Tag Archives: Buff

Proof

After hearing crowing from the henhouse over the weekend, I needed visual proof of the guilty party before I wrongfully convicted someone of being a rooster.  I’ve been suspect of the two buffs for a while now.

Roosters?

Are we roosters, or hens?

So, I sent Gwen out there Sunday morning to try and spy the loudmouth.  But, when she returned, she fingered this guy:

The guilty chick

The prime suspect.

I was still not convinced the other two weren’t roosters.  I mean, look at them!  Don’t they look more rooster-y than the red to you??
So, I went out this morning and peeked into the window.  In the dark it was hard to see for sure which chook was which, but they started crowing in turns so at least two of them are.  The red has already been witnessed so I’m pretty sure the other pair are both roos as well.  I’m a little sad to see them go, but after the symphony they played for me this morning, I can clearly see that the end is near.

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A Sad, Sad Day

For a while now, I have been questioning the hen-ness of some of my four girls.  If you’ve been following this chicken journey from the start, you’ll recall that I purchased four chicks of questionable sex at a barnyard-swap-meet of sorts in Whitmore, Michigan.  We did our best to try and select the most hen-like chicks of the bunch in the box, but it was a gamble right from the go.  Every time I think that one of the girls may be a rooster, I find some reason to believe that she is, in fact, a hen. 

For example, compare this photo of a Buff Orpington hen from My Pet Chicken to this shot of my buffs:

Buff Orpington Hen. Photo from: http://www.mypetchicken.com/My Buffs

Now, I realize the photo quality isn’t excellent, but if you compare the comb and wattle development of my buffs to the comb and wattle on the stock photo of an Orpington hen, there isn’t much difference.  My chickens are definitely skinnier than the plump hen in the photo on the left, but you’ve gotta take into consideration the fact that in the pic, they were only three months old.

Cordon Bleu and Parmesan

My Buffs

Also, the guy I got my girls from couldn’t guarantee what kind of chickens mine were.  It’s hard to peg down a particular characteristic to a chicken of unknown lineage. 
Alas, all doubts were cleared up this morning.  At least one of my four girls is, I’m sorry to say, a rooster.  Both my daughter and my husband heard one of my “girls” crowing.  While no eye witnesses were present to incriminate the guilty bird(s), my fears have been confirmed:  There IS a rooster in the hen house. 
Unfortunately, with the auditory confirmation, I’m afraid that both the buffs are probably cockerels and I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the reds may be as well. 
Now, what to do with the poor gent(s).  I spoke to one of the Olds brothers from Olds Farm this morning at the Farmers’ Market.  They offer poultry processing.  For $3 a bird, they will slaughter, clean and bag up my rooster(s).  The kids don’t like the idea much, but the plan has always been, “If any are roosters, we eat them.” 
Before I condemn an innocent bird, I need to see which of them is crowing, but at least I have a plan.  :(

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A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words

All Cooped up for the Night

Four Chicks in Bed.

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Traverse City Urban Chickens Finally Get Some Press!

Girls on parade

Do you think being famous will go to their heads?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post called “Northern Express” about my interview with Noah Fowle discussing my chickens, and the growth of urban chicken farming since Traverse City changed its ordinance to allow residents to keep four hens.  Well, I’m excited to announce that the article has arrived!

Noah interviewed several chicken owners, soon-to-be chicken owners and city representatives, and discusses the many reasons people are interested in urban chicken farming from sustainable food to their novelty as pets.

If you’re in Traverse or the surrounding areas, keep an eye out for the latest edition. You can pick them up FREE all over town but it’s only out for a week, so get it while you can.   I plan to pick up a few copies for myself and my out-of-town family members.  But, you can also read the article by clicking here.  Enjoy!

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Cooped Up

I’ve had some posts kicking around in my draft box for a while and decided it was about time I started posting them before they became completely outdated. 

Hens in the house.

Out of the brooder and into the henhouse.

The girls had been sleeping in the hen house for several days before we finished the run because it rained every day and prevented construction.  But, that was actually  a good thing, because chickens aren’t very smart.  In order for a chicken to realize where her home is, apparently you need to keep her confined for three or four days.  Plus, since it was rainy and nasty, nobody wanted to be outside anyway.

All cooped up

Big girls in the big house.

Despite the weather, we finished the run with nearly perfect timing.  It was exactly four days after the coop was complete.  So with the run finally finished, I headed to the door of the coop to open the hatch.  The girls didn’t even wait for the hatch to open.  As soon as I got the main door cracked, they started trying to jump out.  (They were tired of being cooped up!) So we let them run around their new yard scratching in the little grass that’s growing there and eating what they could find until it got dark.  Despite the fact that they had been confined to the coop for four days, none of them figured out how to get back in on their own.  I tried placing them at various heights on the ramp with no success.  I finally gave up and started putting them in through the hatch. 

In the morning, the girls wouldn’t come down when I opened the hatch.  I tried to prod them toward it a little but they still wouldn’t climb down.  I finally got them to climb down by placing one of the girls most of the way down the ramp and another on the ramp just outside the hatch.  The other two seemed to figure out how to get down from that point.  For the next couple days I continued to place the girls on the ramp every time they needed to go in or out.  After a few days of coaching, the girls figured out how to go in and out on their own as if  they’d been doing it all along.

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Visitors (From a Week Ago . . . )

So it has been interesting to see the chicks fall into a pecking order.  Since Bleu and Parma are two weeks older than Catchy and Rice, they are bigger and have been using their size to their advantage.  I’m not sure that will last since I think Catchy and Rice will eventually be bigger than the other two but maybe the order will already be established when that happens. 

Last Thursday Stephanie and the kids brought their chicks over for the weekend because they were going out of town.  Chase’s two bantam chicks are the same age as our two little girls (three weeks at the time) but because they’re bantams, they’re smaller.  Even smaller than our reds.  This has done interesting things to The Order. 

Our girls plus two.

Our girls plus two.

Once Catchy and Rice noticed the two smaller chicks, they decided that  they were now “big girls” and started acting bossy.  They started standing taller and strutting around like they were queens of the hill.  We were a bit concerned at first for the safety of the little chicks but we monitored them for awhile until we decided they were ok and it all worked out well.  My dear hubby, Adam, was most concerned and thought the antics of Catchy and Rice were particularly humorous.   Periodically we would check in on the girls and find them paired off.  Two reds, two buffs and two bantams not socializing with one another.  Then we’d check in again and all six of them would be huddled together en masse. 

The kids loved having the “little” chickens.  They love our girls, but the extra chickiness (is that a word??) of the bantams was appealing.  They were always carrying a chick around and Gwen sat in the living room holding one on several occasions. 

Chase thinks one of his chicks is a rooster.  I think he’s probably right, but I’m no expert.  Either way, it’s ok. 

The girls and guests.

The girls and guests.

They don’t live in town so he’s allowed to keep a roo.  Plus, he wants a rooster for his 4-H project.   One of his chicks has a much more developed comb than the other.  I’m still hopeful that ours are all hens but since the combs are developing at the same rate, they could all be roosters.  That would be bad. 

In the end I don’t think the visit affected the order, but lately Parmesan seems to be edging Cordon Bleu out for the top spot.

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