Tuesday, December 19, 2017

New Chicks Continued

Since my last blog in September about our home-hatched chicks, we've had a few changes to our backyard flock. None of these are really good changes.

A few weeks ago, Rihanna, foster mom who hatched and raised the chicks, died. I'm not sure why, especially considering she'd finally regrown her feathers and was looking a lot more healthy and less like a turkey vulture. I've learned over the years that even though we protect them from predators and try to keep their environment healthy, chickens are still vulnerable to unknown illnesses. If I notice a chicken has slowed down, I prepare myself for losing her.

Then just this week, Beeker died. I was not surprised as Beeker was now one of our oldest hens at 7 years. Although she willingly helped Rihanna raise the chicks, Beeker did not lay any eggs in the past year, a sign that her body was post-henapausal. Still, Beeker's adorable little pure-white Silkie presence will be missed.

Beeker and Rihanna in happier days
It's hard to mix the bantam (miniature) breeds of chickens with the standard sized ones as the smaller ones get picked on. Our rooster, Ed Sheeran, is technically a bantam also being half Silkie and half Frizzle, but as a male, he's larger and dominates. So in essence, I have to worry less now about making sure the little ones get their fair share of food and roosting space.

In addition to the deaths of our remaining bantam hens, we have gradually come to accept that our two Frizzle/Welsummer chicks are the wrong gender for egg laying; we have two cockerels. I'm not often wrong (just ask my husband and kids...not), but I was way off on these chicks. Or call it believing what you want to be true. Originally named Charlotte and Cindy, I now just call the little rascals Frick and Frack.

Frick (middle) and Frack (left)