Monday, February 14, 2011

free range chickens

This is Rodney our main rooster, he's just a barnyard rooster, meaning he's a little of this and a little of that.  When I asked the lady what kind of chicken he was when I picked him up from a very small family farm where he was hatched, she just said he was a barnyard rooster.  He's a very nice gentleman, and in the year we've had him he has never even attempted to threaten any of us.  We've had 2 roosters in the past that we raised from day old chicks that were so mean and nasty, I had to defend myself anytime they were loose, and the kids had to run for their lives.  Of course they thought it was funny and laughed and ran like crazy while being chased by a wild looking rooster.  If my children were small this would not have been funny, luckily they were all old enough to easily outrun them.  I also did my share of running and laughing, but the time one jumped at my face with his spurs coming at me was the time I decided to carry a large stick, after the first time of getting whacked hard by me, I got some respect.  For some reason, probably size and authority the mean roosters never did challenge Jarin.

I decided back then I would never live with a mean rooster again, so I put an ad on craigslist for a nice rooster wanted and got this one when he was only 6 months old.  The lady said all her roosters were nice, she had 3 of the most beautiful roosters, all barnyard ones.  He guards his girls, and will call them over excitedy when he finds a tasty morsel, he loves to dig and scratch for bugs and grubs and eat his greens.  He joins in the egg laying chorus everyday, the hen who's getting ready to lay will make a racket (song) and he joins in to create the egg laying melody. 
Henrietta is a Buff Orpington chicken, last year she went broody in the Spring and Fall, and produced some wonderful chicks, she fussed over her babies non-stop with a faithfulness few animals exhibit, she went out to pasture and free ranged with them when they were only a couple days old.  Both her and Rodney are some of our favorites, they've earned respect around here for good behavior.  I'm hoping Henrietta will go broody this spring, and when her chicks hatch out and are a day old, I can slip a couple banties, and silver laced wyandotte chicks under her to raise.  You can do that at night if they chicks are all the same age(one or two days old)the hen will raise them as her own.  This is so much easier than raising them in a stock tank with a light.  

Free range chickens are a dream I've always had, we have learned some very expensive lessons doing this the improper way, we now put dogs on chicken duty in their assigned spots, plus we are always within view and earshot, plus we go check anytime we hear the dogs barking.  One of the first areas they all migrate to is under the rabbit hutches, the tastiest spot for grubbing.

1 comment:

Cheryl Brown said...

I would love to get your permission to use your photo on the new craft site I am creating. I have been raising two chickens for almost a year, I love my farm eggs! I really enjoyed your blog, especially the reading on the chickens. I have owned the domain name "The Noisy Rooster" for along time but I'm just now doing something with it. Do you charge for the use of your photos? I love the one of your handsome colorful rooster. Thanks! Cheryl