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My Chickens Part 6

Last Updated: 6/8/20

Ten Chickens!
Chicken Soap Opera
Blood Brothers

Ten Chickens!

Yep, I have ten chickens! So, I have to make a table about them, coming soon! [Ok, no time.]

Perky, Daffy, Billie, and Angel beget Georgia, Dusty, Iris, Dulcinea, Ariel, and Hope! Perky incubated six eggs and hatched four. I put Ariel and Hope in the incubator to continue to hatch. Perky took Ariel but rejected late-hatching Hope so I raised her inside alone. The first four chickens could belong biologically to any of my three adult hens.

Georgia - black with yellow chest, no frizzles, black feet.
Dusty - black, no frizzles, black feet, eye liner, feathers on feet.
Dulcinea - mix of gray, black, yellow, frizzle, black feet.
Iris - yellow/gray, no frizzle, ear tufts, blue/gray feet.
Ariel - yellow, frizzle, yellow feet, Billie or Daffy is the mother.
Hope - yellow, yellow feet, eye liner, ear tufts, one feather on foot; Billie is the mother (I watched her lay the egg five days after Perky was sitting, and I was not sure which of the eggs was the new one so I then marked the six eggs and later removed extras).

Attributes for table - name, ear tufts, foot color, frizzling, eye liner, color of hatched egg, color of laid eggs, DOB, DOD, sex, potential mother, father, name, chick colors, adult colors, feathers on feet, comb type, disposition, adult size, incubated by, raised by, problems, good flyer, eye color, etc.

Hope started jumping up on her IR heater by 5/2/19! At first, I just saw poop up there but eventually I found him up there! He was a jumper! At least three of the five chicks outside have started boxing and play fighting. Ut oh! No roosters, please! [Updating these notes because four of the six babies turned in to roosters! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!]

I had always thought that Daffy would be the one to go broody but Perky did. Then, on 5/4/19, Daffy went broody! I have 10 chickens. I cannot have more. I feel really bad for Daffy but I am taking the lid off the box every day, lifting her up, and taking all the eggs. Poor Daffy. She would have been a great mom. I think that Dusty, and/or Georgia may be Daffy's biological kids.

By 5/6/19, Iris has climbed up the third rung of a five rung wooden ladder in the chicks' run.

On 5/18/19, I put down some straw and seed and let Perky and the five chicks out in to the main run. The chicks were scared. Angel, Billie, and Daffy did not harm them but Perky immediately changed from doting mom to mean! She chased and bit the babies hard. She decided she had had enough. The chicks were confused and scared. The first night, they went and roosted on the ladder in the quarantine run. By the next night, four of them were all the way up on the high beam next to their father! Perky tried to bite them past Angel! Dulcinea roosted in a separate area but high as well. I put Hope in the quarantine run on 5/18, then in the main house on 5/19 (the other five wanted to stay in the quarantine run), and back in the quarantine run on 5/20. I was bringing Hope in at night. I would do this until late in the week when I would try to let all ten together! So many chickens! I hoped the babies were getting enough food and water since they were scared and did not "own" the space like they did when they were in the quarantine run with Perky. Perky told them what to do. Now, only their father, Angel, helped them by dropping food for them. The little ones, when not scared, sparred with each other! It is cute but scary that there are probably roosters in the mix!

Hope was released in with the others on 5/24/19 in the evening. He stayed by herself. He was not accepted by the adults or the chicks. So, the chicks' sexes were in. Unfortunately, Georgia and Iris are males. Ariel, Dulcinea, and Dusty are females [I was wrong about Dusty]. Hope seemed to be heading to being a male too but I was holding out hope that I was wrong! [Nope, Hope is a boy.]

Update 6/19/19: I am now thinking that Dusty is male (he is). His comb is small and not red but he is big, has long neck feathers, and he gives me that look with his eyes. He also boxes with Georgia and Iris. I am starting to think that Hope may in fact be female! I hope I am right. Hope is five days younger than Iris so smaller but, by now, the size difference for the age difference should not be significant but Iris is significantly larger than Hope. So, I think that of my 10 chickens, four are roosters. That is not good but could be worse. I hope they can get along. I do have the separate, smaller run and can further make smaller runs if needed.

On 7/6/19, I removed the two nest boxes (plastic dog houses) from the chickens' home. Daffy has been brooding nothing since April and would not stop and now Perky was brooding again! I have to break their broodiness, and nothing else has worked so I took away their nests. Billie is the only one laying eggs so she just dumps them in the dirt so they are too dirty to eat. I will try putting the nests back in a week and see if they are over brooding.

