Our Rooster’s Fate & Pullet Update

I’m happy to report that our rooster saga has a happy ending.  So Beta is happy, Penguin is happy, and the kids are happy—well, everyone but Nathan, anyway.  Growing into manhood, he was kind of hoping to slaughter something and put meat on the table.

Fortunately, friends of ours were in the market for a new rooster and took Beta off our hands.  I imagine, as the new kid on the block, he may have gotten a taste of his own medicine at first, but all things considered, it could have been much, much worse for him.

Penguin (black-tipped, white feathers) enjoying the grass with the other big girls.

It’s nice to see Penguin, our old broody, out enjoying the grass again with the other hens, instead of hiding out in the coop for fear of venturing out and being attacked by Beta and the others.  With him gone, the other hens are now noticeably more courteous toward her.

The pint-size pullets

We’re going to shake things up a bit here probably tonight, because our 8-week-old pullets have outgrown the chicken tractor.  Last week we wheeled them out next to the main chicken run so the two groups can get a little acquainted with each other before we integrate them.  Still, in true chicken fashion, we know many feathers will be ruffled as a new pecking order is established when they all have to live in the same quarters.

We always try to integrate our flocks in the evening near roosting time when they’re less likely to fight.  Then when a new day dawns they have plenty of space to stay out of each other’s way and hopefully there won’t be any serious injuries.  That’s the plan, anyway.  The numbers are about even, but the big girls are, well, bigger, so we’ll see what happens.

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Chicken News and a Free Rooster

First off, just look at these future egg-layers.  I can’t call them chicks anymore, can I?  At 6.5 weeks old, all the fluff is gone and they no longer even resemble the word.  They’re pullets now and will be called hens when they begin laying in another several months.

And by the looks of them, they are indeed pullets . . . whew.  That’s what they were labeled, and that’s what we paid for, but I saved my receipt just in case because you never really know until they grow up a bit.

In other chicken news, we are looking for a new home for our beautiful Ameraucana rooster.  He was given to us by a friend after our old roo Morgan, the most gentle bird ever, up and died on us for no apparent reason.

You may recall the big boys putting some rooster psychology into practice in hopes of making sure this then newcomer knew who was boss and didn’t go the way of our first rooster, Tricky.  It seems to have worked, because he has never once gotten aggressive with us.  Naming him Beta must have helped, because he seems to know he is not the alpha.

Isn’t he gorgeous?  He has a nice crow too.  So why would we ever part with him, you may wonder?

Well, kind as he’s been to us, we can’t say the same regarding the hens—well just one hen in particular. He’s downright vicious to poor Penguin, one of our old hens, jumping on her and pecking her ruthlessly, and holding her down so all the other higher-in-the-pecking order hens can join in, which they do.  I know it’s the way of chickens, but still.

Broody Penguin in 2010

Old Penguin is probably not laying well anymore, and yes, it would be easier to dispatch her; however, she was our first broody and therefore has remained a family favorite, particularly with the younger children, and I promised them long ago we would never ever cull her.

So, do I have any takers?  If friends do not want him, Beta is going on Craig’s List, and if no one there wants him, then I’m afraid Nathan will get to put his pocket knife to good use, which he’s been itching to do for two reasons:  1) no one likes a bully and 2) teen boys are always hungry.

Outside at Last

Last week we moved the chicks from the house to the garage (which solved our dust problem,) but after a few days there it became apparent that they simply needed more space.  They were wanting to use their growing wings, and the constant flapping around of a dozen 4-week old, restless pullets resulted in the food and water containers being continually knocked over.

Still, with cooler nighttime temperatures, we didn’t want to risk them freezing at night out in the chicken tractor.  But over the weekend we thought of a perfect solution.  We moved them into the chicken tractor where they can be outside during the day, then at night we wheel them into the garage where it stays warmer.

They now have plenty of space to roam, along with ample amusements to be found among the blades of grass.

Those are some happy chickens.