Waking up with Chickens / Chicken Dynamics

My, my, my, life is hectic and overwhelming and crazy and yet still awesome.

There is a lot I could be writing about, instead I’d like to keep entry relatively simple and talk about my basic day with my chickons and the dynamics of my flock.

People ask me if my cocks wake me up at the crack of dawn. The answer is, none of the ones in the barn do, but there is another one who occasionally does 😉

That was my crude way of saying that I still sleep in despite being a chicken farmer (and mum! also impressive to sleep in as a mum).

The chickens tend to be released into the wild between 8:30 and 10:30. I say released into the wild because essentially everyday I set them free and they choose to come back to me, which I think means they love me lots according to that saying. Sometimes my mom releases them. They get very excited to see humans — yay snacks, they say! — although some of them tend to spend most of the day in and around the barn.

Once fed bread, fruit, and other little snacks (e.g. mealworms, corn, seeds) and of course their normal chicken feed, the chickens begin their day’s business. And it can be busy being a chicken.

“Even though we live in a massive barn, we’re all going to crowd in this aisle until you give us each an adequate number of treats.”
Some chickens explore the barnyard
Some chickens choose to explore the other, open section of the barn
IMG_3741 (1)
Some chickens (and ducks) prefer to stay just inside their home

They have their crews. Sweetpea, my white duck, is currently on a nest so she stays within her pen. Señor Degrassi, Mademoiselle, and Helga still like to branch out to relax. They like the multiple water dishes near the chickens (what do the ducks have in their pen? a proper poultry waterer; go fucking figure). They love making messes and they’re pretty smelly and sort of unfriendly, so it’s a darn good thing ducks are cute as fuck. I cannot wait for Sweetpea’s ducklings, and I’m very curious to see what will happen to Thelma’s egg that she managed to sneak into the duck nest. It will hatch 2 weeks before Sweetpea’s eggs, if it possible for it to hatch, which I do not know.

Helga and Mademoiselle venturing around this morning

They have yet to discover the creek (…) but they were walking more in the direction of it today so maybe they’re close.

Back to chickens, the cocks take turns hanging out with a few hens at a time. If most of the hens are in one group, up to three cocks will stay around the edges without fighting (as long as the two lower cocks don’t try anything sneaky with the ladies). Otherwise cocks like Flattop prefer to wander off with a few of the lesser hens at a time. I’ve probably said it before, but Lonely Chicken is big and tough but just not a hit with the ladies due to his lack of dancing skills.

Houdini thought he was sizing up Midnight, Mrs. Suess, and Caramel, but really they were sizing up him; they each individually rejected his advances

The dynamics are shifting again as not only are the silkies integrated into the flock, but yesterday I threw in another three gorgeous hens — Midnight, Mrs. Suess, and Caramel. The brief wonderful story of how I got them can be read on my last post.

I’m going to go check on my three new hens before I finish this entry.

They’re fine. Chilling in the nesting area, and I gave them some extra seeds so the reds came right over.

6 hens and a cock and it’s the cock who seems to be the only one concerned (but not seriously concerned anyways). Cock shouldn’t even be in the nesting area.

These new girls are bigger than Freckles, who is the current the boss hen and suspiciously hiding this morning (I convinced her to show when I just visited the barn now). I’m curious to see how this pecking order will shift; hopefully painlessly.

The silkies, smaller than my other chickens, have successfully joined the flock by avoiding the top 4 hens and actually keeping in close proximity to the duckies. I was surprised to see them befriend each other, but they seem fine. Well, Gandalf and Henrietta, my pure silkies, are fine and occasionally my cochin/silkie mix pushes the duck’s buttons. Señor Degrassi has no qualms about pecking a hen on a cute silkie’s behalf. They make a cute bunch because the ducks are slow and waddly and the silkies are quick little llama-wannabe balls of fluff. The ducks hiss and make these pretty gnarly sounding noises, even when happy, and the silkies have these high-pitched cries that sound sad, even when happy.

You probably won’t fully understand what I’m saying unless you’re also a chicken farmer or been over to my delightful farm.

Anyways, all this is very good especially since I think Gandalf and the cochin/silkie are roosters and I have my 20 basement chicks who I would love to stay at my chicken farm, but only if it is best for them too.

I’ll leave you with these cute pictures:

“Food, please.”
My mom holding her grandchicken Henrietta 😀 😀 😀 
Skinhead chicken farmer
Gorgeous storm last night!

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