Meet the Flock Roundup - May & June 2018
The latest bit of paraphernalia that I've added to the coop to keep the girls entertained is a small mirror. Here Moe the Faverolles takes a quick look to make sure her feathers are all attractively in place.
Pippi & Squawky the Speckled Sussex hens like having the winter insulation panels gone from around the coop. Now they can see out into the great wide world!
Here are Mary the Campine and Squawky the Sussex sharing a nest box. Lest you think that these two are best of friends who like to spend time together laying eggs while talking about their favorite brand of meal worms, new trends in roosts, and the latest coop gossip, let me tell you right away that this was an invasion. Mary was just sitting there engaged in the business of egg production when the young upstart, Squawky, impudently hopped right in and settled down beside her – And would not leave despite Mary’s loudest protests. Then, insult to injury, Squawky snagged the golf ball! There’s a golf ball in each nest box to remind everybody that the nest boxes are where all things round and white should go. They are actually a very popular item—each hen spends a good deal of time getting the golf ball in just the right spot before settling on top of it. So, it was shockingly rude when Squawky poked her head under Mary and used her beak to roll the ball from under Mary and over to her side of the box. But in spite of her outrage, Mary seemed to be in it for the long haul and when I took this picture with my phone she was hunkered down with a determined and tenacious clench to her beak. Later I came back and both hens were gone, but there was a brown egg and a small white egg in the nest box. Mission accomplished, ladies!
Mary knows that to get the choicest bugs, one has to do some scratching to get under the leaf litter.
Emile exudes roosterly honesty and intelligence in this shot, don’t you think? If he ever runs for public office, he definitely should use this pic for his campaign poster!
Yesterday's adventure: I was stacking wood when I heard sudden, terrified chicken noises coming from the big chicken run - so I dropped my armful of firewood & dashed over to the run. There were only three hens in the entire half-acre run. Squawky the Sussex was calmly scratching through the leaf litter and eating bugs. Meanwhile, Moe and Paula, the two Faverolles hens, were standing on the far side of the run, fixing their vision on something in the woods on the other side of the fence, and filling the air with fearful cackles. From my vantage point I couldn't see anything in the woods. But it is a fact that chickens have very keen eyesight. It's also a fact that chickens have a brain about the size of a marble, and I wasn't sure which fact was at play here. So, I walked around the outside perimeter of the fence to the spot that was terrifying the chickens. There was nothing there. Then a totally camouflaged baby fawn jumped up from the leaves right at my feet and ran off into the ferns. Thus, Paula and Moe proved that they can see stuff that is totally invisible to me. But last I checked, fawns are not ravenous chicken predators. In the end, I guess both keen vision and marble-sized brains were at play here.
You may remember my string of posts last year chronicling the story of Betty the Easter Egger. In a nutshell, Betty started getting lame. My best guess was that she suffered from a tumor that was pressing on a nerve. In addition to becoming lame, she did something remarkable--she stopped laying eggs, her hackle feathers became long and pointed, her comb became very large, and then she started crowing. My first blog post on Betty was in September of last year and is called, "The Life and Times of Betty the Transgender Chicken." The story with Betty is no doubt the same as similar documented cases. Something, perhaps a tumor in Betty's case, interfered with her ovary, and when the ovary stopped producing estrogen, she became masculine. It happens! Well, the update is that Betty is still with us, and still in the news. She is still very lame and still has the large comb and rooster hackles, but her posture and attitude have become much more hen-like. And last week she started laying! Sometimes the process reverses itself, and it certainly has in Betty's case. She can't get herself in the high-up nest boxes, but there are some floor-level boxes for the Silkies. They're small, but as you can see here, they work for Betty!
Paulette, Nicky, and Marissa the Cream Legbar hens know that the choicest bugs live under the leaf pile.
Here’s my good pal, Squawky the Sussex – aka Squawkarino aka The Squawkster.
Sammy casts a coquettish look over her shoulder.