun, and actually ran away into the tall grass around the pond, so I couldn’t get him.  I wound up leaving him there, cleaning the coops and then coming back for him.  

None of the bigger chickens seemed to mind, or even noticed, so I guess it was all good. 

water cooler gossip
firget the watercooler! the buckey water is better
my broody girl, Claire, trying tonforce her way intonthe coop. there were four hens blocking her parh from the inside
they finally moved, in she goes
the Littles enjoying theirnmorning ‘salad’ of grass, clover leaves and dandelion

Chicken Tunnels, Part 2

Our chicken tunnels became a reality this weekend.

DH spent most of the day on Saturday measuring and building the last of the enclosure and new ramp.

We put the access door on the inside of the ‘grow up coop,’ as a slide up door.  It slides out, and then little ones can go outside at will now.

The first day was difficult for them, because they couldn’t figure out how to go up the ramp and I think they spent a good 4 hours outdoors with no access to water or their food because they wouldn’t go up the ramp.

Little Dude actually squeezed himself into the small chicken door and into the enclosure to “help” them learn the ramp.

Yesterday, we just opened it and let them go on their own. They all did fine.

 

They really do seem to like it and the new found freedom it allow.

And I’m enjoying the chance to see how this change in venue brings out their personalities.  The 6 little boys spent the first day having ‘rooster races’ from one end of the tunnel system to the next.   The girls explored and scratched in the dirt.

Black Jack and Dots got to “face off” on opposite sides of the fence.  Jack in definitely an alpha rooster, and Dots definitely sees him as a tiny little nemesis.  They pace, crow at each other… and there is lots of bluster back and forth.

A part of me would love to keep Black Jack.  He’s a beautiful boy and very friendly otherwise.

But a part of me thinks he and Dots will have an all out war once integration happens.  And let’s face it… integration is going to happen.  I’m aiming for sometime in the 14-17  week range, so that’s really only about a month and a half away.

Does anyone want a beautiful Australorp rooster?  10 weeks old, very friendly and handsome?

 

 

Chicks in Tunnels, Part 1

Well, now that my Littles are getting bigger and have all their feathers, we’ve been busy devising a way for them to use the run and go outside on nice days -if we ever GET ANY nice days this Spring – and still keep them relatively safe. 

I have, in occasion, brought a couple of them outside at the same time as the Big Flock and it was … Interesting.  Peanut and Lola antagonized a couple of the older hens and then freaked out when the hens tried to defend themselves.  

I am unsure if the older girls would have hurt them had I not been supervising, because they did not hurt Pip even after Abby stopped defending him.  Mostly they chased, lunged and left him to run away.  

Would they have attacked them?  I don’t know because all interactions have been supervised.  

However, as the Littles get bigger and it gets (hopefully) warmer, they deserve to go outside and be safe.  

We first thought to simply split the run into two unequal halves.  

But then I thought – why not tunnels?  We could put s border of tunnels around the existing run, and add a second chicken door into the ‘grow up coop.’  This would allow the Littles to go outside and remain safe from not only the older chickens but also from predators who might seek to make a snack out of a small chicken.  

panorama of the run & tunnel

up close of the corner
DH connecting the last tunnel
Black Jack checking things out
Black Jack, Peanut and Briar Rose

It’s not done yet, and won’t be done until next weekend, mostly because DH has to go out of town, but the tunnels themselves are done.  We let some of the chicks check it out, and they seemed to like it.  

I’ll post ‘Part 2’ once we get it finished.  

8 Weeks

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Peanut, Tweetie and Briar Rose just wanted to let you know that everyone is having an 8-week-aversary this week.

All except for Pip, for is in his mid-20 weeks range now.

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But still as handsome as ever!

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This little guy here is Black Jack.  This is last week’s pic of him, but he’s my boy with the most waddle and biggest comb.

Since mid-week, he’s been trying to crow.

Since the first time I heard it, I’ve been trying to get a video of it for you all.

Jack is not cooperating and in fact, shuts up as soon as I turn on the phone.

He is a stinker.

Yesterday, however, his pathetic attempts at a crow drew the attention of our big rooster, Double Dots.   Dots has been contending with Pip (his son), for months now, but hasn’t paid much attention to the babies.

Black Jack’s crow, however broken and misformed it is, was taken as a challenge.  Dots burst into the coop and met the challenge with a hearty Rr-Rr-Rr of his own.

Jack croaked back.

Another Rr-Rr-Rr from Dots.

Another croak.

They challenged each other two more times before Dots bugled out three Rr-Rr-Rr’s in quick succession.

Poor little Jackie wasn’t sure what to say, so he went to the back of the grow-up coop and laid down.

Dots buck-bucked and went back outside, still content to be king of the flock.

I am still trying to get Black Jack’s “crow” on record, but he only does it when I am not prepared.

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The girls could care less about the testosterone contests.  It’s warm and there’s a nice place to dirt bathe.

Life is good.