Posts Tagged big chook

Big chook becomes a rooster

When we hatched our chicks last July we had no idea if they were hens or cockerels.  I thought we would find out pretty soon on, both developed along the same lines and in spite of looking up how to sex baby chicks on the interenet I could not tell.

Then gradually one chick started to grow larger than the other and I thought maybe this one will become a rooster, but there were no tell tail signs.  When they were large enough we integrated them into the existing flock and both got picked on and chased away from the food.  So we started sprinkling the food in 3 or 4 places around the run so that the new 2 had a chance of some.  Over the weeks this problem resolved itself and now they all eat peacefully together.

Big chook won’t roost like the others at night, he always stays in the nest box.  He certainly grew and grew and is now one and a half times bigger than the other hens.  Then he started to grow lovely feathers and curly tail feathers but didn’t crow and showed no interest in the hens.  I thought perhaps I had a gay cockerel!!

Then after 9 months he started to jump on the hens and 2 weeks ago he did his first “cock a doodle do”. So we know he is very definitely a rooster.

What a handsome chap he is too. He is half Welsummer and half Black Rock.

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Last week him and the girls were dustbathing in the churned up earth in the sunshine.

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Since then we have had rain and yesterday more snow, so no chance of a dustbath today.  We need to move the hens enclosure as soon as possible as they have churned up all the ground and there is no more grass where they are.  Still they are back laying well.  Most days we have 8 to 10 eggs from 13 pullets and one day we had 11, so they can’t be too unhappy, but we will move them soon. We have lovely fresh eggs for our B&B guests.

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More fun in the snow

After lunch today we went to clean the chickens out.  Even though the snow is still thick, it had to be done.  Because the chickens aren’t venturing too far into their run at the moment, they really don’t like treading on the snow, Neil managed to pick up Big Chook.  This was one of our chickens hatched from an egg last Summer which has grown into a hen one and half times bigger than all the other hens, hence its name.  We still don’t know if it is a hen or a cockerel, although it is not showing any signs of being a cock. It’s a beautiful bird.

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Tia followed us all the way down the back.  She is polydactyl, ie has extra toes, so she is also known as little big foot.  Of course she is ideally suited to walking on the snow as she has her own “snow shoes”.  I also call her my little snow tiger.

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As we walked towards the woods there were lots of animal footprints.  I think these are from a fox, although luckily he had stayed away from the chickens as they have an electric fence around their enclosure.

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This was the sight as we walked down into the woods, just beautiful….

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We noticed that a couple of trees had broken boughs where they had cracked under the weight of the snow.  Perhaps they were old trees anyway and not in a very healthy condition, but Neil will have to go in with his chainsaw when the snow has melted and cut them down.

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The sun was just shining weakly through the trees and the snow was just melting a little bit.  You can just see our well to the left of this picture.

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I really liked the look of these branches with snow on.

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Of Bees and hens and pheasants in the snow

None of the snow has cleared today.  It’s such a cold day, it’s just sitting where it fell.  Neil went down to clear the entrance to the beehive which was blocked with snow.  Not that the little bees want to come out and fly today, but they need air to circulate so they don’t suffocate.

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We’ve tried to entice the hens outside, but they don’t like putting their feet on the snow, so we cleared an area just outside the henhouse to encourage them out to scratch around and at least eat their food.  Big Chook was eating the snow.  Their water had frozen up so we put another smaller container of water nearer the hen house.  We still got 8 eggs today.  I thought they might go on strike in this bad weather, I’m surprised they are still laying.

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We have been feeding the birds, hanging up nuts and seeds. In particular we  want to ensure that the woodpeckers have sufficient suet and nuts to eat so that they won’t attack the beehive in search of honey and bees to eat.  This has happened to one of the beekeepers in the village last year.  The seeds disappear at the rate of knots, so we have also sprinkled some on the ground for the ground feeding birds like the blackbirds to peck at.  And then alongs comes Mr Pheasant thinking he will have a go at the seeds too.  He’s just like a big chicken scratching around on the ground, only he doesn’t mind his feet in the snow!!

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Our little monkey puzzle tree covered in snow looks like a mini snowman, very cute!!

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The woods look so beautiful with all the snow…..

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I particularly like this view of one of our gates in the snow.

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On the stables the snow has dripped, then frozen again, so there is quite an overhang.

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The forecasters say we are in for several days of this cold spell, so we may be snowed in for quite a while, but luckily we have plenty of supplies.

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