Monday, July 18, 2011

A Roo (?) and a Roost

So sorry about the lag in between posts, but we had a severe thunderstorm last week, and our Airport (Apple wireless router and modem) was blown to smithereens. The second one in 2 years. I'm seeing a theme...Anyhoooo! There are lots of pics in this post, as we've been busy and I've been taking pictures!

While watching the Dixie Chicks grow, I've noticed "Mable" (right) has developed a distinctive comb and waddle (the red fleshy bits on top of her head and under her chin). Her sudden growths have far exceeded those of her sisters, Myrtle (left), and Ida Mae (Bottom). Not to mention, her feather color is different than the other Rhode Island Reds we have. "Mable" has blackish-green feathers coming out at the base of her tail and around her neck. None of her RIR sisters have these colors. This leads me to think that "Mable" is really a Roo. A Rooster, that is. Pooh...I mean Stew. So, "Mable" will be renamed "Stew Pot." He'll be in the stew pot if he is hateful and mean to any of my girls or to my family. Now, I do understand that there are benefits to having a Roo. They protect their flock of women, and if I ever want to expand my flock, he will be an essential part of that endeavor. BUT, I have also heard of nightmarish stories of aggressive Roos and my mom has scars on her legs from the spurs of such beasts. Shannon is not in agreement with me on the sex of this chicken. He just thinks "Mable" is in the 90th percentile of growth compared to the other ladies. I think he's in denial. So, for now, we have a transgendered chicken.

Shannon built the girls a nice roost, and to encourage them using it, we put their favorite treats on several levels. It worked. That night, when I tucked them into bed, Goldie was already hunkered down on the top roost.

Goldie and Ida Mae checking out the roost and the watermelon.

Once they figured it out, we put the watermelon back on the floor. The next morning, it was nothing but a green shell...

We decided it was time to let them out to forage. They love going out, and run past me as soon as I open the doors in the evenings. They still come in and out of their coop, but mostly stay outside eating grass, clover, bugs and scratching through horse pooh.

Here's Myrtle, Blanche, and Goldie enjoying a beautiful day outside.

Hammish, our mighty barn cat/hunter, was at first only interested in a chicken dinner when he discovered them in the pasture. After the girls ganged up on him, pecking his ears and paws (he bears the scabs on both), he soon realized 9 against 1 weren't good odds, so he has become their faithful flock protector. He lays out in the pasture, surrounded by his girls, basking in the sun listening to their clucks and coos. His eyes stay in what seems like a constant state of half closure and contentment. He's in heaven with his Dixie Chicks.

We decided to go ahead and hang their feeder and waterer. The girls were roosting on top of the small waterer we had in there, and the water was a constant mess. So far, I love how this has worked out.

Two of the girls check out what Shannon and I are doing to their coop.

Shannon starts the process of putting up roosts...

We used recycled materials from around the farm. No use buying new, when the girls are just going to sleep and pooh on them...

The finished product. The top roost is a landscaping timber, and the bottom two are decking boards that we bought as face boards for our 4 board fence. They were damaged, and instead of taking them back to Lowes, we decided to just use them. The side braces are old oak from the barn...probably about 65 years old or so.

The girls checking out their new diggs.

Completely unrelated to chickens, here are some pretty pictures of my lillies that decided to finally bloom. They are near our side door and the smell is heavenly...

This one is my favorite. What's growing in your garden???

1 comment:

  1. Hey Aimee, I like your chickens and coop. We are talking about getting some, but not sure about it. How time consuming are they and how do you keep them safe? We live out in the country and have all kinds of predators that would love to eat them. I would love to learn more about them.