Our beta Silkie rooster has started to exhibit some bad behaviour. Besides interfering with mating, understandable, I’ve recently seen him a few times pecking on the hens! Not ok! I understand he’s frustrated, but bad behaviour is a one way ticket to either the soup pot or Kijiji. He was also making a stab at crowing. It was an awful, pathetic, gargling (cocks figuring out how to crow are hilarious), but the prospect of three yelling roosters was sobering, and H.W. was threatening to “give him to nice farm”. I’m sure he’d make a good, happy alpha rooster if he got to have flock of his own, beta cocks usually do, so I put him up on Kijiji to give away. Since we are now down two hens it’s kind of urgent; the little white hen shouldn’t have to put up with two roosters each three times her size.
Someone made an appointment to come get him, but that very afternoon we were out by the Silkie coop: H.W. was just commenting that he hadn’t seen the beta rooster do anything bad when I caught him in the act. He got a beakful of the little white hen and she started squealing and struggling. I threw my hat at him, cursing, and he released her and ran away. I chased him a few steps, and then H.W. said “here comes the other rooster!”. From behind me the alpha rooster streaked past, taking up the cause, running and pecking and squawking.
It was awe-inspiring. We watched the two of them running off into the woods, hollering and shrieking, as far as we could see, while H.W. narrated. “Yeah! What she said! Dirtbag!” And then “They’re deep out there, I’m not sure you’re going to have a rooster to give away tonight.” Our Silkies aren’t known for venturing far from the coop, and are for getting lost when they do, so I figured I’d have to go after them. I circled out into the woods to get behind them. The alpha rooster was already back with his hen, her honour defended, but the beta was, predictably, wandering, and I chased him back towards the coop. Who did I unexpectedly run into out in the woods though? Fearless Friendly! She sure gets around.
The beta rooster got given away that night to a new flockster with a few (full-size) laying hens. H.W. skeptically predicted “they’re gonna laugh at him!” I’m told they are doing just fine. It’s either the shock of his life or all his dreams come true. Or both.
Today the dog chewed his leash and killed the small black Silkie hen. I was away working and H.W. left him unattended for barely a moment.
Of course I felt horrible. We introduced a predator to the farm and then failed to protect our tiny, vulnerable charges. They have a house secure enough for wild animals, and they’re attacked by a domestic one. Naturally the dog got “tuned” for his crime, but it’s his nature to hunt, our responsibility to train him otherwise. And a little fluffy innocent life is gone because of a mistake.
I’ve ordered a poultry net to put around the Silkies; it can’t arrive fast enough.
Same day, the red hen went broody, and I broke her up by accident! I thought she might be hurt, crouched unusually on the floor of the coop, and I stroked her. She jumped up with a peep revealing three hot eggs she’d been on, and when I checked later she was on the roost, not on her eggs.
The low hen brought a friend ‘round the camper with her. They seem to get along. I throw the odd scrap to them and brush crumbs out there, and betweentimes they go scratching in the crunchy leaves nearby, which is loud. Having two hens around here, I thought that they just might wander over to the Silkies that are parked so near us, and I was hoping I’d witness the event. (We have the Silkie coop near our camper, which is on the other side of an expansive field from the full-size hen coop and our vehicles/garage/etc).
Not quite. I heard the Silkies burst out cry-screaming, and I ran out to see, just in time to see a red (full-size) hen sprinting towards me on the path from the coop, head up, eyes wide. Behind her Snowball the Silkie rooster was thundering along like a stormcloud, head down, wings out, and eyes narrowed. I didn’t have time to turn my camera on before it was over. The hen streaked past me and kept going, squalling indignantly all the way back to the flock. The Silkie turned and ran back to his coop, where the little red hen was squealing like a spoiled little rich girl, not scared, but deeply offended. That was that. They’ve met, and they don’t get along. The big hen got seen off. It wasn’t the low hen, but her friend.
Later HW told me he’d been messing with the birds, trying to coerce an introduction, and he’d wondered why no amount of enticement would get the big hens to pass a certain point on the path to the Silkie coop.
Big news of the day: Whattt? A bantam egg?! On their 51st day here, when we’re past expecting them to ever lay, the Silkies get in the game and come out of nowhere with an egg!
Perhaps all the fertility going on is contagious. As tiny as it is, it surprises me that’s it’s that big, because the petite handfuls that the Silkie hens are are SO much smaller than the big red hens. It’s translucent and pointy, but with a firm shell.
We go to town to buy fencing (urgent due to chicken depredation) and end up doing many other things. It’s too wet for the big chickens to venture far from the coop (ie. do much damage to the garden); they cluster under its shelter, and at night, there are three staying up later than the others, and one nestled in the grass nest again. They traipse upstairs irritably but with much less drama. No eggs outside, that we can find, anyways; seven laid inside (good girls). We can assume the lobster-hen is out of commission at the moment and the others take some days off. I notice that they shift some nesting material and the plastic eggs from box to box; H.W. reiterates wish for a night-vision chicken cam. “What do they DO in there when no-one’s looking?”