Tag / rooster

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

It’s Official, I’m One of the Girls

I spent this weekend doing my least favorite thing, fall clean-up.  We typically rake the leaves six times during the fall season.  This weekend was no different than any other year except for the occasional chicken that wandered by.

Since we have had a few hawks in the yard this week, I had tried to entice them back to their coop with scratch and their treat ball.  I was worried that if I moved away from the girls, a hawk could swoop down and catch dinner.  I had finished raking near the girls and needed to move on. Unfortunately for me, they were just not ready to go back.  Instead, they were content under the gigantic rhododendron bush at the top of the driveway next to the garage.  I kid you not, I think it is about about 25 years old and is about 12 feet wide by 10 feet tall.  I could hear them underneath scratching at the leaves and calling to one another to show off their finds.
So nervously, I decided to rake about 50 feet from the rhododendron bush near their coop.  As I was cleaning leaves and debris to the side, my neighbor who I had not seen in ages struck up a conversation with me.  Distracted by our conversation that had gone on for about 5 minutes, I did not notice a little friend at my feet.  It was Chocolate.  He was scratching, puffing out his feathers and talking.  It took me a second, then I realized.  Chocolate was trying to tell my neighbor that I was part of his family.

I scooped him up into my arms, gave him a nuzzle and a thank you then gently set him down.  He continued to stay by me.  As he stood with me, along came the rest of his flock, no coaxing necessary.  He has made it to top chicken.  Although little, he has gained respect of all the girls.  I was glad that much like a guard dog, I had a rooster by my side!  Who would have thought?  I now know that they think of me as part of their family.

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Well, He’s Definitely a Roo!

He finally stood still and posed for me!

I’ve been back now for 4 days now and there are definite changes in the coop.  Chocolate is definitely a boy!  He has emerged a rooster- as the leader of his girls.  I feel proud for him.  He was the underdog when Peanut was around.

Now he is one of the biggest in the flock, developing a beautiful comb, wattle and streaming neck feathers.  I have not heard him crow anymore.  Is there such a thing as a quiet rooster?

Yesterday, I let them free range after 3 continual days of wind and rain.  They were so happy.  Like Pavlovian dogs, every time I walked back and forth from the coop to the garage, they thought that I had scratch for them.  Chocolate and Tilly were always the first to come running.  They are getting braver and are even considering entering the garage after just recently feeling comfortable crossing over the pea stone driveway.   I must have made that trip 8 times before I brought them that scratch.

The two of them make a great pair.  They seem to have mutual respect for one another.  Plus, he is not a bully.  My heart was touched when he came over and spoke to me.  We carried on a 5 minute conversation. Then I picked him up and nuzzled with him on my lap.  As usual, he snuggled right in making little clicking sounds of gratitude with his beak.  Although his feathers were cool to the touch, I could feel his little body warming up as I held him.  Then I smelled his back feathers and gave him a kiss before returning him to his girls.  I have to say, he is a lover not a fighter, and for that I am thankful.

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

A Simple Twist of Fate

This morning I was out opening up the girls.  I can’t call them the girls anymore because from the coop was the distinct call of a baby rooster learning to crow. “OOO OOOO DOO”.  Pathetic but true, my little black Silkie Bantam, Chocolate is another rooster.  (Strangely enough, there have been tales of female hens developing male characteristics.  The hens stop laying eggs, crow and grow spurs!)

My heart sank again.  The reasons were many.  Probably the thought that I had to rehome him was the saddest.  You see, Chocolate was the runt until Peanut left.  Interestingly, he never really grew.  Despite all the others in the flock his growth was almost stunted.  However, once Peanut left, Chocolate had a growth spurt.  He has now surpassed his sister silkie, Feathers, and started to grow a larger comb and wattle.

In my heart of hearts, I do have to honestly say that I had my suspicions early on.  Peanut and Chocolate were always doing the “rooster square-off dance”, Peanut was always picking on Chocolate and the fact that he although healthy, was not growing.  When I compared Chocolate to Feather, I noticed that Feather’s comb is almost non-existent although she does have a wattle. Chocolate definitely has a comb! Their feathering is almost identical and so are their blue earlobes.

Chocolate is one of my favorite chickens.  He is a complete love.  Docile and gentle, he loves to hop into my lap and nuzzle into my body.  He loves to be stroked and even closes his eyes in contentment.  I can always count on him to come visit me first.  I really do love that little guy!

But then, I had an epiphany about rehoming him…My neighbor has a dog that barks all the time.  A rooster’s noise is not that much different.  My kids love him and he loves them.  He is a sweet boy who is earning his keep in the hen house.  He guards the girls at night by keeping watch out the window.  When it is raining, he stands at attention like a soldier at the door waiting for the rain to let up.  He lets all the other girls out of the coop in the morning before him, how chivalrous!  There are also no laws about roosters in our town.  There has been talk about creating ordinances in regards to chickens and roosters but nothing so far.

So for now, he will stay.  As long as he continues to be affectionate and sweet,  I will do whatever is necessary to keep him in the family.

Chocolate free-ranging with his girls today

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

And then there were 5

In the early days, our favorite little chicken was Peanut.  Peanut was always so curious; the first to come to us, discover the newest addition placed into his tiny 2’x2′ world.  Peanut always needed more care than the others in the beginning too.  Peanut was the one that I wasn’t sure would survive.  Peanut seemed the weakest of them all on that first day, droopy and wobbly.  Over time, our love for Peanut blosssomed.  The kids loved holding Peanut.  Peanut would snuggle into our chests and sit for time on end.  Sometimes, we would even hear a pleasure trill!

Peanut is a Buff Silkie Bantam.  At http://www.mypetchicken.com/ you can pay extra to have your chickens sexed.  Many people do not want rooster for the various reasons. Most people will pay extra just to ensure that they will get only females. However, silkies are very difficult to sex.  Most hatcheries don’t even attempt this.  However, http://www.mypetchicken.com/ does!  I paid extra for all females including the Silkie Bantams.

It wasn’t until about week 10 that I had my suspicions.  Peanut soon began to grow so fast.  Peanut’s waddle and comb were getting huge.  I read on the internet that you can be fooled by Silkies, that they often will look like one sex but turn out to be the other.  The other disturbing thing was that anytime I need to hold Peanut, I would be pecked.  At first the pecking was gentle, but as time went on it really could hurt depending on how you were gotten.

One day, early in the morning, my husband was leaving for work and I was in the garage getting their food and I heard it.  From inside the coop, a pathetic, “OOO, OOOO, DOO.”  Was I imagining things?  Then we heard it again.  I could not be sure who it was coming from.  Finally, after about a week I realized that it was Peanut.  Peanut was a rooster.

Over the next few weeks, Peanut turning out to be a rooster was becoming even more evident with each day that passed.  Again, I did research about keeping a rooster.  Currently, in our town, there are no regulations about keeping chickens or rooster.  Thank goodness for that.  I was just worried about his aggressive tendencies and our 2 little kids.  My husband and I decided that our rooster needed a new home.  I emailed many local farms on a whim and a farm off Cape about 40 minutes away agreed to take him.  There he will have about 100 hens to himself.  Oh, what a rooster’s dream!

It has now been about a week since we rehomed Peanut.  I do miss him so.  I miss his silly little antics, his trying to bully the hens, his curiosity, his gorgeous blue earlobes, and even his warm little body.  I do know that we made the right choice and he should be much happier it is just hard to say goodbye.  Just like a baby, he was mine since he was one day old.