Things have been going well since we moved our lone adult rooster into the pen with the hens. The hens seem to be friendlier with each other and this rooster is much nicer to the hens than General Tso ever was. For example, when food was involved, General Tso was out for all he could get. He would rake any hens that were in his way aside so he could get at it. This rooster (who we have yet to name) stays at alert while the hens dive for the food and he will look around and peck at any food he finds, but “chuckle” at the hens as if to say “Ooo, here’s a tasty morsel!” and then then backs off when the hens come to find the food. The flock is also much more cohesive. The wind has been brutal these last few weeks, and the run blew away from the chicksaw and they all got out. Until we started trying to corral them back in the pen, all the hens and the rooster were sticking together in one group, unlike what would happen if General Tso and the hens got out. He also has yet to show any aggression towards humans. He did get a bit upset and vocal yesterday when I was trying to capture two hens who broke out of a hole in the run fencing, but he didn’t attack me.
The hens are also giving us 12-14 eggs a day now. There have been a few days with 10 eggs and a couple where we got one from each hen (15 total). So it evens out. The eggs are a pretty mix. We usually get eggs varying in color from plain white to mid range brown. We have one hen who routinely gives us spotted brown eggs and another who gives us light green eggs (probably Big Head because she has the easter egger muff on her face).
It can sometimes be hard to see the difference between the green egg and the white eggs on camera, so here is a comparison of the two on a white background.
While it doesn’t happen often, we will sometimes get an undersized egg. The larger egg in the picture below is one of our smaller white eggs, the other is the smallest egg I’ve seen to date from our chickens size they stopped laying pullet eggs. When held up to the light, the smaller egg looks like it is almost completely filled with yolk. It will be interesting to see how that egg looks when hard boiled.
There can also be a difference in the texture of our eggs. It may be hard to see in the photo, but the egg on the left had a flat look to it and a sandpaper texture to the shell. The egg on the right had a more glossy finish and a smooth texture. It is amazing to me how different the eggs can be.
The chicks have been doing great. They are now 6 weeks old and are thriving. Whenever I open the coop, there are always a few chicks that fly up to perch on the dividing wall to greet me. The one in the middle is the friendliest rooster, the ones on either side are the friendliest hens. All three of them love to perch on my hand and let me pet them.
There is a pretty wide range between the largest and the smallest birds. Both are showing signs of being roosters. The largest one, on the left, probably weighs over pound right now. The smallest one, on the right, weighs less than half what the largest does. I will be weighing them all at 12 weeks to see who grows the fastest and makes the breeder cut.
To give yo an idea of how friendly the buffs are, neither the biggest, nor the smallest were eager to be handled, but once I had them in my hand they were content to perch on me and have their photo taken. Not so with Rambo. This little black chick is very rammy, hence the name, and actively protests being handled. He is definitely a rooster, based on comb and wattle development. He will not stay perched on my hand any longer than it takes for him to jump off. This is why I’m holding his body to take pictures. I’m not so sure that he is a silkie any more since he isn’t developing a “puffed” head. I don’t think we will be keeping him around long term. He is a good deal smaller than any of the buffs and the doesn’t have a good disposition.
With the shift in weather, the chicks have only been outside one day in the last week as it has been too cold for them. It was on the verge of being warm enough today, but the wind was brutal. They love being outside and eating grass. They even managed to pull some worms out of the ground. There is usually a big fight over the worms.
On days when they can’t go outside, I usually pull several large handfuls of fresh grass for them to enjoy. It is usually gone in less than an hour.