Tag Archives: chickens

The Continuing Chicken Saga

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Backyard Chickens

So, one morning I am woken to the sound of crowing. And so I think, OK, one of the 5 chicks turns out to be a rooster, no biggie. But I could never catch the crowing one at it. In the meantime, hubby is getting more and more irritated by the crowing in the morning, so I am all the while spying on them to see if I can catch the one crowing because I can’t tell by just looking because they are still pretty young. As I am watching them, I start noticing that three of the ‘hens’ which I was told were sexed at the factory, and were 99% guaranteed to be hens, (I asked him three or four times, and he was getting irritated — probably the guy had something he wasn’t telling me) seemed to be taller, skinnier, and were growing tufts of feathers out of their ears. Their tail feathers looked different too, longer than the others, and they were starting to fight each other, fluffing up their feathers and flying a couple of feet off the ground and attacking each other with their feet and pecking. Seemed really roosterly to me. So we packed up the three of them and hauled them out to my brother-in-law’s out in the country. They were having some grasshopper problems and thought the roosters would be happy to take care of it for them.

Problem solved, right?

Wrong.

The very next morning, I am woken again by crowing. And so after watching the two remaining chicks, I could not see a bit of difference between the two. I finally found a lady on a farm nearby who said that she would identify the rooster for me, and take it off my hands. We paid her a visit, traded the rooster for two hens, (one was blind in one eye) and came home with the other one, who she said was definitely a hen, plus the two new ones, and she gave me some very helpful tips on how to identify young roosters.

Problem solved for sure this time, right?

Wrong!!!

The next day there was no crowing and I spent one blissful day thinking that the problem had been settled once and for all. But the next day . . . you guessed it. Crowing!!!

At least I don’t feel so dumb anymore, because she was a very experienced expert and she couldn’t tell for sure if it was a rooster or a hen . . .

But, here I am, having paid for 5 hens and raising them thinking I would be getting eggs soon, and then I find out that I got cheated by a lousy sneak thief. I thought about taking them all back to his house and turning them loose in his yard. But it’s really not the chicken’s fault that they turned out to be roosters, so now I have one last rooster. Even the breeds were wrong that he told me — one of the identical roosters he had said was an aracauna, and the other he had told me was a black wyandotte.  They were both silver laced wyandottes. Anyway, if for some reason the two hens this other lady gave me turn out to be crowers, she said that she would trade them for hens. Meanwhile until I can get rid of this one, I keep hoping the neighbors don’t get so irritated that they call the police, since our area is not zoned to allow roosters. :(

So there you have the whole sordid story.

Our Backyard Chickens

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Backyard Chickens

Having chickens in our backyard has been really fun, especially for the kids. They love the chicks, and want picture-049to feed them and play with them all the time. It is a challenge sometimes to keep the kids out of the coop so that the chicks have some time to scratch in the dirt, run in the grass, and eat bugs and snails – all the fun stuff that chicks like to do. . . this is Bee with her favorite chick, Rose. (Rose is an Aracauna and will lay blue or green eggs.) We have been collecting one egg nearly every day since the beginning of April from our black bantam, Gertie, and the kids get really excited about bringing that egg in every day. I think it is really good for them to see where eggs come from. These chicks won’t lay yet for quite a while, but they really make great pets.

picture-055The one problem that I do have (other than keeping the cat at bay) is keeping the chickens out of the garden. Gertie loves the corn, and has eaten the tops off of almost all of the little corn seedlings since they came up about two weeks ago. Because of this, I am afraid that the corn is a little behind in its growth. I have also had to re-plant some of the peas and quite a few other things. The one thing that she hasn’t eaten are the onions :) One thing that helps is that we dumped some wheat out onto the ground and let it grow — they really love the wheatgrass, and they have eaten it down quite a bit. I keep it watered so it keeps growing back, and every time I let them out, that is the first thing they go to. I am thinking of building a little run so that they can be outside without fear of the cat getting them, as well as skunks and hawks. This would also keep them in one part of the yard, so that I won’t have to worry about my garden. Then I can put a little ramp up to the coop and they can

Zee and His Chick Ruby

Zee and His Chick Ruby

come in and out when they want without me having to open the door for them and then worry about forgetting to put them back in at night.

The chicks are growing fast. They don’t need the heat lamp at night any more, and are getting to where they can jump out of the coop on their own. They like to play games where they chase after eachother and jump into the air flapping their wings. They can actually lift off of the ground a little. I’m thinking I may need to clip their wings after a while to keep them from jumping the fence into the neighbors yard. Now wouldn’t that be a dandy chase?