Suicidal chickens don’t have happy endings!

You may recall that way back in the depths of June (you know, “summer”) I blogged about our two new Warren hens, Maude and Mildred. For the most part, they were settling in when Mildred decided that the grass was infinitely greener on the other side of the electric netting. Whenever my back was turned, she found a way to get out but for some reason, could never find a way to get back in, so I was constantly on Midge-watch, lest her terrier instincts point her in the direction of a free and (relatively) easy meal.

I cut Mildred’s wing feathers, made sure the netting was tight and not sagging, but she still kept getting out. So I wasn’t surprised when, a week after she started auditioning for Chicken Run, I went to check on the chooks and there was only one set of brown bum feathers shaking their thing in the grass.

It would be nice to think that she’s now running wild and will one day meet a handsome cockerel so they can raise a brood of feral chickens, but the somewhat more likely answer is that she fed a fox…

Mildred - 1 July 2009

Mildred - 1 July 2009

Since then, Maude has been fully accepted into the flock, though I have started calling her Hetty. I don’t know why, but I kept forgetting whether she was Maude or Mildred and whenever I went to talk to her, “Hetty” just fell off my tongue.

Whatever she’s called, she has started laying – big beautiful eggs that look and taste like sunshine in a shell. Delicious

Hetty - 27 July 2009

Hetty - 27 July 2009

In other chicken related news, the three Pekin and Silkie chicks who hatched in April are all boys, so they’ll be for the pot later this month.

And Xander, our young Buff Orpington cockerel, is looking mighty fine! He’s very handsome and is still extremely friendly, though thankfully he no longer tries to jump into my arms!

He’s done nothing but grow, grow, grow over the past few weeks.

This is how he changed in just a month:

Xander - 1 July 2009

Xander - 1 July 2009

Xander and the bantam boys - 27 July 2009

Xander and the bantam boys - 27 July 2009

Once the boys “go”, I’ll put Xander in the with big girls (he’s going to flatten the Silkies and Pekins one of these days!) and poor Flint will have to accept that despite his own exaggerated opinion of his size, he is in fact a Pekin and will have to join the hens who are his own size. I don’t suppose Xander will mind but Flint will be furious!

Captain Flint - 1 July 2009

Captain Flint - 1 July 2009

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Xander does look a nice boy 🙂

  2. WOW is all I can say about your cockrels – they are really handsome fellas!

    Sorry to hear about Mildred, it’s always sad losing a chicken – we’ve lost 4 since we took over this place.

    I can’t wait until we have enough time to re-sort the runs and coops, as we’re getting a couple of Buff Orps too.

    😀

  3. Cheers, Stiggy – they think so too!

    It frustrates me – when a fox gets in (or your chickens free range over 8 acres, they way they used when we lived at my mother’s), you reconcile yourself to losing a few. But when a chicken is safe and secure, but she still gets out and presents herself to any passing carnivore with an appetite… Grrr!

    The Buffs are lovely and can be extremely friendly, but beware the low egg ratio! Well, not that low and the eggs are delicious, but they’re not as prolific layers as Warrens or other old breeds like the Light Sussex. Oh, and they tend to go broody quite often, as well. But when you pick them up for a cuddle – my oh my!

  4. We have 8 hybrids and 4 silkies (one of those silkies being a cockrel) and although some of them are quite friendly and come up to me – one hybrid jumped on my lap once – I’d love a really friendly couple of chickens.

    Rhydian the Silkie doesn’t like his ladies cavorting with me in the slightest, and no matter how nice I am to them, or however much I try and handle them, they just don’t want to know.

    I guess this is down to the older ones having been loooked after by the previous owners – but even the rescue ones we got aren’t THAT friendly.

    Still – the Buff Orps are so lovely looking – they’re a ‘proper’ chicken shape , and we’ve had such great reports on their friendliness that we just HAVE to get some!

  5. My lot aren’t overly friendly either, even the two we hatched and have kept on as layers. It goes to show that you have to handle them every day from a young age, regardless of breed. The two cockerels are the opposite, however, and enjoy human contact, but I know they’ve both been handled as chicks.

    Having said that, the Buffs aren’t un-friendly – they’re just extremely indignant whenever I pick them up. The Light Sussex, on the other hand, is so wary of humans that she won’t even eat the treats I throw for them if I’m standing there!

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