Tag Archives: rooster

Premature vocalization

THIS little guy was crowing today.

Is he an Oscar, or an Orlando?

It sounded like someone stepped on a squeaky toy.   I think he was appropriately embarrassed and  didn’t do it again.  Hope he puts that project on the back burner for a few months. I wouldn’t have thought it possible if I weren’t looking right at him.

Exactly two months old today

I’m like, You!  You are barely 12 inches tall at your full stretch.  You have nothing to crow about yet!

The teens are so cute!! Bright yellow, big feet, that they have yet to grow into, like puppies.  The teens have a set of baby sibling tag-alongs- the four young chicks of Ursa’s, and they (teens) tag along on the Family (Philippe and the Cheeks etc).  Galahad escorted them down the path to the house the other day (And here, at times, there are snacks), and now they show up daily, but they feel better if the Family is already there.  Moochers of the future.

But which is which?

That would be Oscar and Orlando up front.  I don’t care how tall you stand, you’ve got no business crowing about it.  Clearly, Toffee’s offspring. Philippe was finding it warm today.  Another record setting hot one, and most of the chickens were adopting Airplane Pose.Ursa Minor’s four chicks have been on their own for a week.  Surprisingly early!  I haven’t looked if they’re still cuddling in the coop, but during the day, there seems to be no further attachment, except to each other.  They’re a little peeping squad.  They seem to be role-modeling on the teens these days.

It’s really something: now I’ve got chicks that were born here, that were born to chickens that were born here, and their behaviour is remarkably different from the first gens.  They’re so confident. So early – still tiny, miniature chickens still fuzzy around the neck- and they project Yeah, I got this, world!  No questions or hesitancy.  I’m a chicken!  Hear me r–!   Oh, wait…”

Melons and hens

I got a few watermelons this year, that was exciting.  Yellow flesh and pink flesh melons. Watermelons before:

And after:And a little later:The chickens love their melons.

Speaking of melons – a bucket of cucamelons.  Weird little things, supposed gourmet items, exTREMEly productive. They are starting to fall off in the GH, raining like hail.  To the pigs, as usual.

A rubber egg, almost perfectly intact.That won’t last long

What?

The hens are enthusiastically emptying out the bucket of greens.  Chard and green cabbage yes, celery and red cabbage, no thanks. They have to reach down a bit farther. 

tiptoes

This little beast, the Deputy, lower right, thinks he’s the big king now.Look at all those ladies he’s managing.  This is the second in command Silkie rooster, who has recently decided to organize the house hens – the layer hens who hang around our house, mooching and sunning in the paths.  Now he thinks he’s a big boss.  Some of them even let him mate them, which is truly awkward.  He’s so small, sometimes he tips over and falls off of them.  If hens could roll their eyes.

The Colonel concerns himself with his own breed, and the young Ameracuana roos that are coming up haven’t come into their oats yet and are still meek.

 

Granny and Grampy having a moment

I was lucky to see and capture Granny and the Colonel sharing an affectionate moment.

These two are the last remaining of my original Silkies that arrived in 2014.  Presumably they are the same age.  They could easily be 5 or more years old now. 

They were just standing in the shade together for a few minutes, while the other Silkies dust bathed on the other side of the tree.

Granny even offered a little grooming.

Adorable!

Granny is doing extremely well.  I thought she was on her way out a while ago, but since the hens all moved outside for the summer, she´s been toddling around with the best of them.  I think she can´t see as sharp; she doesn´t bounce out of the way like the others and you have to not step on her.

He’s gone to bed!

(Short post)

He’s really gone to bed!  Another month behind the ladies; months since moving here … this boy‘s set a new record for resistance to bedtime.

It doesn’t reflect well on his intellect.

He might have been finally convinced by the hard freeze we’re having.  He was cold out on the roof alone and relented, tucking himself in with the ladies.

Took him long enough!

Bedtime is nigh

Could it be?  Almost time for the big rooster to go to bed in the coop?

I got him in November, when my last, most excellent and sorely missed, rooster was eaten.  He persisted in going to roost on the roof of the coop every night.  No biggie.  Every night, grab him and set him on the ramp, and he walks up it remarking on how that‘s where all the hens got to.  Eventually, through repeatedly waking up inside the coop,  he will figure out that that is where he is meant to begin his night.  It works for all chickens, usually in a few days.  Even the most stubborn little pile of chicks changed their habits in a few weeks.

So for Copperhead, it’s getting on three months.  Just when we were starting to notice that he was extra persistent with his roof roosting, I got three new-to-me hens.  HW didn’t know about the new arrivals and came in from evening lock-up outraged, that “that new rooster is teaching the hens bad habits.  THREE of them were out on the roof with him!”  Whereupon I momentarily forgot all about the new arrivals as well and exclaimed  “Really?  Three of them?”

