Things are getting better in chicken land. The newbies are still perfectly happy and all are laying most days – I’m giving away eggs, it’s all a bit much, which makes it remarkable that I want some chicks from Rose’s bantams …but there is a reason for that,
Bad things have happened and I’ll just say what’s the current situation. I have the last of the original bantams, one Serama hen and one cock, and one other hen, the big brown one. The rest are dead. I am frantically trying to get rid of vermin that kill my chickens, it’s making me overreact perhaps.
Watching them, over the past few days, has been interesting. The old guard are still in the coop. The big brown hen is mostly in the sleeping quarters, as is the final bantam, Mona. But the cockerel, Crow, and the Serama hen, Yvette, are out in the open part. Crow hops on to the drinker, presumably to make himself look as big as possible to the newbies (the three new black hens) and I’ve also seen him *having it away* with Yvette, which I’ve only previously seen once in the year he’s been living here.
Yvette is tiny. She probably weighs about a pound, whereas the Newbies must weigh about 4 pounds each. But she is being assertive with the chief newbie – they mimic each other, with the wire cage in between them. They both scratch in the earth and seem not to notice the other, then square up, puffing up their breasts and posturing, then go back to scratching. When they finally get together, Yvette will run away, no question, but she’s being braver than her bigger cousins right now.
The old guard are in a wooden-framed coop with a sleeping area and a wired area. Rats are nibbling away at the wood and I’ve had to protect it with bricks. They’re getting so bold that they are out in the day – Rose’s cat Rummy has caught a few of them, but not enough. I can put up with them eating the food left over – I always pick up the dishes at the end of the day, but there’s some scattered on the ground – but I’m scared of smaller rodents getting in and attacking a hen, because it’s happened already. So I set traps last night, and caught rats, and will have to carry on with it.
Anyway, on a brighter note, the reason I want some chicks is not that I really need more chickens, though there is a bit of that: – its that we’ve had the churchyard chickens for over 30 years and I don’t want the strain to die out. Mona doesn’t lay eggs any longer, she must be quite old. But Roses still has three of them, and an unrelated bantam cock, so a few more would carry on a strain of lovely, healthy, long-lived bantams that are a link to good times gone by.