Saturday, September 7, 2013

poultry collection

It's been a while since I've talked about chooks, way back here in fact. Since then there have been a few changes in our hen house.

The chicks which we got in December grew and grew. The two pullets, Wanda and Betty started laying at the beginning of July, right in the middle of winter.

Wanda in April
Wanda in July
Note Wanda's crazy floppy comb, a feature of Leghorns. Yes it flops right over one eye!

Betty in April
Betty in August
Unlike children you can have favourites with chooks, and Betty is mine. She's a Black Orpington, which is a very fluffy and friendly breed. She likes to visit me at my studio, she hasn't come inside yet but it's only a matter of time.

Lucky in April
Lucky in July, along with some of his admirers
Yes Lucky has grown to be a very large and handsome Leghorn rooster.  Unfortunately as he has matured he's also become aggressive to me and Miss L. Which is slightly frightening terrifying for us and not very good for his life expectancy if someone doesn't buy him off Trade Me - soon. Apparently it's a trait of light breed roosters, while heavy breeds such as Orpingtons and Barred Rocks are much more placid.

Along with these three, we still have Mumma Chook, their surrogate mother, and Molly the Silkie bantam. Molly went through a tough time a few months ago when the pullets started chasing her. Yes Betty, who is so perfect in so many ways, is a bully. The solution has been to remove a board that was under the gate, so Molly can squeeze out of the pen and free range. We feed her separately, she only has to compete with the goat for her food now.  She has also taken to sleeping rough by squeezing under the hen house. She now is quite happy and knows to keep away from Betty when the rest of them are let out every afternoon.

If you look carefully Molly can be seen behind Lucky
To add to the dynamics we also have a rescue rooster, Mr Frizz. As his name suggests he's a Frizzle, a breed which has unusual feathers that are curled backwards, so they always look dishevelled. But Mr Frizz has taken dishevelment to another level.

Unscrupulous people dump  roosters on one of the country roads around here. A couple of weeks ago we noticed a new trio there. After stopping to feed them the crumbs off the back seat of the car, Miss L declared we had to rescue the most bedraggled and unattractive rooster that I've ever seen. So armed with chook food, the washing basket and a piece of wood attached to a long string, the trap was set and the desired rooster was caught. I did feel bad that we left the other two behind.

These photos of Mr Frizz don't really show his true sorry state. His neck is completely bald, and he's lost almost all his tail feathers, plus he's had both his wings clipped to stumps. I wanted to write this post with before and after photos, but realise the after photo is going to take a while.

Unlike Lucky, Mr Frizz has a lovely nature, will eat out of my hand and doesn't have the attack gene. He is confined to the small coop until I let the girls and Lucky out into the paddock, then he can have the freedom of the run. Sometimes one of the girls stays behind to keep him company.

So that's the politics of the hen house. Despite the ups and downs I get so much joy out of this motley collection of poultry. It's a great stress reliever to watch them out and about, only now I have to watch my back to make sure Lucky is not coming for me!


  1. that white rooster is so handsome but oh that poor roadside find he looks so sorry for himself! You make me want chooks x

  2. What a sweet bunch - white rooster excluded of course. He still has a little to learn in the way of manners by the sound of it.

  3. they are fascinating creatures aren't they. i think your leghorn rooster is exceedingly handsome. can't understand why people just don't eat their roosters instead of dumping them!

  4. Oh Mr. Frizz! I can't wait to see the after photo because the poor guy is in pretty bad shape. Thank you so much for rescuing him! It makes me so sad that people just dump roosters. Lots of people do that with puppies and kittens around here, too. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

    Thanks for the flock update. I always love hearing about your chickens (chooks!) :)

  5. It's amazing how they have changed since you last wrote about them. They all have such different characters too! Lucky does look very handsome what a shame he doesn't have temperament to match! I'm so glad you rescued Mr Frizz, how sad he had been treated so badly.
    Sarah x