The three “new” hens showed surprising attachment to the rooster and roof, also bedding on the roof, night after night.  They would arrange themselves in the same order, make the same indignant sounds when grabbed and displaced to the ramp.

The rooster even came to know the whole routine.  Our arrival after dusk means a grabbing, and he’d stand up and get nervous as soon as the door opened.  We had to strategize; alternate grabbing him or the hens first, because he started to ran away once all the hens had been removed; he knew it was his turn.  We tried agitating him off the roof right at dusk, and then, it being too dark to fly up again, he’d walk around and find his way up the ramp himself “Oh, that’s where all you ladies went!” We were hopeful.  It didn’t work.

one hen left

HW has been casting aspersions on his intelligence from the beginning, and this isn’t helping.

Days went by.  Weeks.  Rooster and three hens, evening lockup = nightly roo-grab.  Then one night, there were only two hens.  One hen had figured it out!  She turned out to be the precocious one of the three.  More days passed, turning into two weeks.  Then another hen went to bed on her own (four days ago).  And tonight, oh frabjous day! the rooster was out there alone!  Looking pouty and forlorn, too.  Now, now surely he will get the hint!

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You’re gonna grab me, aren’t you?

(I wrote this a week ago.  He’s still holding out alone on the roof.)

New Roo in the zoo

The new rooster has arrived!

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The ladies like him.

Actually he spent most of his first day trying to avoid them.  They were following him everywhere, grooming his ruff, and generally crowding him.  The girls couldn’t get enough of him and he just wanted to figure out where he was.

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They were just determined to follow him around.

He is very handsome as described, with his Copper Maran feathered feet.

img_4762He got some peace on the roof of the coop.

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We were checking on him frequently during the first day, not knowing whether there would be a bloodbath (there wasn’t).  Once we both went to the GH and he wasn’t there.  We looked all over, under boxes, in the corners.  He wasn’t even in the coop.  With nowhere left to look,  I lifted the lid on the Silkie coop, saying “Well he can’t be in here!”  He was.  He was in the corner of the coop with one Silkie hen on the other side, probably there to lay an egg.  I guess the hens really got out of control.

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He’s like a member of a royal court, with breeches, buckled shoes, and maybe a rapier.

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I thought I might call him Jacques, since when I was driving him home I couldn’t remember any lullabies but Frére Jacques.  Over and over and over… But I’m not sure it fits.

Things have settled down since the first day.  He started doing his job, announcing food discoveries and doing a bit of dancing.

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He crows a lot.  He’s got a deep voice.  And I’ve seen him mating a leghorn.  But I’ve seen more unconsummated high-speed chases around the greenhouse.

Then the Silkie rooster, one third his size,  automatically responds to the sounds of a screaming, running hen.  He in his white pint-size majesty  comes lumbering over silently, looks at “Jacques”, and Jacques runs off to hide behind something.  Very funny.  I’m real glad that they don’t fight at all, but also hoping that this guy will get a bit less timid over time.

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He likes to be up high.  On the bales, or the coop, or…

I was standing in the middle of the GH, bent over at the waist to knock some persistent ice out of a water fount.  There was some warning flapping behind me, and the new roo flew up and landed on my back.  It was a nice shelf.  The times I’m not carrying a camera!  When I finished laughing, and messing with the fount, I transferred him to my arm, where he contentedly settled down on my elbow as if to stay a while.  He’s a big heavy bird.  Friendly though.

Guy Hawks Day

Remember, remember the 5th of November.

My most excellent fine rooster was killed this morning, presumably by a hawk.

I presume a hawk because I witnessed, in the woods just a few meters from our door, a big hawk attempt to grab a chicken.  The undergrowth was dense, the hawk fumbled her and the hen got away.   She sprinted into the woods screaming and the hawk flew up into a low branch where it stared coolly at me until I started shouting at it.

Oddly, I didn’t hear the rooster.  The silence was strange, and all the hens had hidden themselves.  A bit later, I still couldn’t find any hens, until I was collecting eggs and was shocked to find seven hens huddled in the coop, middle of the morning.

At the end of the day when I came home, the hens were still completely weirded out, extremely subdued (most just hunkered on the ground) and not eating.  To anthropomorphize, I would say they were distraught.  Only the leghorns were behaving normally, scratching and pecking.  They had only known him a few days.

I knew then the rooster was gone, and in a clearing a fair distance away I eventually found a tiny bit of him – a clean breastbone with the bones of one wing attached.  There were barely even enough feathers to identify – he was almost completely consumed.   He was a big bird, he was a feast for someone.

