The truth is that no one likes waiting in line. Even chickens.
This morning, I heard loud squawking coming from the henhouse and decided to investigate. Inside, I found the dilemma. There were six hens needing to lay eggs and only three nest boxes. Poor girls. Waiting and labor combined, not a good combination.
We were so blessed on Father’s Day. Two weeks ago, I lost three of my beloved hens due to a predator attack. Since then, we’ve made adjustments to secure the rest of our flock. However, it’s made me feel quite sad seeing the coop so empty, and especially sad for my little Gretchen, who lost her best friend. She wanders alone now in the pasture and doesn’t have a buddy to roost with at night. Chickens tend to make friends and stick with them. But…on Father’s Day that changed.
A friend from church is going through a transition and needed to find a new home for her 8 chickens. It was a mutual blessing for all of us. She knew her chickens were going to a good home, and our henhouse would once again be full of love and eggs. So on Father’s Day, we collected our new little ladies, which wasn’t easy since those rascals were fast and kept running under the deck!
Once they were settled into their new coop and pasture, they seemed happy to explore. My daughter was giddy to show them around and give them all lots of hugs.
At night, I checked to see that the girls had all made their way into the coop and then my heart swelled. Gretchen wasn’t perching alone. She had a new friend, a little Ameraucana hen was tucked close beside her. I am sure they slept warm and happy. In this little thing, I see God’s love. He cares even about my hens. And if He cares about a small chicken, believe me when I say…He cares even more for you.
This morning, I went out to collect eggs inside the hen house. My two little children tagged along beside me as they usually do. What we found upon entering reduced me to tears.
Last night a predator, we’re thinking it was a raccoon, got inside the henhouse and wreaked havoc on my precious chickens. Three of my hens were dead and missing large parts of themselves. One of the girls is limping badly. I love my chickens. They are my little girls. They lay eggs like champions and always greet me at the gate. I have even given each one a name based on her personality. Today, I said goodbye to Josephina, Ginger, and Aretha. They were sweet, and I hate that they died this way.
Needless to say, does anyone know a good type of trap that will catch medium sized predators?
Over the last year and a half, our flock has changed due to old age, sickness, and the addition of new chicks. So today, I’d like to introduce you to our current flock of chickens.
Velvet – She is a sixth-month-old Black Australorp hen. Her name is derived from the look and texture of her feathers. She is a total beauty. Currently, she has an itch to become a mother, and hoards eggs below her in the nest box hoping that they will hatch. Trouble is that we butchered the rooster three months ago so none of the eggs are fertilized and won’t ever become baby chicks. I’ve tried to reason with her and have pushed her out of the nest box several times, but the truth isn’t sinking through her thick feathers. Nevertheless, I admire her determination even if it’s a complete misguided nonproductive unfruitful attempt at success.
Coco Chanel- She is another gorgeous Black Australorp hen who is best buddies with Velvet. Her feathers show nicely like a little black dress. She enjoys strolling around the pasture looking for bugs.
Helga – She is one fiery dame. She’s got enough attitude for the entire house of hens. And she’s a finger pecker. It’s painful. I’ve given up on showing her attention.
Rosalina “Rosa” – Rosa is a Rhode Island Red and best friends with Helga. She is a skittish girl but lays eggs like a champ!
Blondie – Named after the female rock singer and for her blonde feathered butt. She’s a year and a half old Buff Orpington who lays light brown eggs.
Gretchen – She is my favorite girl. She is sweet as a sugar cookie and likes to be petted and held! When we go into the pen, she’s the first to greet us. I love you, Gret!
Josephina “Josie” – Josie is a special girl, and she’s a walking miracle. About five months ago, she developed a limp. Chickens don’t usually recover from a limp. The hen’s health will decline, and the other hens will gang up on it. We monitored Josie daily, and I prayed for her. Slowly, the limp healed and now she’s perfect. God does care about the small things! And He loves his creation.
Ginger – She is the number two in the henhouse line-up. She has just as much strut as Ginger on Gilligan’s Island.
Aretha – She is Queen of the Chicken Castle. She leads the flock of girls, and they all know it. Her breed says it all: She’s a Black Star. And that’s the truth, she’s the star of the show.
Just being outside with my family and birds is bliss. And entirely entertaining.
My husband and daughter are digging a small pond for our natural spring to pour into. The ducks, Quackers and Donald, are gonna go nuts when that thing fills up! Four days ago, we integrated the ducks into the pen with the full-grown hens. They sized each other up, made some squawks and quacks, and decided it would work.
Yesterday evening, my husband found the little hens roosting on his power tools in the garage. He wasn’t feeling that, nor the little presents on the garage floor. So today, we decided it was time those girls joined the meat hens outside in the chicken tractor.
Before putting them with the meat hens, we let the chicks roam the yard with the big hens and ducks. The big hens didn’t give them an ounce of interest, but the ducks were thrilled! We’ve raised them together since they were babies, and it was a reunion. The ducks were quacking and rubbing their heads all over the chicks. Tonight, when I had to split them up, the ducks protested loud and clear.
These are the meat hens. We have 23 of them and butcher day is vast approaching. I can’t wait. They are so stupid and stinky, but boy will they be delicious.
Every morning I wake up, I’m thankful for God’s great blessings. When we began house hunting over a year ago, I never dreamed we would build, but Beard Construction made our dream a reality. A big thank you to Wendell and Lance Beard, an amazing father-son duo.
