Chickens

16 Nov

About 6 months ago we got our first chickens. A variety of different hens and a mother with 5 chicks , then about 5weeks old. Over time it became clear that despite probability and all that 4 were roosters. How can you tell the difference between roosters and hens ? Simple really, just wait unit 4 months old and the ones going cock a doodle doo at 5 in the morning are probably roosters.

We did manage to rename the roosters and our free range chicks carried on pecking and composting , with one difference. Most of them started to brood. Our black hen , called blackie , of course, was sat in the back of one of the hen houses on a batch of eggs. The interesting thing was our large white hen , called big bird of course, started to appear and also sit the eggs. We are unclear whose eggs are whose , and after a while found that they were new sat together ontop of the eggs. This we discovered is more common that we thought. At the same time our hen with a lighter mark on her head , called lightshade of course, disappeared into the stables and layed her own clutch of eggs

After several weeks the chicks under  blackie were born. There seemed to be 8 at first and for the first day or so they did seem to share mothering duties. We were unsure who was looking after them. We also had to frantically patch the room they slept in , in case of rats. We had had one of the cats show interest as well!

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Within a few days the 8 became 4. We don’t really know what happened to them. They had all developed a tendency to fall through small holes, some of the holes led to the lower level and they seemed to be playing a game , others didn’t and they may have found those..more frantic repairs needed and more worrying. At this stage blackie realised she was alpha mum and took charge of the remaining 4. While big bird just sat, occasionally she shuffled her clutch of eggs to another spot , occasionally she sat aside them, occasionally she looked completely clueless.

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The 4 have grown rapidly. The yellow fluffy ones are now looking quite white. The blackened is looking bigger. Probability might give us more girls this time….

They are now  4 or 5 weeks old(I know were not counting) and are now venturing out. They enjoy the grass and are trying to eat anything they find. They stay close to mum. We finally managed to get big bird out and her eggs never hatched. She quickly took over another hens spot! And nightshade is still sat in the stables, waiting and waiting. We dont have the heart to tell her.

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