It’s sad to lose him, he was an excellent rooster.  He was at least five years old, and didn’t have any plume feathers left in his tail, but he was still very handsome and what really matters: he cared for the hens surpassingy well. He was definitely appreciated his whole time with us.

He did his job right to the bitter end, saving all of the hens.

 

Dispatches from Silkieland

from Oct 17

Look at those feet!

Look at those little wings!img_4515 img_4514

Look at mama looking back.  What’s taking so long?

img_4506This mama has ideas.  At night I put them all in the box for the night.  In the morning she lets herself out to graze.  The chicks know where she is, but all frustrated.

Seven chicks survive.  She hatched an amazing, record setting nine, but two didn’t make it.  It’s almost normal for one chick to die every setting.

Chick death by hanging from the mother’s underfluff is a very real risk, as bizarre as I thought it was the first time.   I saved three chicks from this hatch from hanging.  I found two at once being dragged around by the neck.  What a fate.  Her underfeathers were glued together at the ends, poop no doubt, and chicks had their heads stuck in the loop, probably from burrowing under her.  I saved them, phew!, pulling the feathers apart, and feeling for other knots.     I suppose the solution would be combing their bellies shortly after hatching.  You first.

It’s a bit like 101 Dalmatians around here now.  Chicks everywhere.  In the greenhouse, in the chickeries – I’ve lost track of how many sets there were this summer.  Some hens went broody twice.  There are a lot of chicks scampering around.

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The last remaining greenhouse setter is good as gold in her broody box, but she loves breakfast.  She eats nearly her whole bowl of food every day, and she goes at it enthusiastically the moment it’s given (as opposed to other broodies, who eat a bowl of food every week or two, and pretend they don’t care about food when you put it in with them).

Outside, it’s cooling off.  The birds come tumbling down the ramp every morning, and then, ugggh!, halt on the ramp to hunch their shoulders and fluff out.  Sometimes they just go back inside. Not ready to greet this day. 

There are two ways to identify roosters.  1) Even very small, they start beefing with the other baby cocks.  They lower their heads and stick their necks out, then stand up really tall on their toes, beak to beak.  If that doesn’t settle it, there’s some chest bumping.   2) Baby cocks hero-worship the rooster.  I’m gonna be just like you someday!  They are first to arrive when he does his food clucks, and they tag along with him, everywhere.

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I came home to Snowball out of the Silkie paddock, who knows how or why, and whaddya know, Wannabe Jr. is out there with him.  Note unflappable (harharhar) white hen looking on.

 

When the rooster didn’t crow

HW just happened to remind me “remember when the rooster didn’t crow?  Because he was a beta rooster?”.  He’s right!  The big rooster learned to crow after he arrived here, when he suddenly had to “man up” to his promotion to big cock on the block.

Now, he is deafening!  He puts his whole considerable body into it, and throws his voice like a shotput.  When he hops up on top of the coop, perfectly ear level to me, and delivers a cannon while I’m in the greenhouse, oh it makes my head ring!  I can’t imagine sitting in a small, echoing box with him firing off multiple volleys, every morning.  Maybe all the hens are hearing impaired.

Actually, he was probably a  delta rooster, very low in his flock of origin, voiceless.  I’m a big fan of secondary roosters, and promoting them.  They’re so nice, appropriately frightened of people, and so appreciative of the job, it seems.  They take it seriously and do it well.

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I was commenting on the cocks of both flocks being both so good, it’s a shame they are aging and will soon need to be replaced.  The red rooster lost all his accent feathers from his tail last year and they haven’t come back.  Aging.  And rooster choosing is dicey.  A bad rooster can be a real dick.  We are blessed with good rooster fortune on both sides of the haybales at the moment.

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HW said “No… roosters can be really old and still be good roosters.  You know, like in Chicken Run, the rooster’s a beat up old veteran.”

Me: That’s an animated feature!  You can’t base your livestock knowledge on a cartoon!

HW:  Yeah, but it’s a cartoon based in truth!

This may have gone on a bit longer.  It is a very good movie.

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This pic is overexpsed but it's so funny with the hen peeking out from behind his tail.
This pic is overexposed but it’s so funny with the hen peeking out from behind his tail.

 

Bath time!

The chickens have done their anthill number on a new anthill, this time right by our main path; practically on it.

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Whenever we walk by, they eyeball us Am I really gonna have to get up?  Soooo comfortable…, and then at the last minute scoot away into the brush trailing a puff of dust, like Pigpen.

It’s especially funny catching the rooster thrashing around in the dust bowl, all unkempt.  It’s usually a conjugal event, if the rooster’s involved, and then both birds look up at you like they were busted in the bathtub together – which in fact, they are.