Tag Archives: mixed flock

First day in the new coop!

Moment of truth!  The grand opening.I dropped the ramp and the birds on the threshold stared, taken aback.  Oh, there’s the Colonel pushing his way through.  Coming through, coming through.  I’ll show you how it’s done.

And he did.   

Then the birds started pouring right out. 

Something to crow about

The rapidity may have had something to do with the angle of descent.  I wasn’t sure about the steepness of the ramp, if they could handle it,  but it turns out, they handle it.  They accelerate! – they’re running by the bottom third, but they can hop and fly the runout, so they all did just fine.What’s happening inside?  Ah, there are a few that can’t figure out the corners.  Where’d everyone go?  Predictable.

So, everyone out with no drama, and…..!  Ahhhhh, a big sigh of relief, as the sound of silence and peace settles over birdland.  No one outcompeted or offended by the big birds.  No rooster sneak attacks.  It’s even better than I expected!  If I could have done this any sooner, I would have.  Everyone has all they can eat and plenty of time to do it, and they have three egg laying stalls all their own.

I felt like I was taking their freedom away, reluctant to put them back in a cage, even though I’ve long observed that A:  Silkies only use a very small area, quite unlike the big hens  B: They’re much safer confined, and C: Confinement for no more hunger or harassment is a good trade for them.  They like to just hang out in a peaceful little pile.Later I added a sun shade.

But will they find their way back in at night? It’s not looking good.They all did!  All of them, even the rooster I missed in the the night move and had to pop over the fence in the morning.  Wow, what good chickens.  The Colonel is such an amazing rooster.  He waits until all the hens are in before he retires.  Helping them if they need some demonstration.  The other roosters are on their own though, even if they are youngsters.An egg!  They love it.  They love it:)

One of these things is not like the others.  There’s been a breach of the girls fort.  There were layer hens in there, snuggled up with a bunch of Silkies in a bowl next to theri designated dirt bath.But it was a next-to-the-bathtub bath kind of day. They were all out of sorts.  Chicks outside, hens inside, roosters inside, all of them wanting to be on the other side of the fence again (except the roosters).

Invasion of the fluffballs

This is supposed to be the layer coop.

There´s been a full scale cooporate takeover.  The Colonel has moved in, and brought his ladies with him.

There´s been a couple Silkie hens that decisively moved in with the big girls weeks ago, but HW noticed the Colonel exiting the layer coop in the morning, and told me he suspected a relocation.

I think, because of the rain the last few days, that the Silkies couldn´t be bothered to walk the 40 feet back to their own coop, and just went up the proximate ramp.

The flocks hang out surprisingly intimately all day, piled up in the same dirt bowls, eating together, laying eggs in each other´s coops, and when it rains, huddled shoulder to shoulder under the nearest coop with their shoulders hunched up (the guineas too).  I LOVE this!  I´m so happy they get along.

I´m over the moon that since the integration of the flocks this winter and their coexistence in the greenhouse, that I can retire the tiresome, rickety Silkie un-“tractor”, and all the birds are fully free again.  What they do with their freedom is sometimes unexpected, and usually entertaining.

That´s the Colonel in the foreground. White.

 

 

 

Sometimes a name alights on a being like a hawk landing on a fencepost.  Here to stay.  The rooster formerly known as Snowball (we do our best, until their real name arrives), is now irrevocably, unquestionably, the Colonel.

The Colonel is the Big Boss of All the Chickens around here, ruthlessly laying down the law and keeping Jacques in line (that´s the big Copper Maran rooster at the back of the coop), despite Jacques being about 5 times his size. This was very unexpected.

Any human visitors think it´s absolutely hilarious when I point out the big boss.  They point;  that guy? The pint sized pompom?  That big rooster is scared of HIM?  No way! Then they are usually treated to an exhibition – the Colonel marching authoritatively towards the giant, showy rooster who dared to come too close, and Jacques the Giant hastily looking for somewhere else to be.

Jacques gets no respect.  The Colonel keeps him looking over his shoulder.  HW calls him a punk.  He´s still growing into his leadership role, I think.  He´s pretty good with his hens, unselfish and a food announcer; they like him, but he can´t count, and doesn´t organize them very well;  they scatter, and scattering is not good for chicken longevity.  Also, he attacks me daily.  I whack him with sticks and throw water on him; he has a short memory.  The Colonel doesn´t hesitate to rescue me, which is nice, but feels like the wrong order of things.

The Colonel keeps track of eleven Silkie hens, and they typically flow in a big group without stragglers (It´s awesome to observe chickens in as free a state as possible- they have a culture, and it evolves; they are in charge, and I serve them, with shelter, food, and evening security lockup).  The Colonel has one young protege, a blond rooster that rolls with the big flock, but there are four more roosters that are exiles and just huddle at a distance.  These poor roosters are due for rehoming – they´re on Kijiji.  They´re quite gorgeous, and they´ll make great rooster-leaders if they get a chance.