Our friends the Lands had a crowded chicken pen and one too many roosters. So, this evening I headed over to their amazing Victorian house, which they are renovating one room at a time.
I was sort of unprepared, because I thought our chicken transportation box was in the garage, but it had been taken to the dumpster. Sara suggested I take one of the feed buckets and cover it (by the way, Apache seemed a little better today).
Once I got there I realized the bucket was not going to work. Luckily, Kris had a moving box, so he set about to catching the rooster. There were a lot of chickens in the same size coop as our white one and they all hid in the back. So I stomped around and scared them to the front. In the box the Rhode Island Red went, and I drove him home.
We wanted to separate the rooster (Clarence) but our piece of fence had been used in the new pen. So, we tried putting him in with the young chickens.
That did not work well. Bruce was not happy. The pullets kept getting jumped on. Not good.
So Chris just picked Clarence up and put him in with the older chickens. That went way better. He ate some and said hi to the hens. Soon Ginger let him know that she is Boss Chicken.
All the big chickens then proceeded to chase Gracie. They did teamwork! A bonding moment.
By the time we left, Clarence had discovered he can fly, and was happily on the roost branch.
It’s a rooster, of course. Since we are down 3 hens (we lost our injured Jewel last week) I wanted more. Bird and Bee Farm keeps running out of chickens, so I despaired of getting more any time soon. But yesterday we got a call from Cindy Rek, who said our turn had come, because they finally have baby guinea fowl (called keats), which Kathleen has been wanting.
We hadn’t expected them so soon, so we’ve been scrambling to get stuff set up for them ever since. With a plan in our minds, Chris and I set out for the farm so we could arrive by 8 am. That is dedication. But that way we were the first to get there.
The Wildscape my Master Naturalist friend, Catherine Johnson, works so hard on is really coming into its own. So many flowers and creative touches. She’s started a southwestern garden and a moon garden with all white flowers.
After petting the Rek’s new collie puppy, Dixie, we went in for chickens and guineas. Very quickly, Chris came over with a box of ten little darlings. Five are lavender and five some other fancy color. They’re just a few weeks old and like to Peep. So I want to name them all Peep, so we can later chill with our Peeps.
I had more trouble, since I wanted older pullets. Well, they are selling them so fast that the oldest they had were 3.5 months old. I realized we’d have to separate the current hens from the new ones. Time for Plan B!
I ended up with two very black Jersey Giants (supposed to be very nice) that I had to name Spring and Steen. Jersey girls. We also got a gorgeous Silver Wyandotte. Her feathers are gorgeous, black with white tips. Her name is Patti. Mrs Springsteen.
They begged me to take a rooster, so I picked a flashy Easter Egger, in the hopes that maybe Fancy Pants can raise us some babies with olive eggs. Guess what I named him? Bruce. He has some hilarious whiskers around his face. We are probably getting another rooster from a friend. I guess he will be either Clarence or Little Steven.
There is another pair. They are Ancona, a pretty breed that apparently has red eyes. They are mostly black but have random white tips. Ours have a few white feathers, too. I read that they get more white with each moult. I ran out of E Street Band enthusiasm and named them Hedy and Hedley.
Now that we had chickens, we had to get another dog pen to put the teen chickens in, and a place for the guinea fowl to grow in. And feeders and waterers. Each group eats different food, of course. It only took two different Tractor Supply stores, thanks to the nice clerk in Rockdale who found us one in College Station. That was a nice store. It did get tiresome wearing my mask, but I looked like a cowgirl.
Our other errand was to pick up some stuff from the John Deere store. Only it wasn’t outside the store like they said it would be. It’s okay, we enjoyed driving around looking at farms.
Back at the Hermits’ Rest we went into bird housing overdrive. Chris got the guinea chicks in the big dog pen we got for them, only to watch them squeezing out. Oops. Luckily we’d bought chicken wire in case we needed it. While Lee and I chased the last escapee, the wire went up. Whew.
They loved their water and food dishes and soon were falling all over each other eating and drinking. After that, the babies napped a lot.
Meanwhile, much to the annoyance of Ginger, Bertie Lee, and Fancy Pants, Chris temporarily confined them the a small part of their coop. Then he let the black chickens out. Everyone had food and water, but the Springsteen family hid in their box for a long time.
Lee and Chris quickly built the new addition, which is bigger than the original because of how he arranged the dog pen panels.
Next, we took some of the tin left over from the Pope house project and made some shade panels for the original section, in the west, and a bit of rain cover for the new addition. They needed more shade.
After putting in some roosting branches/boards the new group was released there and the old ones got their house back. No doubt they are jealous of the grass the new chickens have. Don’t worry, I gave them some.
The black chickens had never seen grass or treats before, but they figured it out fast. By the time I went inside, they were happily eating, drinking and pecking.
We found some wood to make a couple more nest boxes and a second little coop for when the new guys start laying. They will be okay with their cardboard box temporarily.
I can’t believe Chris got as much done today as he did! Instant chicken quarters! I’m very grateful for his creativity and willingness to do this, since it was NOT on the original weekend plan.
I don’t cry much anymore. I used to cry multiple times a day, but I hadn’t in months, until yesterday. I thought the chickens were acting a bit off, and when I walked into the coop, I saw why.
There lay one of the older black hens, with our dear rooster, Buckbeak, lying at her side. I screamed, “Nooo!” as if that would fix things. It never does.
I was pretty stoic when all the other roosters and so many hens were attacked and killed over the winter. This one was different, since I Buckbeak was one of the oldest chickens in the flock, and I had known him since right after he hatched, around three years ago. He outlived all the other roosters, and was always there, protecting his “ladies.” Or trying to make more chickens with them. Ahem.