New Chickens at the Farm (and the REAL deal about the gender question of old)

This is that awkward moment when I tell you that I guess what I thought was an egg-dropping-slot on some of the chickens…. wasn’t. Apparently, as I caught, flipped and pawed around the feathers of Gertrude, Francis and Marilyn, the opening I managed to see underneath was something other than a slot used for dropping eggs.  I probably need not elaborate on what I must have found.  (Don’t worry, there are no photojournalistic images)

It’s not really polite conversation, this talk of chicken butts and egg slots.  I approached the issue with my husband as we sat in the near dark of 6am having coffee and squinting out the window to see the first few birds feeding outside.  He quickly cut short the whole thing.  He can’t handle talking about chicken butts over coffee at that hour.  Or probably ever.

I also traumatized him early last week with a video I posted on Instagram of Rosie laying an egg!  (click the link to watch)

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Anyway. About the roosters. My friend has a son who is a real expert about chickens, and he confirmed for me for SURE yesterday that yes, the three suspected dudes are in fact roosters.  This means we have 9 chickens, 4 of whom are roosters.  This, my friends, is not a good ratio.  Gertrude, who is a he, will stay on a probationary basis, because Sage particularly likes him. If he is rotten, he goes.  That’s the deal. (Gertrude is the weirdo rooster strutting around with the white feathers. Marilyn and Francis are the roosters below… All dudes.  Good grief.)

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And Fred (who is a new guy and an intentional rooster acquisition) will stay.  Although he seems naughty…. Oh, you must hear about the new chickens…

Fred with my Meem

Fred with my Meem

We went to a friend’s house about two hours away in a beautiful coastal town called Machais.  The drive was beautiful, with leaves amazing colors and rusty red blueberry fields all along the road, farmhouses peppering the landscape. Fall in Maine is the best.

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My friend had two black silkie chickens about 3 months old, a male and female pair, plus she gave us a precious top hat/Polish pullet (young hen) who I’d admired.

Sage named them.  I wanted to name them Stacy and Clinton (I’m a What Not to Wear fan), but my husband wasn’t really ok with that.  So we have Twinkle Toes and Fred.

Twinkle Toes

Twinkle Toes

Tina Turner Yolanda Chicken is the top hat/Polish (our friend named her Tina and my oldest daughter named her Yolanda, so we have a long name here.  It’s ok, because my dad started the trend by being named Frederick David Neil Gass.  So we can totally rock a long name in our family.  Twinkle Toes has a middle name as well, which is Pip Squeak.  And our goldendoodle is Rigby Donkey Doodle Wheeler. It’s just how we roll).

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So Tina Turner Yolanda had a really hard day yesterday.  I had been keeping her and the silkies she arrived with in a big dog crate with no bottom in it so they could scratch and peck at the grass outside, and the “big girls” (half of whom are actually guys, but anyway) could see them without terrorizing them. When I went out at lunch I was devastated to see Tina had lost feathers on her backside and was a little raw skinned!  Fred had pecked and pecked at her for what seemed like much of the morning!

They were separated, and I went to get Blue Kote, a spray I had read about that is an antiseptic and dye for animals so if they have sores it won’t draw more pecking and will be disguised. She looked so pitiful in her own little crate, sweet girl. We’re seeing how it goes.  She may do alright but she may need to go back with my friend or something, if she seems to not be safe here.  I felt like such a horrible chicken mama!

Today, I put the silkies in the veggie garden, which is fenced in, along with Rosie and Henry (who are both girls), my awesomely friendly Rhode Island Red hens. They are dolls!  Rosie bosses every one of those roosters around.  But she didn’t even look like she was close to pecking at the newcomers.  I stayed a while to keep watch. She and Henry poked around and would go near the little ones, but they are so gentle.

Sweet Rosie, who is kind to everyone.

Sweet Rosie, who is kind to everyone.

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Eventually I added Tina Turner Yolanda out to the garden, so she could get some space to wander.  Fred has one or two times seemed to try to peck at her, and I may need to put her aside again, so she can heal up.  But she liked finding bugs and greens to enjoy out near the zucchinis.

So we’ve had lots of chicken drama this week, friends.  What has YOUR week been like?

Oh, here’s some of my littlest kiddo’s chicken artwork for you to enjoy this weekend!

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 Oh, come on by the Farmgirl Blog Hop! I just discovered it recently and am enjoying other people’s farm escapades.

 

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