Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Meet the cast!

I finally remembered to get batteries for my camera. I guess the proper thing would be to introduce the cast members of this chicken blog. Like I said before, I only have a small flock but I think it helps me to know their personalities better, or should I say chicken-alities. I will give you some gossip and insight into the lives of the stars of "Nobody but us chickens! I surprised them with my flash last night just as they were turning in for bed.
From left to right top row, Melda, Lucy, Chico, Gertrude, Diane, Delia.
From left to right bottom row, Gracie, Marlene.
The first black hen 'Melda' is a 'black sex-link' hen, Melda is second in command in the house. Next is 'Lucy' she is sound asleep with her head tucked under her wing, another black sex-link and Lucy is queen of the flock. Lucy and Melda are the youngest at only eight months but when they came in they quickly became dominant over the others. Next is Chico, my little white Silkie rooster. I really thought the world of Chico, when I got him I could pick him up like a fluffy kitten, I liked the way he crows often during the day but not loud enough to bother the neighbors. However Chico has become nasty lately, if he gets a chance to bite my hands he will and he is starting to become really aggressive with my black girls. I am hoping when I am able to let them into the run again, he will calm down. Chico is small but he is certainly king of his castle. I suspect he hates the black girls because of his size, he can not mate with them. He can mate with the red girls and so he likes to hang with them. He guards Gracie the most, I guess because she is small like him and so is very protective of her, if I so much as touch her, he will open a huge can of butt whoopin on me! Of course he is so small that as long as he can't get my hands, it is like being attacked by a really angry puff ball.

After Chico is the start of my red sex-link hens. They were the first group and they are about 13 to 14 months now. With her head also tucked under her wing is 'Gertrude', she was the first hen I named because she had a lot of white on her back and I could easily tell her from the other red girls. Strange however, after she molted, her new feathers are almost all orange/red like the other three. In the middle of the three reds is 'Diane'. I often feel sorry for Diane as she used to be queen, she was gentle with the subjects in her time. However after the great chicken wars of 2008 Diane lost her crown and became third in line of the pecking order. People with chickens become aware that "pecking order" is not just a phrase, it is an actual order of chicken society with it's very own politics. Delia is next, looking much better and getting stronger as she was the one who became sick. Delia was the second one I named because she is a lighter orange than the others, her position in the house is after Diane.

On the lower perch is my little Gracie, the little black Cochin bantam hen. I am hoping she will hatch or foster some chicks in spring for me. She is actually quite small but her feathers are long and when she puffs them up like this, she appears as one of the big girls, that is until you pick her up and feel nothing there but feathers. Gracie is the oldest, not sure how old but looking at her toe nails and feet, she is quite old. Gracie is lowest on the pecking order as she is smaller and last in. Diane is very very aggressive towards Gracie and I suspect it has something to do with making sure she does not move lower in the pecking order from the number three spot. Gracie is however brushing up on her politics and starting to dominate over Gertrude and Marlene but is afraid of Delia. I suspect by spring little Gracie will be in the center of the red girls pecking order wise. Last is another red hen, Marlene and for some reason she likes to sleep on the lower perch with Gracie these last two weeks.

It was so cold last night I left the heat lamp on, it mixes Chico up and he will start crowing at night but I have no choice. I think that may be another factor in his sudden aggression.

Shhhhh, say goodnight Gracie.


Don said...

Not only do your chickens look beautiful, but your coop is a work of art too!

It has been a very cold winter here in Michigan, but I'll bet you have had a colder one.

Keep warm...

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

Thank you Don, I try to keep them happy and healthy. They are all quite tame and I can pick them up without a lot of fuss.

It is very cold here, it has gone to -34 Celcius or -29 Fahrenheit some nights which can sometimes happen around here but not this often.

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

I have NEVER seen such a clean coop........I am shamed!!!

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

I fine scrub it with a tooth brush every day! ;) Haha, no just kidding John. Thank you, I try to keep it clean... and Delia tries to find new ways to poop on almost everything! O_O