First of all, I gave away 7 chickens. The Silver Laced Wyandottes, Buff Orpingtons & 1 Jersey Giant rooster. My mom had a bobcat go on a killing rampage in her chicken coop, killing 27 of her 28 birds. They shot the cat, but all those birds she had raised, and who had just started laying were gone.
My chickens are the most ill treated birds ever. They have no coop, no pen and half of them suffer from a case of species confusion and believe they are dogs… So these were things I had to keep in mind when choosing which birds to give away. The 3 Silver Laced Wyandotte hens were very flighty and couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of staying on my property. The 3 Buff Orpington hens wouldn’t come when called and weren’t people friendly…. And the big Jersey Giant roo was fondly referred to as “The Survivor” as he survived the inappropriate advances of a buck in rut, but carried the battle scars of a naked bum due to being held down and plucked by that goat. He was an outsider…after all, why would the hens want the half naked roo who had been molested by a goat? Now all 7 are happily contained in my mom’s nice coop & run… Jersey roo is the only roo, king of his domain, is growing his feathers back, and with it, his lost self esteem.
|Jackson- The bloody thirsty rooster|
Next up, we got rid of Jackson, our former top rooster. Jackson was supposed to be a Light Brahma but obviously wasn’t. He was a small, stringy looking bird with a lot of attitude. He fiercely protected the girls though, so we tolerated him…. Until he turned his temper fits loose on us.
I was attacked a few times and usually gave him a kick, and once beat him off me with a bat. You’d think he would have learned…but NOOOO!
One day, my son was outside & Jackson was stalking him…
Usually Tator turns around and threatens him and that’s that…. This day was different. Tator ran & the blood thirsty beast of a bird loved that!
I’m ashamed to say I failed miserably in my motherly duty that day….. Tator is dashing about in one huge circle, that evil bird right on his heels and the entire time Tator is screaming…. Not several screams…but one very long, extended, solid scream that went on and on like a looped recording…
My gosh it was hilarious!! So funny in fact I could barely help him out due to the giggle fit that had me paralyzed.
I know! I know!! I already said I was ashamed of myself so stop thinking evil thoughts about me!!
I did eventually help him though and caught up to them just as Jackson caught up to him.
That day Jackson went to freezer camp & “Big Red” happily stepped up to the plate as the only roo left.
|"Big Red", his girls & the barn cats sharing kitchen scraps.Girls are: Jersey Black Giants, HP Reds, 1 Welsummer, Speckled Sussex, Blue Cochins, 1 Blue Andalusian & Ameraucanas..|
Next up a Riccardo update.
I introduced you to Riccardo *here*.
Well since she received her unfortunate name I think it altered her personality. Perhaps she thought she needed to be simply outstanding to help folks see past such a ridiculous name… Either way, this bird is officially a pet. She’ll stay as long as she lives, regardless if she’s productive or not. She comes to her name, likes to sit on your lap and is very, very smart. She averages 6-7 eggs per week too, so that’s not too shabby!
One day, Jasper is carrying on, barking up a storm. I get on to him twice & finally put him in his kennel because he won’t be quiet. Once all is quiet I hear a “Tap-Tap-Tap”…. “Tap-Tap-Tap” on the front door…. Not being able to see anyone through the window at a distance, I assume it’s the neighbor’s kids knocking and I couldn’t see them and that’s why Jasper was barking.
I open the door thinking to find a child and instead find Riccardo!
She cocks her head to the side, reaches out her foot and scratches my pants leg…. This scratching is common and means she wants food. So I go grab her some kitchen scraps, take it to her and she happily leaves to enjoy her snack. 15 minutes later the whole thing repeats and I now have a bird that knocks on the door for food…..
She also went broody on me! She went missing for a few days and I freaked out. Couldn’t find her anywhere… Then one day I found her with this:
A big ol’ clutch of eggs… Timing was bad, but I was going to let her have them… Sadly my neighbor's wretched dogs ran her off of it and the eggs got cold so I had to toss them. I really, really, really despise folks who don’t have the decency to contain their dogs.. And this nut has anywhere from 9-12 at a time! Ugh….