On 8/9/19, while walking the property, I heard a single syllable "Ohhhh" like a ghost calling. I realized it was one of the cockerels trying to crow! When I was back by the house, I heard a two syllable attempt. I do not know which of the four baby boys it was. Yes, four. I am fairly certain now that my Hopey is indeed a rooster. He is just 30% smaller with smaller head gear than Iris who looks the same otherwise. Hopey has long neck feathers (not as long as Iris') and long tail feathers that curve under. I will still refer to Hopey as a girl for now in case I am wrong. So far the chickens are getting along okay although Dulcinea and Ariel spend most of their time up on roosts in the run. I worry that they do not get enough to eat. I will hand feed any chickens up on the roost if Angel lets me (or I have closed him in the house, or the chicks are in the house without Angel). The cockerels are all scared of the three adult hens even though the cockerels are twice their size!

The cockerels have been crowing but it was not until 8/30/19 that I finally saw one doing it. It was Georgia, the largest of them. Hopey, who I no longer can hope is a girl, has finally got some male hormones and is starting to act male in addition to looking obviously male.

Chicken Soap Opera

Perky was running around like crazy on 9/3/19, and nobody was even chasing her. I caught her in the house and put a chicken dress on her. A little while later, I witnessed all four cockerels trying to gang rape her. I went and put her up on the roost in the house because she could not fly up there. The next morning, she was in the quarantine run, laying on the ground, not looking so hot. So, I made the decision to put all five hens in there even though it is only 23% of the run area. I actually got them all in there! They hated it. The hens and roosters on either side were jamming themselves at the wire trying to get to the other side. Perky was biting Dulcinea and Ariel. There are only two small roosts in there and no cover since the little house was never completed. I had a handyman coming in two months to hopefully make the house useable. In the mean time, I was not sure what to do! I am going to pick up some wood to make a few temporary perches. If I am going to separate the flock by sex, then I need to expand the quarantine area. It is way too small. Now, if I just had a few days off of work, a couple of strong men to help me, and a few thousand dollars, I would be all set! When I go home, the chickens may escape anyway when I go to tend to them so we will see. I am actively trying to find homes for Georgia, Dusty, and Iris. Nobody wants roosters alive. When I am told that I can't do something, I make it happen! So, if I have to build more, so be it.

When I got home and gave the chickens their evening mealworms, they all got together again. I installed a 10 foot long 2x4 board (they did not have a pressure treated one!) in the quarantine run but nobody wants to be in there. So, everyone is still together. I am seeing how things go day to day.

In early September, Dulcinea started laying eggs. They are smaller than the adult hens' eggs, and a dark chocolate brown! I had thought they would be green or blue since Angel is an Easter egg chicken but he might not be purebred. I do not think that Ariel is laying yet but cannot be sure. Dulcinea has been in the nest box but I have not seen Ariel there.

On 9/13/19, I had the handyman back to work on the quarantine house. I called him in on an emergency basis. He put in two vertical beams and one horizontal beam, plywood over the missing wall, and opened up a door to the outside. He came back on 9/18/19 to put in a door between the house and the run as well as hopefully try to keep some water out of the house. A roof cannot be installed because of the walkway so he may seal the gaps in the boards with silicon.

I brought Perky inside on 9/14/19 to try to put a dress on her, and she was bleeding. She had wounds on either side of her bottom back from roosters jumping on her and biting her. The scabs had opened up. I put Neosporin on it. I tried to put her in an old rabbit cage in the basement but she would not stop screaming so I put her in the quarantine house and run at least until the handyman comes back. Then, I am going to set her up in a metal dog kennel set inside the main run and covered with plastic on top at least until she heals up a bit, and I get some roosters in the hopefully finished quarantine area. Perky likes to run around screaming even when nobody is near her which apparently turns on the roosters who torture her. They do not bother the other hens as intensely. Perky raised these boys; you would think they would have more respect for her! Up until recently, they were scared of her!

I saw Iris crow for the first time on 9/15/19. It sounded horrible! He decided to practice the next morning, at 4:30 am!

On 9/18/19, the handyman was coming back so I had to move Perky from the quarantine run to a dog kennel within the main run. That morning, I had to force Dulcinea off the roost in the main house so that I could lock Angel in there so that the handyman could go in the run without fear if he needed to do so. When Dulcie flew down, two roosters jumped her and did a number on her, tearing open her side. I medicated the wound, put a dress on her, and put her up on the run roost. That day, the handyman installed a door between the quarantine run and the quarantine house, put in one window, and put in long and high roost in the quarantine run. That evening, I managed to chase Georgia, Iris, and Dusty in to the quarantine area and shut them in. They were not happy. I could not catch Hope so he gets to stay with his father and the five hens, at least for now. The next day, 9/19/19, the handyman was back. This time, he siliconed the wood walkway above the quarantine house, added a wooden roof over the part of the quarantine house that is not under the walkway, and put in one more window.

