Father and Sons

I just wanted to share this post, because I have the best roosters in the world.  


Double Dots, my Golden Comet (aka sexlink) rooster.  He’s a year and a half old and the ‘papa’ of the coop.  

Pip, his oldest son, who is now 10 and a half months old.  Pip is his father’s right hand man, a protective big brother and learning to be a good boyfriend to the hens.  

Dani, (I should call him Danny now but he’s been Dani so long and it sounds the same so he doesn’t know he has a girl name.) who is just trying to earn a place.  He’ll probably wind up in Freezer Camp, sadly, but he’s starting to grow into himself.   

Do you see the family resemblance between father and sons?  

Do you have roosters you think are ‘the best in the world’?  

Tell me about them.  

Pip Answers the Call

Pip guards the gate, fervently watching for intruders from beyond the tall grass. In the distance, Double Dots calls outs to the flock. His papa, his leader, his mentor. Pip answers the call.

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I’ve been waiting for so long now to hear Pip’s crow.  Dots had his for so long, and then Black Jack.  And now one of the other Little Roo-lings has been crowing.  But aside from DH and Sad claiming to have heard him, I have not.  

This morning, I heard my Pip Chick loud and clear. 

My ‘baby boy’ is a boy no longer.  He is a man! 

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?

 

 

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.

The Busier I Get, the More I Forget

So… I totally forgot the Week-aversaries this past week.

Here are Peanut (representing the Mystery Bin Girls, as always), an Unnamed Australorp and an Unnamed Buff Orpington.

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Peanut and her Mystery Bin sisters are turning 5 Weeks tomorrow.   The Australorps and BO’s are now 4 1/2 weeks.  I chose to compare them this way to show how they match up for size.  Peanut is average-sized for the older ones.  There are a couple smaller than her.  This Australorps are all around the same size-ish, and the BO is one of the smaller ones.  There’s one that’s as big as Peanut!!!

Next I may change things up and take individual pictures of one group of them.  Maybe we can play a round of ‘hen or roo’ at the 5-week mark and see how many we get right as things progress.

I spaced off pictures of Pip this week.  He’s 19 weeks old.  It might be time to stop celebrating his week-aversaries now. However, if you’re interested… here are Dots and Pip (father & son) at the same age, roughly.

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Pip, of course, is a cross between the sexlink (Dots) and a Rhode Island Red hen.  I believe they have the same mannerisms and facial features.  Even if they don’t the same coloring, Pip still reminds me a LOT of his papa.  They are both handsome lads.  🙂

A Tale of Two Roosters

If you’ve been following my stories about Broody Abby and Pip, you know that our flock now has two roosters.


Double Dots, often mostly called Dots.  He will turning 1 year old in a couple of weeks and has been the king of the flock and sole protector since September.

He’s my “Gentleman Rooster” who woos the ladies with all the smooth moves, waits patiently for them to eat treats and scratch before he does and stands guard when they dirt bathe.


And Pip, aka Little Pipsqueak, because that’s what he was when Abby hatched him.  A tiny yellow pipsqueak who kept the whole coop up at night with a non-stop commentary of “cheep-chee-cheep.”

He’s turning 18 weeks tomorrow and is starting to wonder why none of the ladies like him.

He stands guard, too, mostly from the roosts or the window of the coop, and he tries to point out good things for the hens to eat, imitating what he’s seen his papa do.

They ignore him in favor of Dots.

Dots has him regulated to the window and rafters.

They have never really fought.  Pip has a healthy respect for papa and all Dots has to do is buck-buck, ruffle feathers and run at him in the right tone of voice and Pip returns to his designated areas.

Chastised and sulky, but without injury.

Dad thinks we need to get rid of one of them.

But… We have twelve hens in the coop and eighteen chicks in the brooder who are almost ready to leave it.

At least six of those are girls who might find Pip attractive as a mate/protector someday.

And Pip is ours.  Our home-grown baby boy who didn’t come from a store or hatchery.  He came from our farm, our stock.

I don’t want to get rid of him.  I feel that the flock is big enough to sustain two, maybe three, roosters.  So long as they get along well.

Pip, being raised in the coop all winter with Momma, Papa and his “aunties” does seem to have a healthy respect for Papa’s rules.  There have been no challenges and all the pecking has been the hens pecking to warn him off.

Very little chaos.
For those of you reading this…. how many roosters do you have?  Do they get along in the same space?  Can Pip and Dots possibly cohabitate and learn to work as a team? Or am I just deluding myself?  Will I someday have to choose between Little Dude’s favorite rooster (Dots) and the baby chick  (Pip) we raised this year?

 

(In case anyone is wondering, any of the new brooder bunch chicks who are boys, I intend to rehome or send to freezer camp, so as of right now, none of them are in contention to be keepers.)

