Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chicken news

Is anyone wondering how the chickens are doing? Well, here's an update.

Our Black Australorpe hen was fascinated by Smoky and her Bandits. Here she's craning her neck to see into the pen.

For the first few days Smoky had her Bandits with her, we kept this fire screen around the stall door when it was open during the day. This kept the chicks in and the older hens out. (Chickens will sometimes pick on babies.)

As the chicks started exploring more, the older hens (and the rooster) started hanging around the firescreen, trying to catch glimpses of them.

Meanwhile Smoky was doing great with her nine Bandits. She hasn't lost any yet.

She's a patient mother, letting the chicks climb all over her.

It always cracks me up, how those chicks can hide so thoroughly in her feathers.

But at last we took the firescreen from the door and let Smoky outside. We trusted her to defend her chicks if the other chickens got too bullying. In fact, the other chickens haven't bothered the Bandits at all.

Soon she was all over the barn with them.

Meanwhile we had the half-grown chicks still in the inside cage in the coop. Adult chickens tend to pick on half-grown birds, so we wanted to give them a chance to get bigger before taking their lumps. For the last few days, however, we've kept the interior cage door open. The half-grown chicks have gotten pecked a few times (hey, "pecking order" is called that for a reason!) but they're getting bolder and bolder about exploring their world.

They other hens are leaving them alone. Presumably the pecking order is firmly established by now.

Thirsty bandits.

See? Daddy (our rooster Snap) isn't bothering his bandits at all...

...though they seem a little over-awed by him.

Right now we have thirty birds of various ages running around the yard. We'll have to "off" some roosters as we find out how many we have, but for the time being everything is peaceful among our flock. Phew!


  1. Isn't is wonderful how our creator provides for his creatures. I have done the same thing with chicks in the past. I just love watching a mother hen taking care of chicks it just warms your heart.
    I have an unrelated question for you. I know you are an expert food preserver. What is your opinion on pressure canners? I have a 23qt Presto that I have been using for years with no problems. But I have read that a lot of serious canners do not like them. I agree that All American is probably better but they are double the price.
    Thanks for any input you can give.

    1. dont pay attention to that advise..presto or any other brand of canner, if working well for you is just fine. no matter what kind of pressure canner you have, you still have the same maintenance. and if you have the weighted gauge instead of the dial gauge, it is even less maintenance.

  2. That's one handsome rooster! Looks like lots of the half grown chicks take after him :o)

  3. Isn't it just amazing how fast they grow!
    Really surprised Snap hasn't gone after the babies yet. My Charlie does not like any new little hens to invade his space. He would chase and bite them so I had to separate them from him and the older hens. It was a lot of work for many, many weeks! Now the new ones are his favorites and the older hens are jealous.
    There is still pecking and squawking in the coop at night while they vie for the favorite roosting spot next to him. (And yes, Charlie knows he is the most handsome rooster in the world!)

  4. Love those little chickies. Right now our Mama hen is still leading around her little flock -- and they are 12 weeks old! Usually by week 6, Mama Chickens are done. This one is a keeper!

  5. I ask because I know nothing about chickens: Do you expect Smokey to lay even more eggs from now on because she is now happier? Happier because she laid on eggs and they hatched,so now she is a proud mama. Details of just how she got those chicks don't matter.

    1. Smoky will resume laying eggs, but probably not for a few weeks (maybe months) yet. Broody hens have a change in their bodies that suspends egg-laying (interestingly, their posture while broody also discourages roosters from mating with them).

      Her maternal instinct will start to fade in a few months when the babies are older, and she'll resume laying then.

      - Patrice

  6. Really glad to hear things are going well with all the chickens.
    Have a wonderful week!

  7. hi. i thought the chickens at the firescreen looked like people at a movie theater. chicken TT!!

  8. So cute!

    I have had two wonderful roosters who were excellent daddies. The first, Bertie Wooster, broke up the stupid cockerel fights his sons got into, sending them flying to opposite corners, and defended his daughters from those rotten boys. The second, Colonel Sanders, loved chicks! He would call them over for treats and scratch goodies for them and even take naps with them sometimes. Such good boys.

    Both were banties.

  9. Saw this clip and immediately thought of your Smoky and her bandits:

    Too cute!