On 9/20/19, Daffy finally stopped brooding her invisible eggs. This was the second time this year that she brooded for weeks on end even though I kept taking the eggs from her. I have no doubt that she would be a better mommy than Perky was but I cannot take any chances with getting more roosters!

On 9/25/19, the handyman came back for the fourth day of work (for what was supposed to take one day!). He installed the last of three windows in the quarantine house and shingled the new roof as well as put three roosts in the quarantine house. He is set to come back on my next day off to add electricity. The three cockerels are not happy in there despite the ton of money I spent to have the work done that was supposed to have been done last year. The hens and Hopey are glad not to have those cockerels in with them. Hopey charges them on the fence line because now he feels fearless against them!

I kept a record of how much food I was giving the chickens (before they were separated). I was feeding 2.3 pounds of chicken feed a day!

In the late morning of 9/28/19, I got Perky out of the dog kennel (she put up a fight). I brought her inside and examined her former wounds, and they were almost totally healed. Feathers were coming out so I think she is also molting on top of everything. She is almost totally naked. I put a dress on her and put her back in the pen. Luckily, she was not too nutty. In fact, she acted like the dress was a lead weight and would just squat and look half dead. Later in the day, I took the dress off, and she could be herself. She spent that night on the high roost in the run, and she spent the next night in a nest box. I think it is as much her rejection the other chickens as them rejecting her. I did not see the boys try to mount her nor any new wounds but they did dance for her a little. She is only interested in eating and being paranoid. So, things seem better with the chickens overall. The three boys who are in the smaller house and run are not happy but seem healthy and adjusting to their new life. The two boys in the big run are very happy. Three of the hens are complacent/ok while the two young ones are mostly scared and stay on roost. When they do come down, they are not harassed that much that I can see. I think some of it is PTSD from when there were all those roosters chasing them. Dulcinea is the most scared. I hold food and water up for her to consume. She keeps aspirating the water when I do that though. Then, she spits it on my head.

On 10/1/19, when I came home, I found an egg on the ground in front of the nest box. It was dark olive green! Since only Ariel had yet to lay eggs, that means that it is hers, and she got her father's Easter egg chicken genes! Dulcinea lays a chocolate brown egg so she did not get that gene. Both of the pullet's eggs are about 75% as big as their mother Billie's eggs for some reason. Maybe they will get larger as the girls get older. Perky and Daffy still have not restarted laying eggs since being injured and broody respectively.

I saw Dusty crow in my presence for the first time on 10/4/19. I have seen all the roosters crow, and all the hens have laid eggs. I have had as many as three roosters crow at the same time. Some uneducated people on-line say that roosters will not "let" other roosters crow but they do not seem to care! Everyone gets along pretty well. We did not have any measurable rain from sometime in August in to October. The boys had been roosting out in the run but it was hot and dry. The three cockerels had yet to roost in the quarantine house so the night of 10/6/19, I went out there and tried to physically move them from the roosts without rain protection in to the house. There was a lot of screaming (roosters and me), flapping, slamming in to wire, eyeglasses flying off, and so on but I got them in there. And, of course, it didn't rain! Earlier that day, I noticed that Dusty's beak seemed partially detached with a little blood. I haven't seen the boys fighting (not that I'm there all day). I think he probably jammed it in the fencing. He is still eating and acting normally.

I got all 10 chickens in the two houses overnight on 10/20/19. I had to get a few of the roosters in by picking them up after I chased them for a while. It was raining. The next night, I did not try to force anyone. Perky was back in the dog house, and only one (Georgia) of the three roosters was in the smaller house. One, Dusty, was in the ceiling between the little house and little run. They usually sleep together but they were all apart. I hope they learn to go in the house, at least when it is raining or snowing!

Blood Brothers

While going on my walk the morning of 2/1/20, I heard some strange noises. It was chickens slamming in to the plywood walls. When I went to check it out, Dusty and Georgia were in a brawl. There was flapping, kicking, and lots of biting. I let them do their thing for a while, thinking that they would work it out although this was the only real fight I had seen between the three brothers in their cage. Iris was just trying to stay out of the way. Finally, I had to intervene. I went in, and Dusty was on top of Georgia in their house. Georgia was sticking his head down a hole, trying to protect his head while Dusty was just ripping in to his neck, over and over. There was blood all over. So, I used the snow shovel to separate them. I left Georgia in the house by himself the rest of the day and put extra bowls and food and water out for Dusty and Iris. Both boys were exhausted, panting, and bloody. I tried to look at Georgia's wounds but he did not want me to and was strong enough to resist. At dusk, I let them back together, and Georgia and Dusty slept on the same roost board (they usually slept separately). The next morning, I pretended all was normal but they soon went at it again. This time, I kept Dusty in the house for the day. Then, I let them together to roost. The next day was work so I just left them all together. No fights had started before I left. I hope they've figured out who is in charge and stop fighting. Hope is on the other side of the wire, and he keeps kick jumping on the fence. He wants a piece of the action! This is the life when you have five roosters! I try to remind myself that they are better off fighting than dead. I want to avoid having to separate them more because that means smaller room for each without weather protection as well as an extra food and water bowl for each new area.

