Friday, April 25, 2014

Chicken Fights (The Good Kind)

In my efforts to become more sustainable in the way my family lives I've decided to raise backyard chickens. I have some experience raising birds as I always had tropical birds as a kid. Chickens are much more entertaining than birds normally seen as pets.

I ordered my fowl from and recieved all 6 fluff balls in decent health. One, the smallest, looked a little weak when I opened the box. I gave her watered down Gatorade and warmed her under the lamp in my hands. She quickly perked up. She is still the smallest and I suspect always will be but that doesn't mean she takes any pecks from the others. Midge, as I named her, keeps to herself mostly to avoid fights. When the others do peck at her she leaps in the air, tiny wings flapping wildly, and causes more ruckus than you would think possible for such a tiny bird. She may be at the bottom of the pecking order but she still doesn't take crap from the others!

DD, short for Daredevil, is crazy. I call her my suicidal bird. DD will jump from any height at any moment. She is unpredictable, curious, and alert. I also suspicion she might be a he. DD's favorite thing to do is roost on the highest spot in the brooder, stretch her neck out as far as she can, and chirp louder than anyone else. DD doesn't fight with the others. She herds them like a cattle dog with sheep.

Empsee is one of my fatties. She is the second largest chick and one of the calmest. She can be a bully but mostly concerns herself with eating.

Blackie is by far my largest bird. She is over double the size of midge already and frequently uses her weight to shove the others out of the way so she can eat first. Blackie loves to eat out of my hand. She is the only chick I've had issues with "pasting-up." Her surplus of feathers around her vent seem to cling to her poop worse than the others. It's not a big deal though as she seems to enjoy when I clean it off for her.

Topple is my anti-social long-legged bird. She HATES being held and seems to avoid contact with the other birds for the most part. She has the longest legs I've ever seen on a bird!

Feisty is my favorite at the moment. She is black with a white spot on her dainty head. Feisty will hop right into my hand to be held and LOVES when I sing to her. She tilts her head to one side and listens intently until she falls asleep right in my hand. When I go to put her back in the brooder she refuses to get off my hand.

The chicks are about 5 or 6 days old today. Yesterday they got their first treats. I chopped up some broccoli and served it to them on a bed of plain dirt from my backyard. A few of them like that (the fat birds) but the rest were uninterested. I later threw a big leaf of kale in their brooder and that was a big win! I've never seen anything as funny as tiny chirping fluff balls flying around the brooder like middle school kids playing tag! Despite there being plenty for all of them they decided to fight over the biggest piece one of them picked up. It amused me greatly for several minutes until they all calmed down and resumed normal pecking.

My family has asked me what I'll do if one of them is a male. City Ordinance where I live states no roosters so my options are adopt him out or eat him. With a distinct lack of time I fear soup is on the menu if one of my lovelies is a boy. I hope they are all hens, but yes, I am prepared to deal with a rooster in the most humane way I can. Waste not.

Picture updates of my girls can be seen on Instagram. Follow me to see frequent updates on the garden and animals at my little urban homestead.

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