Saturday, February 22, 2014

Happy Chickies 10 Months Old and other stories

Well, well, well...

The babies are 10 months old now. Red is molting again. And...
I have not blogged in a month :-(.

It seems as it the last I posted about the birds is when they were 4 months old!
SO MUCH has gone on since then!!!

Here is a snippet of the one I was writing for 6 months update...
Imagine you are reading this part October 2013

Happy Chickies 6 months old

These birds are moochers. Still no eggs.

They are all a flock now.
Red will get her feathers in a ruffle every now and then and challenge Rooster.
They got into a big fight the other day and BB finally realized he was twice her size and a rooster.
Red just wouldn't let up and kept at him. She finally gave in after a few scratches and reluctantly gave him his space.

Nutmeg hangs out with them all but still will bite rooster in the face if he gets too close to her food.

Tully is tiny and tough. She likes Red and tries to hang out with her. Tully is the boss of the young ones.

Eagle still has a weak beak and has some issues free-ranging but is coping well and is the biggest of the young hens.

Hawk is just a sweetie. She likes people and will jump right up on you.

Fluffy is one feather short of a tail. She seems a bit on the "slow" side.

BB is growing into his own. Still a big clumsy rooster. He gets super exited if he sees me with something in my hands (thinks it is food). He still prefers to hang out near me when I am outside.

Here is a link to their 1st eggs.

Now, Here is a 10 month old update.


...soooooo.... BB had to be culled.
It was heartbreaking for me to have to do it and necessary.
He and Red did not get on well and were tolerating each-other until that fateful day last November -December (was it?).
I heard a racket coming from the coop and it was Red being chased like a bat out of Hades by BB.
I went over to the run and clapped loudly and yelled at them to distract them and calm the situation. That always worked if the girls had a spat and they would go back to "being friends". I guess it breaks the cycle or something. It did not work so I entered the run and that didn't even distract him. He was focused and I saw him manage to get her a few times before I could snatch him as he was chasing her between my legs.
I held him down to calm him and a few minutes later he was calm enough for me to pick him up and carry him and lock him in the coop (separated from the girls in the run).
I took a look at Red and she had been injured but would heal up soon. He was intent on killing her. She was so scared and just relaxed in my arms (something she never does - she is always alert). I could not re-home a rooster that attacked a hen, nor do I have the resources or the cruelty to let a healthy bird live in isolation. I was left with one option.
I prepared my equipment and my mind. I gave him time to cool down. I spent some time with him and tested him out by holding him outside the run and watching the reactions. The girls high tailed it to the other side in fear and Red literally tried to climb the walls to get away. He went quickly and was not wasted. His carcass provided nourishment and his feathers provided warmth.
His brother (I gave to a neighbor) had to be culled not to long after BB for the same aggression. Unfortunately, they were not able to stave the attack and their favorite hen got scalped. One of thier other roosters came to her rescue, saving her life. She healed after a month in "ICCU" (intensive chicken care unit).

Nutmeg and Red are 2 1/2 years old

Nutmeg has not laid in 4 months and I am keeping an eye on her. She is acting "normal" but is moving slower and rests more than her usual lazy self.

Nutmeg and Red are buds. I think Nutmeg would not know what to do without Red and may die of loneliness. Meg does not socialize with the young ones and mildly tolerates them.
Red at least has been caught socializing with Tulley. The others, she tolerates.

Red is going through a molt. Poor thing. I am giving her extra protein to help her out. She gets really mean and moody in her molt. She is still the boss but takes more of a back seat role, stepping in to assert her status when necessary.

Tully reminds me of Red except she talks more.
She is smart and tiny and alert.

Hawk is a big girl. She still loves people and is not at all timid. She will not hesitate to jump up on your arm or back. She is the alpha of the babies and is a little too alpha sometimes. She will be reminded who is still #1 and #2 by the old girls on occasion.

Eagle is now the bottom of the pecking order. She reminds me of Puff (RIP). She has so many feathers! She is not afraid of people but is timid. It is difficult to catch her. I usually have to get her in the flock and round them all up to get her in the coop. She does not fall for the treats in my hand bit. Her beak is still weak but she manages and her size proves it.

Fluffy is still a nutter!
She is sweet and friendly and trusting.
She has learned to stand up for herself when needed. She is quick to find treats and snatch up food and RUN! Fluffy does not look very fluffy. She seems to be lacking in the number of outer feathers and it causes the down to stick through everywhere and makes her look fairly sad. She has a wonky tail feather that grew out of her back side instead of her tail. It has since broken in half and doesn't look so bad. I wonder if it will grow in the same way after her molt.  Yeah, that little white spike in the pic is what is left of it. Funny little thing.

Oh... as for the eggs...
The babies have been champs since they started and have laid all through the winter! Eagle and Fluffy tie for avg. 6 per week. Tully averages 4 a week and Hawk about 5 a week. Red has been her usual till the molt of course.

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