Well, I promised you updated photos of the chicks from the second hatch. Well, here they are….. almost five months later.
Their mama did a very good job raising them. She mothered them for close to 14 weeks, until they got too big for the broody box. At that point she tried to encourage them to join her in the chickshaw, but they were having none of it. She mothered them a bit during the day for a few more days after that, they were on their own.
After that, we moved them into the chickshaw after dark. It took them a few days to get the hint, but they then slept there.
In January, we had a coop failure and the bottom wire of the tractor was pulled away from the frame. It was really cold and the wire was frozen to the ground, so we were waiting for warmer weather. One night, I was coming back from dropping Mr. G off at my parents’ house next door. I often do this when I have to work online in the evenings. That is when I heard my Black Cochin rooster making a warning call. This was very unusual. The chickens rarely make any noise at night. So I had Matthew and David venture out to check on what was wrong. They found an opossum had gotten in through the breakage and killed one of the Cockerels. Since the chicken was almost as big as the opossum, it couldn’t get away and they dispatched it. It had warmed up, so we got the parts we needed to fix the mobile coop and did it the next day. It just goes to show, even if you haven’t seen any signs of predators, it doesn’t mean they aren’t lurking around, testing your defenses.
Fast forward the beginning of this month. The “chicks” were 23 weeks old. We decided to move the cockerels into the bachelor pad with our 2 Delaware roosters and 1 New Hampshire. There used to be more roosters in the bachelor pad, but we intentionally culled any roosters that were overly aggressive to other roosters and these 3 are pretty chill. We dumped all 5 of the cockerels in very quickly. And once the 5 were submitting to the 3 previous residents, all violence stopped. There was no excessive chasing, no blood, no beating another rooster after they submitted. It was a lovely change compared to past introduction experiences.
After about an hour, the three main roosters were allowing the cockerels to eat with them with only an occasional peck on the head to remind them to watch their manners. Later that afternoon, the 5 cockerels started fighting with each other. Two of them in particular were showing signs of extreme aggression to each other. When things got too bad, the Delaware and New Hampshire roosters would jump in and break up the fight, chasing the combatants to opposite ends of the run. It was an amazing thing to watch. Good roosters are worth their weight in gold.
These little homegrown BSL roosters grew into quite handsome birds.
Their sisters are also quite good looking as well. We recently started getting small pullet eggs and I’ve been seeing them getting in and out of the nest boxes. So they are starting to lay. They are also beautiful birds. 3 of them are completely black with the same green iridescence as Molasses (their father). The fourth is very similar, except for a red bib of feathers on her neck and chest.
Photo bomb by Cheeks.
Last week, the three most aggressive of the cockerels went to freezer camp. I’m not planning on breeding them, so there is no need to keep them around. Their brothers will be following soon. When dressed, they look halfway between a Cornish X bird and your standard dual purpose bird. They have about twice as much breast meat as a normal DP bird and their legs are meatier as well. They dressed out between 3-4 lbs. I’ll have to experiment with slaughtering this cross sooner and see how they are.