less than a month in the larger forest pasture paddock, our cockerels have
scratched the place up drastically. I’m actually a bit shocked,
and am revising my opinion of their foraging abilities. It took
our flock (larger then) two months to reach this stage in
the much smaller paddock. What’s going on?
I’ve got a few
hypotheses, as always. Maybe Dark
Cornish really come
into their own as they reach sexual
maturity. Or could it be they watched the Mama
hen and her chick foraging and followed suit? Or
maybe the vastly increased foraging is an optical illusion, brought on
by the recent lack of rain, which has slowed down the weed growth and
made it easier for the chickens to devastate their pasture.
While I was in the
pasture conducting my photo shoot, I also stumbled across this chicken,
who looks quite different from the others. Could she be a pullet
rather than a cockerel? She seems to
have nearly no comb and her speckled feathers are quite distinct from
her brothers’. Suddenly I’m caught on the horns of a
dilemma. Should I save a hen and rooster to keep the breed going
and give them another try next year, perhaps using the Mama hen as a
foraging trainer? Or stick to my guns and eat the lot?
waterer and protect them from heat exhaustion.