Xena is a tough little hen. She’s a Gold Laced Wyandotte and has ruled the roost pretty much since the minute she got here in 2011. There were six big meat birds in the run when she entered the yard and she had all of them cowering up against the fence within minutes. She has maintained her top status since then and has been seen giving a quick peck to any passing hen just on principle.
Chicken Little is a small Gold Laced Cochin who was given to me in the same batch as Dawn. She is a small, friendly bird but is on the very bottom of the pecking order in the coop. She does not come out of the coop at all, even when she is raising chicks. She went broody twice in her first year at The Homestead, first hatching out five, two of which got trampled by other chickens and had to be put down. Her second nest hatched out a total of seven, two that she is raising herself, two that were found dead in the coop, likely killed by other hens and three, including Andre, that were raised in the house. She is still a timid chicken when she is raising chicks but the chicks do pretty well in spite of that.
Dawn was given to me as one of 11 hens in March 2015. Age unknown and breed uncertain, although she is a type of cochin featuring the feathery legs. She ended up fitting in near the bottom of the social ladder and was picked on a bit. However, once she hatched out some chicks she became Momma Bear and ferociously protected her chicks, chasing away any hens that were unfortunate to come to close. She went broody twice in her first summer here, hatching out one chick in the first nest due to an unfortunate relocation problem but hatched out nine in her second nest.
Andre was a chick that was one of seven hatched by Chicken Little. It’s breed is unknown. It was about 2/3 the size of the others and the decision was made to being it in the house to give it a bit of a kick start to life. It is highly excitable and very vocal. The only way it will quiet down is if it is picked up and held tightly. It was raised for a couple of days in the living room and then introduced to the seven chicks in the brooder that were hatched in the incubator. After a couple of initial quick pecking incidents it was accepted into the group. It is still noticeably smaller than its peers but continues to do well.
Andre is now doing well at about six weeks old and has caught up to the size of it’s peers.
Pidgey was a rescue from the compost bins. Dawn had hatched nine out of twelve eggs and the protocol here is to leave the unhatched eggs in the nest for a couple of days in case they are just late hatching and then they go in the compost. All eggs are broken open before being tossed so when cracking one of them it peeped! The egg was taken into the house and the chick was helped out of the shell. It may have been a day or so early because the veins inside the egg were not entirely absorbed and the chick took a good part of the day to detach itself from the umbilical cord. It was very weak to the point of not even being able to hold its head up for the first 24 hours. With a lot of encouragement it gained strength and was taught to eat and drink and eventually started to spend it’s days outside in the yard and in a cardboard box at night. It continues to grow and thrive. Hopefully it’s a hen.
Tommy is a rooster of dubious identity. His father was Axl, a red sex-link but Tommy’s mother is unknown as there are varying numbers of chickens of about seven different breeds in the flock. He is a tough bird and rules the roost with an iron…er, claw. He has been seen many times disciplining his sons, Vince and Alex. He doesn’t seem to be bothered too much by people and hasn’t attacked me as of yet.
Axl was the first rooster on The Homestead. He was purchased on Sept. 21/11 with 12 ready-to-lay hens. Their breed is the red sex-link, a breed mostly geared toward egg laying. He ruled until sometime in Winter 2013 when he died. Cause of death is unknown but he was found under the coop frozen stiff. He was a feisty rooster and would fight me if I provoked him. Being the first rooster here means he has a special place here, not unlike Adam the rabbit. He has been succeeded by his son Tommy and Tommy’s two sons, Vince and Alex.
Fred is from the first litter of Scarlett and Adam. He was born on August 17/08 into a litter of seven if I recall correctly. He is a stocky rabbit with a solid head and shoulders and thick brown fur, brown with black tips which is commonly referred to as steel. He is a calm, laid back rabbit like his father and loves a good back scratch, specially during molting season when I’m sure he’s super itchy. He has been the main buck in the colony and has fathered many litters.
Scarlett came to The Homestead on March 1/08 with Adam and two other does. She was a red New Zealand and had the fiery temper to go along with the red fur. We had a love/hate relationship but she was a good rabbit and a great mother. She raised many litters and was quite protective of them. I got bit a couple of times, once through the muscle between the thumb and forefinger and her teeth met in the middle. There was never a dull moment when she was around and the rabbitry was definitely missing something after she was gone. She died about three years after she arrived on the scene. She had given birth to a stillborn litter and then she was found dead in her cage the next day. Cause of death was unknown.
Adam was the first buck to come to The Homestead, a New Zealand Blue. He was born on Dec. 28/07 and arrived here on March 1/08 along with three does, one of which was Scarlett. Adam was a laid back kind of bunny, easily handled and pretty docile. He was a bit small for a New Zealand rabbit but was frisky enough to father many litters, mostly with Scarlett. The difficult decision was made in early November 2012 to put him on the bus to Freezer Camp when the rabbits moved out to the new colony outside from the cage system in the garage. Adam and Scarlett’s son Fred, from their very first litter, took over the stud duties.