Tag Archives: molting

Lesson 874 – The burden of being a Buckeye

The other weekend when I arrived at the Buddhist writer’s retreat, I was greeted by 3 Buckeye roosters who had been raised together and who took their jobs as grounds security offices very seriously.

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As soon as they saw me, all three ran over to check me out.  I of course, started talking to them chicken-to-chicken and one, in his male dominant kind of way, puffed up his feathers and then sort of side hopped toward me.

Perhaps he was challenging my place in the yard and showing me who was boss.

No worries, I held out my arms and jumped right back at him. Continue reading

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Lesson 872 – The time came

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I had been dreading the day.

“They’re not that loud, not like some of our other roosters,” I kept trying to convince myself.

And then Saturday morning came.  Actually it was 5:30 a.m. when I was awakened by the boys.  First one, then the other, then the first again – a testosterone fueled non-stop concert of the day.

Here is was – a Saturday on a holiday weekend and our roosters were loudly singing to beat the band. I don’t think I need to tell you that that was not a healthy situation for positive neighbor relations. Continue reading

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Lesson 859 – The fat lady sang

You know how just last week I was saying that with regard to my rooster and my wannabe-rooster, I wasn’t going to do anything to them (re-home) until the fat lady sang?

Guess what my two fat ladies did this weekend?  Yup, not only has my boy; Mrs. (Mr.) Bucket grown up but my “wannabe”; Josephine (Joe) is now a “bona fide.” Not surprising. It’s that time of year when spring chicks have finally reached maturity, eggs are being laid and boys are beginning to strut their stuff. It’s not something that many of us Backyard Poultry owners look forward to.

And in our case, it signals the end of a beautiful friendship.

*Sigh*

This means, of course, that it’s time to call my friend (hi Linda) to set up a time for transferring our boys to her flock. I know that they will be going to a good (great) home so I’m not in the least bit worried about them, but I am worried about our family’s reaction to the inevitable emptiness that is guaranteed to take their place. Continue reading

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Lesson 851 – The fat lady’s getting ready to sing

After yesterday’s post, I was contacted by a few people.

“That’s definitely a boy,” said one.

“Oh geez Wendy… Josephine is looking pretty masculine!” said another.

I know, I know, but my reply was “yeah, I’m pretty sure she’s a male but I’m not ready to give up until the fat lady sings (as it were.)”

One of my friends (hi Linda) who raises and shows Copper Marans, (and who has agreed to adopt Mr. Bucket when we can no longer keep him) felt pretty sure Josephine was male but she was going to have her husband look at the photo to get his opinion.

This is the photo he looked at

This is the photo he looked at

His verdict was reflected in the message she later sent me:

“Tell Josephine to start packing her bags.”

The good news is that my friend is willing to adopt both birds (she has been drooling over Josephine since I got her.)  They are both going to a good home.

These marans were brought up together and are so close that we frequently call them “Frick and Frack.” If you see one, you can bet that the other one will be nearby.  One of the reasons I haven’t moved Mr. Bucket out yet is that I was worried about what would become of Josephine. Would she be lost without her favorite flock mate? Would she be traumatized?

Part of being a mama hen is the vigilant and never-ending protecting of your flock from painful situations.  There, there, little chick – all will be well.

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And now, because they will be moved together, it looks like I won’t have to any soothing (other than for myself.) In the end, this is goodness.

What this means, however, is that even though I hand-raised 3 Copper Marans this summer, I was not able to keep any (and yes, I still mourn little Violet.) It’s tough – talk about suffering from “leaving the nest” syndrome.

In just a few short weeks, Charlie will go back to being the only Maran in the flock.*sigh*

Hey Dick, get ready for a visit next spring. I’ll keep trying as long as I have to get a few more of these beautiful birds in my life.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

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Lesson 850 – There’s something about Josephine

We still have our two Copper Marans. Even though Mr. Bucket, our Black Copper Maran, is a rooster, he hasn’t learned how to crow yet and as such, he is still welcomed in our backyard.

And we also have Josephine, our Blue Copper Maran.

Who’s tail is looking a bit “bling-ified”  these days. And that has me worried.

Mr. Bucket’s tail is glossy, iridescent, and the feathers gracefully bend in a cascade over his back. That boy is all male.

On the other hand, Charlie, our female Black Copper Maran’s tail feathers are long but they point upward toward the sky – a marked difference. Charlie, as we all know, is nothing short of a queen.

Josephine’s feathers are a hybrid of the two. Neither short nor long, straight or curved (much anyway.) I can’t for the life of me figure out what is happening (although I do have my suspicions. *sigh*) I keep looking at her and think “hmmmm, could it be?”  Then not wanting to even entertain the possibility, instead of continuing to fret, I go inside to fix myself a cup of tea. Continue reading

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Lesson 849 – Chicken Retirement

Someone pulled a switch and *whamo* it’s fall in New Hampshire.  Sweaters are now worn in the morning, decongestants are needed to unclog stuffy, allergy congested noses, and we’re starting to see a fuller range of autumn browns and golds around.

The chickens are well aware of the seasonal change. We’ve already seen a dramatic decrease in egg production prompting many of my chicken friends to ask me:

“What will you do with your chickens?” Continue reading

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Lesson 833 – Chicken Poise

Tis the season of molting and some of our pretty ladies are starting to look a little rough around the edges. Tail feathers are gone, sand-papery necks are exposed, and backs, once sporting luxurious fathered coats have become moth-eaten bare.

It’s a time of slowing down a bit, both in egg production and in movement. Old, no longer efficient feathers must leave in order to make room for the newer crop which will carry the girls through our cold winter.

The chickens don’t seem to mind, they go about their day doing what it is they always do – scratching in the  dirt for food,  wandering over for a quick stroke or two under their beak, and, of course, continuing to be on the lookout for the safety of the youngsters so newly introduced to the flock. Continue reading

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