I brought Dulcinea inside to the dog kennel on 3/19/20 because she had a bad wound that would not heal due to the boys and their jumping her. I have had enough of them, and so have the hens. So, I started building a separation in the run on 3/29/20. Once it is done, I will have all the boys together and all the girls together. The boys will have almost half the space. On 3/30/30, Iris was the aggressor in the boys run, attacking Georgia. It is really strange how the wimpy rooster turns and becomes the mean one, and the mean one is now a wimp. Anyway, once I add their father and brother Hope to the mix, there are sure to be even more fights. I just cannot deal with being attached by Angel and Hope anymore and having them tear up the girls so the boys will just have to do their thing, whatever that may be. I cannot separate all the chickens individually! As for the hens, Billie keeps running after the others and pulling out their tail feathers. So, she is mean to the others too! Dulcinea is pretty much healed but I am keeping her in the basement until I can finish off the separate area. I am trying to make it nice but not too nice because I need them separated ASAP. With the Covid-19 outbreak, I am working half days (chemists are essential) so I luckily have more time available. One problem I had was the need for some two by fours that I ordered from Home Depot but they are taking more than a week to come instead of same day due to everyone ordering stuff for home delivery. Others have enough time to mulch their entire property. I will not have that time but any time I get is better than none. I am so busy!

I had work off on 4/6/20 and finished dividing off another section of the main chicken run which I added to the roosters run. I managed to get Angel and Hope in the new area and then let Georgia, Iris, and Dusty out to join their father and brother. It was a blood bath, literally. Hope and Iris especially had been itching to fight, and they had the worst fighting. Both white roosters were half red in blood. Things calmed down after a few days. The order of who is in charge goes from Dusty/Iris (can't tell which is on top) to Hope/Georgia to Angel on the bottom. While Hope has gone in to the little house and roosts there during the day, Angel has not left the corner of the run that puts him closest to the main chicken house and his girls. He never tried to fight back. He just cowers in the corner. I expected more from a rooster who never hesitated to beat me up with every chance he got. I feel bad for him despite having been hurt by him more times than I can count. I have been putting a water bowl near him and throwing food in. I also put some plywood above him because he will not get out of the rain. He has not left the corner in three days so far. I may have to cut through the window in the main house and fence in an area in there for him but I do not have the time or supplies. With the coronavirus, I cannot just run to the hardware store. I had the wood I used for the expansion delivered for a hefty fee but I got lots of other stuff with it that was heavy (they forgot 20 bags of mulch and 4 bags of planting soil which I still do not have). I am out of 2x4's.

Anyway, all that fighting and blood was so that the five hens and I can finally get some peace! I put Dulcinea back outside with the other hens. I took all their saddles off. Daffy, Dulcinea, and Ariel are almost completely bald. Now, they can grow their feathers back. Billie and Perky did not get raped as often so they have most of their feathers. Despite the roosters being away from them, Dulcinea especially hangs at the fence, trying to get to the boys! When I feel bad about the roosters not getting food, water, and shelter because they are afraid of each other, I remember that, when the two roosters were with the hens, it was the hens who did not get those things because they were afraid of being jumped by the roosters. I did what I could.

OK, I could not live with things the way that they were. On 4/11/20 and 4/12/20, I cancelled scheduled chores in order to close off about a third of the main chicken house. I put in two hours on 4/11 and 3.5 hours on 4/12. I built a door. I measured. I tried to install. It did not fit. I took it all apart and trimmed it. It was not rectangular in the least. Doing this all by myself with no previous skills as a middle-aged woman is not easy! I finally got the door up and found it only opens just barely wide enough for me to squish in there. I put in a perch. I had to use non-pressure treated wood from inside the house (wall joists) to build because I could not go to the store due to stay-at-home orders. I had used up all the appropriate wood in my outdoor stockpile. Hopefully, the wood will not rot out while the current chickens are alive. After that, I will not be strong enough to do this kind of work anyway. I cut open the lower window from the house to the new run. Angel and Hope hopped in and spent the night on the new roost. They would not get down in the morning so I had to shove them off! There is no flight room which is probably why they were too scared. I may have to shove them off every day. At least they are not getting hurt anymore, and they are getting food and water but they keep spilling the water in their tiny little space. I got them inside just in time because it poured rain multiple times on 4/13/20 which was one of my spring days off of work to mulch which I could not do due to the rain!

Continue to Part 7 of my chickens' stories.

Go back to my chickens' page.

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