Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Friday, November 13, 2015

Yard Birds

Only one of Broody Hen's chicks survived her last broody episode.  I took it from her when it was a couple of days old because she had killed two others.  I didn't want her to kill the last one.  It had hatched at about the same time the guineas hatched, so I took five guinea keets and the one chick and raised them together in the guinea coop.  The guineas have a way of disappearing one by one and I wanted to make sure that at least the unusually colored ones survived, so those are the ones I took.

After we got the chicken coop remodeled it was time for the chick, who thankfully turned out to be a hen instead of a rooster, to be integrated into the flock.  I put her in a cage and kept her in the coop for several days.  Integrating her in that way had two benefits:  (1)  Chickens are mean to each other, especially when there's a new chick in town.  Keeping her in a cage kept her safe from the bigger hens pecking her, but allowing them all time to get to know each other.  (2)  Keeping her in the coop for several days "coop trains" her so that she knows it is her home that she will come back to each night after free ranging all day.

The coop training worked, but the hens are still mean to her.  She's pretty much a loner, except when she hangs out with old Tubby, our original Rhode Island Red rooster.  He's nearly eight years old now and is showing his age.  He's still big and glossy, but not nearly as grand as he used to be.  He limps, doesn't have his beautiful arching tail feathers, and the ruff around his neck is looking a little more "rough" than "ruff".  So, he doesn't go as far afield as he used to.  He mostly stays close to the coop.

I call this chick Shaun, after Shaun the Sheep.  Why?  Because, either by injury or birth defect, her beak is wonky and reminds me of how Shaun the Sheep's mouth in the Shaun movies.
Double click the pic to see her wonky beak.  I'm surprised she can eat or drink, but I guess she's doing just fine.

And, for some reason, she is very personable.  When I go out to clean the coop, she runs to me, getting in my way, and even jumping up on the roost so she can be right in my face, like a parrot, as I clean the roost area.

Tubby in the foreground with his stubby tail towards the camera, and Shaun in the background.

As for the other yard birds, the guineas, I kept the young guineas in the guinea coop until they got most of their grown up feathers, then I opened the door to let them come and go as they please.  Since then, two have disappeared.  We have a predator that is picking them off, but we don't know what it is yet.  We've also lost three of the adults in the past month or two.  I suspect a coon that can get up in the tree at night while the guineas are sleeping and the dogs can't do anything about it if it's happening up in a tree.

This silver guinea is the one I really want to survive.  I want to see what she looks like all grown up.  We had one hatch last year, but it disappeared right away.  The only way I could think of this year to ensure its survival is to keep it penned up until it was big enough.  But, still, there is no guarantee.

1 comment:

Jordan Camp said...

Time for Larry and I to come over and do some varmit killing!