Three separate flocks

Old chickens in ragweedWe now have three very
distinct flocks, each in their own space.  Last week, we turned
our mean rooster into sausage and stew, leaving four old hens remaining
of our pre-2011 birds (three
Golden Comets
and one White Cochin.)  As top hens in the
pecking order, they get all of the kitchen scraps along with their
laying pellets, and since I rotated them back into
pasture 3
, they’ve
also been enjoying scratching through the aging compost pile for
worms.  But I have to admit that the old girls also spend a lot of
their time napping in the shade — I think I’ve been feeding them too

Pullets on pasture

Our “tweens” are the
cockerels and pullets that hatched out at the end of March — one
homegrown youngster (Golden Comet X Golden Comet/Rhode Island Red
hybrid) and
Pullets in the weedstwelve storebought Black

Although they’ve taken to roosting near the old girls in the main part
of the coop, the tweens are clearly at the bottom of the pecking order
and aren’t allowed to eat near the older flock.  As a result, the
youngsters tend to stick to their own pasture (which is the over-grazed
since the
old girls have decided they like the grassier pasture I newly opened),
but they also slip under the gate and graze out in the woods across the
driveway.  These tweens are constantly working for their dinner
and rarely seem interested when I put out storebought feed, which may
be why they’re a bit timid around people — what’s the point of
cozying up to humans when there’s so much food free for the picking?

Cuckoo maran chicksMeanwhile, our May chicks have
just made the transition from the brooder to the other chicken coop,
spurred on by their newfound ability to make short flights.  (I
figured they’d be out of the brooder and wandering around the kitchen
soon if I didn’t move them.  I kept them inside longer than the
last batch to protect them from rats.)  These chicks are just shy
of two weeks old, and I figure within a week they’ll be ready to
explore the vastly overgrown
pasture 2
, which has
been fallow since the middle of March.  I’m looking forward to
seeing how these Cuckoo Marans (and homegrown 3.0) compare to the Black
Australorps in foraging ability.

One chicken waterer in each pasture keeps all of
our birds well hydrated.

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