Here is our home that the Lord has blessed us with. I’ve included pictures of the rooms we have been able to decorate so far.
It’s been several months since my last post called: Cordero Family Flock. Since that post, our chicken coop has seen many transitions.
Please allow to me introduce to you: THE NEW FLOCK
Drum Roll Please…
Aretha- She is my Alpha Hen. Previously, Tiffany ruled the roost, but that is no longer the case. Aretha has risen to the top and has whipped the other girls into shape. Even my rooster knows that she is boss.
Tiffany- She is my oldest gal. In January of 2012, we adopted her and her sister Lily from our friends. These two girls started it all. Tiff holds a special place in my heart.
Gretchen- She is my smallest hen and sweet as honey. When I visit the girls, she is the first to the gate and loves to be held. I have to admit, Gret is my favorite.
Blondie- This bold and beautiful gal is quite the handful. If she gets out of the run, forget about it. Catching her is like chicken olympics.
Josephina- Bella named Josie after the American girl doll in her magazine. Josie is quite the little señorita, and my rooster Morph is always hot on her trail.
Ginger- This gal is very shy. I have to move very slow in order to get close to her. But boy, she loves the treats! This is my way of coaxing her to come to mama.
Morph- I never wanted a rooster, but gee whiz, Morph has stolen my heart. He is such a big cloddy thing that I can’t help but love him. The fella makes me laugh and he’s so friendly, (a little too friendly with the ladies though. They get tired of his advances.)
The ones we loved and miss:
We said goodbye to some sweet hens. Charlene, Lola, Lily, and most recently, Stella. They were good girls and laid a lot of eggs. They are missed.
Rhode the Rooster– You were a naughty boy. You liked to peck at us and pick on the girls. But boy, you made one fine dinner on the grill!
I’d like to introduce to you to my Hooster named Morph. Morph started out like all the other chickens, but as time went along, we couldn’t tell if it was a hen or a rooster. So we called the he-she, Morphodite, a.k.a. Morph.
As Morph grew, he looked like a rooster, but he didn’t crow and he didn’t try to mount the girls. Trouble was, he wasn’t laying eggs either. It was a real pickle.
My dad was certain Morph would be a late bloomer hen, but I was convinced Morph was simply one sorry rooster.
Recently, we came to a verdict.
Morph is indeed a sorry rooster.
His instincts have kicked in, and he has decided he’s interested in the hens. But he is so retched slow, he can’t ever seem to properly mount them. He’s tried several maneuvers:
Circling. He walks around the girls until one seems “unaware” of his hulking presence. Then he attempts a pounce. However, by the time he throws himself toward the girl, she has already run clear away.
The “Subtle” Side-Step. This is Morph’s favorite maneuver. He pretends to be pecking the ground for food, inches right up beside the hen, and lifts his claw. But by the time he actually extends his leg over her back, she has scooted out from under him and has scampered away, leaving Morph confused and alone.
The Clamp. He grabs ahold of the girl’s neck feathers and tries to pull himself on top of her back. Nevertheless, the hen wiggles her body and shrugs him off with little effort.
I have to hand it to the poor boy though, he doesn’t stop trying. Today, Morph resorted to chasing my oldest and slowest gal, two-year old, Tiffany. But even Tiff had him off in under ten seconds. Poor Morph. He failed again.
Even when I throw out treats, he’s extremely slow and stupid. The scratch grains hit the ground and the hens are on it like flies on manure. But good ol’ Morph will be looking around like, “Did you throw it yet?” I shake my head and say, “Morph, look down at your feet.”
I can’t help but laugh.
Tonight, Morph enters the coop a sad and lonely soul. No loving for him.
The hens however, enter the coop happy and content. They’ve evaded him for yet another day.
We sold our house within three days of listing it in March. It is now June, and we haven’t landed another home. We’re getting out-bid or our offers are denied. In my mind, I thought we’d simply sell and easily find a home to begin our hobby farm dream. But Lord knows, it has to be coming soon.
My chicks are getting too big for the brooder box in my parents’ garage, which means integration with the big hens and expansion of the run. Always a chore.
I’ve done the research on goats, and I know what process I need to follow…one minor problem…I need the property.
And in three weeks, I’m due to have my baby boy. I have a crazy itch to nest and the only space available for a nursery is in the walk-in closet of our bedroom.
In the meantime, I’m going to sit and eat some Triscuit crackers and cheese whiz because that’s sounds amazing.
At about nine weeks, I began to have some doubts about two of my new baby girls.
One of the Buff Orpingtons and one of the Rhode Island Reds were looking different than the other females. The cones on their heads were getting taller and redder, and they were developing red goattees below their chins. Yet, I had hope that maybe I was reading the signs wrong. Maybe they’d be manly ladies.
Then the crow came.
Of course, it wasn’t much of a crow. It was like a rooster hitting puberty. His voice cracked during his attempt to be loud and obnoxious.
It was official, two of my supposed she’s were now he’s. Trouble is, I don’t want any he’s. All I want are hens.
Thus, I have a dilemma. I’m not a fan of roosters fertilizing my precious girls, and Mr. Rhode Island Rooster is already developing a hefty attitude. He might think he’s gonna rule the roost, but I have news for him: try and peck me again and you’ll be simmering in a stew.