Next up in fowl news, our odd egg find:
|Clayton poking the squishy egg to show it's squishiness|
It was all squishy and had no shell, just the inner membrane. It was also double yoked. The kids thought it was great… Tator wanted to keep it, Shayla wanted to eat it, but in the end the barn cats got it. Haven’t had one like that since…. They have a good diet, plenty of calcium and such, so I’m assuming that one was just a fluke.
We had our first real predator threat not too long ago… An owl!
Around 4:00am I hear frantic squawking from the front yard where there’s a door leading to the bedrooms and a covered porch. In the midst of the squawks I hear the “Tap-Tap-Tap” on the door… I jump up, turn the light on and head out with the closest weapon… A broom.
Never underestimate a woman armed with a broom.
All the terrified birds are piling on each other, Riccardo is trying to get inside and just past the porch overhang a big owl has one of my beautiful blue Cochins by the wing and is trying to gain altitude!!! He was about 7ft up in the air when I took after him with the broom… Two solid hits makes him release my Cochin and he hit’s the ground on the other side of the fence… I check on my birds and much to my surprise he comes back!!!
Tough lil booger.
He does another low fly by and once again gets my broom, though this time he was high enough I only managed to give him a swat to the backside.
He goes from telephone pole to tree….flying just out of reach, back and forth, getting closer to the porch each time. We play our game for about 25 minutes, but by this time, I’m cold and tired.
Jasper, excited by the outside commotion, wanted out.
Turned out to be a fabulous plan! He had such a great time chasing that owl back and forth across the yard and after the owl’s first swoop down with Jasper, he discovered that a Great Dane has a pretty impressive leap and was forced to stay higher up to avoid becoming the most delightful chew toy ever. Jasper faithfully chased the bird and watched him until sunrise (though I don’t believe this was done out of loyalty to my chickens, I think he was just having fun, lol)…
I cleaned my poor Cochin’s wing (only a few punctures) and everyone survived the night…. Now they all roost in the barn. Thankfully it only took one night to teach them to bed down somewhere safer than a porch!
My Blue Andalusian is a hen (she's in the top picture with "Big Red"..small blue bird, big comb, white earlobes)! Couldn't figure it out for some time with her big comb, no noise and no eggs...She is a small bird but lays good sized white eggs, is the most scatter brained bird I’ve ever encountered and she can actually fly. She’s my only white egg layer and for the past month or so we’ve been averaging 4-5 white eggs per week. The kids used to be crazy over the *green eggs*, but since we get 14-20 of those a week now, the new competition is to see who can find the white egg… A real chore since that dumb bird lays them in the most inconvenient places..
And of course I saved the best for last….and for obvious reasons, this bit once again will feature the famous Riccardo.
My son has this giggle….. When I hear it he’s either 100% tickled to death about something, or he’s doing something he really shouldn’t be doing.
I’m in the kitchen one day and hear "The Giggle"…. So I walk from the kitchen, into the living room and glance out the window to see Clayton trying his best to control his laughter, but he's having such a fit he can barely keep himself upright.
He’s kneeling, holding an apple core in his mouth and Riccardo is jumping up on his knee, taking a bite, and hopping down… Over & over again. I went out and snapped pics really fast, but sadly these were the only two that didn’t come out blurry.
|Clayton feeding Riccardo an apple core while holding it in his mouth... Big Red wants some too!|
|I believe the Ameraucana thinks both of them are nuts...|
I asked him what on earth he was doing....
“Feeding Riccardo of course”
Yes, Yes, I see that, but WHY are you feeding her like that?!?!
“It’s funny momma, she likes it”
Okay….but WHY did you start this? When did you start doing this??
“Oh, we always do it and it always makes me laugh… We do it all the time, she really likes bananas! Isn’t it so funny momma??”
Yep honey, it sure is…..
Of course it’s gonna make folks wonder why I don’t give you better things to do so you're not compelled to invent strange ways to feed the chickens, but whatever floats your boat honey!
Silly kid…Silly bird..