Saturday, July 29, 2017

Update on the state of the flock, July 2017

English game bantam cock
Tiny rooster, April 2017
We said goodbye to two of our chickens in the past two months, both younger birds whom we had raised from chicks, one of whom was Tiny, our bantam English game cock.  We don't know the cause for either of their deaths;  Patches then hen was two years old and Tiny was one year old.  Both were in good health in the days up to their unexpected demise, and both had been eating and drinking as normal. 

Some of the suggestions I came up with are:  bird flu (joke!), freak accident (it looked like Tiny may have been caught under something), poisoned accidently (I've seen some of them pecking at various things like potato leaves, laurel leaves, rhododendron leaves...).  Both chickens were found in the morning, cold and dead, with no obvious wounds. We'll miss them both, especially Tiny.  Even though at times he could be an annoying little pipsqueak, he was still a good rooster and we liked his funny little antics.

This year's chicks are nearly the size of the adults now, though still with chickie characteristics such as small combs and squeaky voices.  No crowing yet, and to be honest, I'm still not entirely sure who's a boy and who's a girl.  There is one with obvious male features--early development of comb and wattle--but the other four, who knows?  We want to keep one rooster to try breeding next spring, but I'm also hoping to eat at least one. 

And Cookie, our little bantam hen, has gone broody again.  I'm half inclined to give her another batch of eggs to sit on, to give a few more layers and have chicken to eat in winter.  We have sixteen chickens altogether, including newest chickies.  I'm sure we can handle another six, right?

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