Farmyard Menagerie Newsclips

Forgive my artistic licence, I guess it's a little silly to call this a farmyard. In truth it only encompasses a coop yard. But it FEELS like a farmyard to me (since I've never had a farm there's no way to compare it).

I have some tiny news clips to share in this ongoing saga of building resilience:

First, I'm getting a dozen 2 year-old hens (layers) free sometime in the next week.
Of course, I'm counting chickens before they've hatched, but lets make the assumption it goes as planned, kay?

This is good news even if I don't even know what breed they are, lol. 

Getting hens at laying age means I don't have to spend money on expensive chick starter feed after spending $ on the chicks themselves, nor endure any chick deaths that is common when you buy chicks from a hatchery that ship them immediately after hatching.
My local feedstore would order any chick breed I requested and that would be another option of course, but still costs $4 a chick, plus the necessary feed.

 (Really, what the hell did they feed chicks all throughout history without "feed stores"!? LOL)

It also saves me hatching chicks/getting chicks and then feeding them 4 to 6 months before they begin laying, only to slow laying or stop completely in winter, so only 2 or 3 months of small eggs for possibly a years' cost in feed. Of course over time you would get an extra year of eggs, since these are already 2. 

So, the propane guys came to set up a smaller propane tank and I had to hang around for them to reset the broiler/heater unit afterward. Standing around talking. 
I learned that one of them has a ranch with 70 too-many chickens. He saw mine and asked if I wanted any and how many. I said I'd be happy to take a dozen, and that was that!

Now I have to figure out dividing the coop so that the new flock can be somewhat quarantined for a couple of weeks. I hate to coop them up in such nice weather, but it's a necessary evil so they don't make my flock sick if they were sick in some way. 
Also you always coop up a new flock to learn what home is, and to acquire the smell of it. This will help the other hens to accept them too. 

With all these (4) roosters, it will be interesting times soon...

My "big chick" roo has grown increasingly aggressive toward the other roo chicks to establish his place as top dog- he will settle down if he has his own flock to defend against them like he goes after the old gray roo's hens. I assume he'll assume this

The turkey-looking roo chick (no comb) sometimes takes him on, but the beautiful white roo is so skiddish he only runs and tries to stay out of range. I wish HE were the big one and most able to defend a flock of hens, but news clip #2: he's the one that was almost picked up by that hawk on Saturday... 
He immediately ran to the coop and sat on the rafters for a while. 
I would keep only him, but I can't afford to lose the only rooster I will be counting on for egg fertilization in years to come. Which could happen since he's small enough to be hawk bait! (The old gray roo is useless in that regard. He tries, but is pretty inept!)

This episode apparently caused the 4 laying hens to quit laying for 2 days too! (I have 8 total).

I immediately re-strung wire across the coop yard (with hanging pieces of sheet strips) to try and deter further hawk abduction attempts. But they are free-ranging chickens, so it's probably not all that useful, but it's the best I can do right now. 

So there you go- another episode in my growing farmyard menagerie. 


Wonderwoman said...

SCORE! Free chickens without having to do the baby chick thing? Awesome!

Colleen, Davison, Michgian said...

Good luck with the hawk! We have several in the area. One perched on our chicken yard post, which confirmed our suspicision that a hawk carried away our sweet 3 month old kitten, Ziggy. Ziggy was colored much like a rabbit, unfortunately. We miss her. . .

I read your post regarding the baby goose. I have had an average of a dozen semi-freerange chickens for about 20 years. A "fun", sometimes "frustrating", way to participate in the "simple life". I used to be a banker with long hours. After work, I would take my lawn chair, along with a magazine, a beverage, slices of bread, and go unwind in the backyard, watching the chickens go about their life. It was so relaxing and therapeutic. My four daughters and I had raised the chickens from chicks, hand feeding them with bread so they would get use to us. Colonel, a white rooster, would sit on my arm. Henny, a chick my daughter's class hatched, lived with us for 12 years & is now immortalized on our hen house door. Our last "flock" started out in cages in the garage to keep them safe from night creatures in the barn. They are now 3 years old & still think
they have a right to enter the garage. We will NEVER do that again! Imprinting is very rewarding, just becareful that you go to their environment. lol

We have NOT had good luck with roosters as a whole. We have had a couple that remaind calm & became part of our family. The majority became protective of their flock and would attack, especially if we turned our backs. Now that granddaughters like to "see" the chickens, roosters are not welcome, for the most part, into our family.

Enjoy . . . it's theraputic & a great way to enjoy life's simple pleasures.