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White Trash? May 13, 2006

Posted by Joe in Uncategorized.
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Here is a study in sociology for you- do kids raised in a “trashy environment” grow up to be thugs? Or will they be able to rise above their mean surroundings and go on to do great things- pull themselves up by their spurs so to speak?

My mother-in-law Becky and I moved this White Rock hen down to the chick nursery/barn stall at a time when both the other 2 brooding coops were in use. Last year, a hen had chosen this clean empty trash can in which to rear her young when it blew over, so I decided to give it another try. Becky held the flashlight while I carried the angry broody to her new location, all the while telling her what a good mama she’d be and how she’d like this private room better anyway.

Once she saw that beautiful clutch of a dozen eggs nestled in the cedar shavings, she quit muttering under her breath and soon fluffed herself over them. Her eggs were a combination of White Faced Black Spanish and Sicilian Buttercups that I had shipped from a breeder in AL.

The White Faced Black Spanish is kind of self-explanatory, but very striking in appearance. The Sicilian Buttercup roosters, though, grow a round crown-like comb I’ve heard described as looking like a Reeses peanut butter cup. Can’t wait to see them develop! I hope we HAVE some roosters in the bunch (the hens don’t grow these fancy combs but possibly could pass the trait on to their male offspring).

Before bed on Wednesday night, I could see a discarded shell and a tiny foot sticking out from under Mama’s downy chest. Thursday morning, two Buttercup babies were tottering
around her, but she hadn’t gotten up from the eggs yet. Friday morning, I went out to check on them and feed them. Mama was out of her trash can and I could see that every one of them had hatched. Sadly, one seemed to have been stepped on accidentally and had died.

It’s strange that I’m not broken up about unhatched eggs, but this lost little one, just on the verge of life on the outside of the shell, really got to me. It doesn’t cause me undue upset to “process” our adult birds now, but maybe that’s in part because they tend to be the surplus roosters that are harassing the hens, and so no one misses them. Somehow this loss felt personal for me and I cried over it. So close to Mother’s Day, maybe what bothered me is that it just seemed to parallel our own loss of Daniel. But this Mama had 11 left in her brood and wasted no time tending to them, focusing on the many for which she was responsible.

By today, they were all up and about, taking notes from Mama about what’s good to eat and swiping food out of each other’s beaks. Ah, sibling rivalry!

The Penedesenca bunch from the second yellow Mama are doing well. Two of them are already starting to disobey their mother. They totter off too far, occasionally slip through the chicken wire (and require rescuing by ChickenMama), and won’t take naps when she tells them to. They won’t even get in bed (under Mama). After dark, I have to walk down to the barn/chick nursery and put them up in the brooding coop with the rest so they won’t chill. I’m thinking that these little rebels are going to be trouble.

Here are some pictures of adult White Faced Black Spanish from Feathersite.

An adult Sicilian Buttercup strutting his stuff and a juvenile with a tiny “crown”.

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Comments»

1. sheryl - May 22, 2006

These chickens are so neat-looking. Not at all what I think of when I think of chickens. They may have more color varieties than cats and dogs do. I never knew they could look so exotic.
Sorry about the one baby chick. Nature can be so cruel, even by accident.

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