Hens

The Rooster Experiment is Over

A few months ago I purchased a couple of Easter Egger roosters … completely by accident.  I thought I was getting pullet hens, assured by the owners that they were females, but both turned out to be crowers.  I gave one of them away about a month ago, and decided to keep one.  I enjoyed his crowing throughout the day.  And he seemed to be very diligent in keeping up with all of the girls.

But over the past several weeks he has grown increasingly hostile in his mating practices.  His classic move is to catch a hen unawares, pounce, and grab a beak full of neck feathers.  He’s stripped the necks of six of my hens almost clean.  I was learning to live with it.  But he stepped over the line three days ago.

I brought home five new hens last week.  One of them is a gorgeous, sweet, social Speckled Sussex.  He accosted her within the first two days and ripped a huge gash in her neck at the base of her skull, exposing raw flesh.  It was a brutal injury, and afterward he refused to leave her alone.  She has resorted to hiding from him inside the dog fence … which presents other challenges for us when it’s time to let the Schnauzers outside.

So … he had to go.  I just can tolerate any more abuse of my ladies.  I had a friend come by and pick him up this afternoon.

So peace has returned to our hen house.  My twelve ladies explored the yard without harassment all afternoon.  It was a joy.

For sure, I liked old Mufasa (that was his name … the first one I gave away I called Simba), but he had to go.

I don’t think I’ll be having anymore roosters around here.

Categories: Chickens, Hens, Roosters | 2 Comments

Lap Chickens?!!

My girls have started something new.  Whenever they catch me out in the yard, kicking back in my lawn chair and enjoying the evening, they now like to jump up in my lap.

Seriously … all I have to do is snap my fingers and they come-a-runnin’!  They jump up on me, peck at my shirt for a while, then jump down and go about their business.

I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I would have a yard full of lap chickens!

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Photographic evidence …

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That Must’ve Hurt Really Bad!!

I went out at 10:30 for my usual hen house routine. First I throw some scratch in the chicken run to divert the ladies’ attention, then I clean out the nesting boxes where they spent the night before (all pooped up), and then finally I collect my eggs for the day. The girls are like clockwork … the last one always lays around 10:15. Her egg is always warm – fresh right out of the chicken!

Anyhow … when I looked through the “robbing door” I realized … “We have a jumbo!”

About once every other week I get a jumbo, double-yolked egg from my girls. I’ve been running consistently four extra-large and two large eggs every day. But today I found this monster!

It bottomed out! What a monster egg!!

She bottomed out on my “Incredible Egg Scale,” weighing in at >2.5 ounces!

Out of the six eggs today, I had four XL’s, one large, and the queen mother jumbo.  Can you pick it out of the line-up?

The Henfruit Line-Up? Can you ID the “Suspect?”

 

I set these big ones aside for my special gluten-free bread that my sweet wife makes for me.  Besides, they’re too cool to just put in a carton and sell.

Now I have to go and give one of my girls a little massage … she deserves it!

Categories: Eggs, Hen House, Hens | 2 Comments

A Feathered Six-Pack!

This is my daily view in my “robbing door.”  Six lovely pink to brown eggs from my Golden Comets.  All in one big pile!

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Six lovely henfruits!

There are three separate, private boxes in the coop.  But, wouldn’t you know it?  They all lay in the exact same box.  It’s almost comical … they line up like women at a bathroom in a football stadium!  They pace back and forth, like they’re going to bust wide open if they don’t get in that one box.  Indeed, they’ll drop an egg on the coop floor before they’ll climb into one of the other private laying “rooms.”

That’s my girls!  🙂

Categories: Chicken Coop, Eggs, Hen House, Hens, Nesting Boxes | 5 Comments

Do My Lips Look Funny?

Back in March I went in search of hens.  I opted to bypass the chick-raising stage and try to find some pullets that were a little closer to laying.  After scouring my area, I finally located an Amish family about fifteen minutes away with pullets for sale.  Asking price:  $8.  I thought, “What a bargain!”  Seriously … that’s almost what a whole chicken costs out of the meat case at the grocery store!

So I bought six of them.  I was quite impressed as I saw the young Amish woman dive into the mass of pullets and come up with four at one time … by the legs … two in each hand.  Like I said.  I was impressed.  When I asked her the name of the variety, she replied that they are, “Brown Commons.”  Which means, I think, they are basically “mutts,” a mixture of several breeds, produced for heavy egg production. (In the Amish world, if you fail to produce, you wind up sold or eaten … rapidly.)  I helped her load six of the brown-read beauties into my borrowed rabbit cage, forked over the cash, and header for home.

After I released them into the coop and watched them for a while, I noticed that their beaks looked really funny.  Indeed, their little mouths seemed to always be open and their tongues flicked out a lot.  I suddenly realized that they were missing the hooks on their beaks!

What a beautiful smile!

Sadly, my little ladies have had their beaks clipped.  This is a rather cruel procedure performed on chicks in a production setting.  The idea is that they are rendered unable to peck, cause bleeding, then cannibalize a fellow chicken.  But the side-effect is that they cannot bite anything, or even crack larger seeds.  They basically eat by sticking a wet tongue to their target.  It’s kind of sad.  It leaves them defenseless.  But they make due.

All the more reason for me to provide our ladies with a safe environment.  Now they will get to live out all their days in the comfort of our luxury “Hendomenium.”

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