 

Lots and Lots

Well, I’m not sure where to start because I’ve been busy this whole week and it’s caught up with me.  Tuesday was My Girl’s birthday and I’ve been busy planning her Sweet 16.  Hard to believe.  Then Thursday was my birthday, as well as St. Patrick’s Day.

Friday was the Australorp & Buff Orpington babies’ 1-week-aversaries.  I took pictures, as per the usual.

Day 1 – Black Australorps and Buff Orpington

 

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Week 1 – Black Australorp & Buff Orpington

Today was their 2-week, but I’ll have to get it later because I’ve been busy with party planning all day.  I also missed the Mystery Bin Girl’s 2-week on Tuesday.  I’ll try to snag pictures of at least Peanut tomorrow.

One of the reasons for the busy week was this – one of my Littles had a bum leg and I had to take care of her.

I have video of her leg before and after-care on my Youtube.  We named her Baby and brought her into the house in a Chick Containment Unit.

Here she is today… about 4 days after being returned to her flock.

She was actually crouching to jump down.  In the brooder, she is no different than anyone else.

My Pip Chick is turning 16 weeks tomorrow…

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Here he is today…

For those of you following along at home… I’m calling the “Pip vs Pippi” drama over.  This chick is a BOY.  He stands tall and walks more upright than the girls, behaves just like papa, and already has pointy little nubs where spurs will someday be.

And look at those waddles and comb!!!  It’s bigger than the adult hens now.  NOT a girl. If this child lays an egg in 4 weeks… it will be a miracle.

 

 

An Early Christmas Gift…

… for my birds.

Yesterday DH, the kids and I finished up the last of our Christmas shopping.  After wrapping and packaging up gift baskets for teachers and the bus driver, we headed down to the barn to collect the last of the eggs for the day, count heads and lock up the chickens for the night.

I was apprehensive because while we were busy, this was happening in the barn yard:

Abby took Pip waaaay outside the run today, and let him explore the weeds in the barnyard.
Abby took Pip waaaay outside the run today, and let him explore the weeds in the barnyard.

As you can see, the snow from Saturday didn’t last long. We still had a small powdering yesterday morning but by afternoon it was mostly a memory.  Abby decided to show Pip the secret treasures a weed patch can hold.  Personally, I think that he’d be better off looking in the spring, when there are actually bugs to find.  But what do I know?

So, I was apprehensive, because while I was snapping this picture, Little Dude spotted a bigger, darker figure flying overhead, looking for God only knows what, and Pip is just small enough to snatch if the big flying shadow hungry enough.

It must not have been, because Pip was in the coop with his Momma, Papa and Aunties when we went down to lock them up.

DH came with us, and we gave the chickens an early Christmas present… a new roost for their coop.

A little back-story here, but before Thanksgiving, Dad and I clipped their wings so that we could lock them in the run on the days we go away and can’t watch them.  I think I’ve mentioned in other posts that, some days the barn yard and pasture aren’t enough for them and these chickens cross the road to come looking for… I’m not sure what.  Me?  Little Dude??  Bugs???  Greener grass????

And while it’s less of a problem on days when someone is here to see them safely back across the road, on holidays where we might be gone it’s a huge problem.  (The fence is in the planning stages now.  Yay!)

But a more interesting problem, however, has risen inside the coop as a result of the wing-clip.

My girls can no longer roost in the rafters.  They’ve been trying, because they like it up there. and I guess (I’ve read anyway) that the ones who roost highest up have some kind of social status in the flock.  But mostly, there’s about five or six hens who really liked roosting up in the rafters.

Since Thanksgiving, they’ve all been trying to reach that Nirvana … to sad/pathetic/sometimes hilarious results.   Little Dude and I have watched several go crashing into the side of the coop time and again.  There’s also been some domestic squabbles about who’s sitting in which spot on top of the laying beds (there’s a shelf on top where they sleep sometimes).  All this because some of the girls can’t jump up to the rafters.

So after a few nights of this, I asked DH to build them a perch they could use, halfway between the beds and the rafters.  I figure if they had a shorter distance to go up, some of them could make it into the rafters and some might stay on the roost.

I placed Dots, Madison and Maicey on the perch myself, but while I snapped pictures and helped with clean up, Penelope, Henrietta and a couple of the others made it up there themselves.  By the time we left, Henrietta had found her way back into the rafters and the Promised Land.  Even Dots had snuggled into a squat on the perch and closed his eyes.  He usually sits in the corner on the top shelf of the beds.

Over all, I’d say it was a successful project.

Dots Sings the Egg Song

This morning, Little Dude and I were feeding the chickens and cleaning the coop, and there was a sudden ruckus outside in the run.

I sent Little Dude out to investigate, the while he went out, the chickens came inside… and that’s when I realized… the ruckus was our rooster — singing the egg song!

Does it mean anything when he does it, or has he just heard his girlies singing it so many time he knows the words?