A little update on this year's Chickam babies!
We ended up with
12 chicks this year: two Salmon Faverolles (one male, one female), 5
Giant Cochins (three grays, two Golden Laced), two Silkies (one cuckoo
and one black) and three Belgian d'Uccles (two Porcelain and one Black
Unfortunately, we had some losses.
of the blue, Megatron, the Salmon Faverolle roo died one day. He had
been perfectly healthy and happy, we just found him under a bush one day
where he had sat down and died. Another very hard loss was Piggles,
the tiny black mottled Belgian d'Uccle hen and Little Mac, the Golden
Laced Giant Cochin roo.
was everyone's darling & favorite, a treat to have around, a
charmer and beautiful to look at. Mac was growing into a stunning Giant
Cochin, very calm and sweet. They passed after contracting Fowl
Cholera, which again suddenly swept through our flock this year. One of
the first signs of it is sudden death, and Piggles & Mac were the
first victims. We had several other hens catch it, but luckily after
last year I recognized it right away (thanks to Piggles & Mac) and
successfully treated them. But losing two of the babies within two days
of each other was SO hard, and so senseless...
Another loss, not
wholly unexpected, was Puni, one of the two crippled gray Giant Cochin
boys. Puni had hatched normally but had developed a leg bent 90 degrees
to the side after a couple of weeks. Despite me making several splints
for him the leg refused to return to normal, and by the time he had
reached 3 months old he began having seizures and died several weeks
later. We realized that there was nothing we could do for him so we
just tried our best to keep him safe, loved and happy for the short time
he was with us.
Sometimes that's all you can do.
of the babies have lived on to become happy, rambunctious youngsters
who have blended into our flock with relative ease. The two Silkies,
Bruce (the Cuckoo) and Barney (the black)...
proved to be roosters and just last month were rehomed with nice
families who fell in love with them and had lovely Silkie hens at home
that needed a fella, so we felt good about that.
Guardian, the last chick to hatch and a Giant gray Cochin roo, hatched with a twisted leg.
Again, despite my attempts to splint the leg into proper position it remained turned at the hock with his foot upside-down.
has surprised us all and grown to be a beautiful, quiet boy who is
smart enough to spend his time either in the large run during the day or
under cover of a tree or bush. He hops along well enough on one leg
and eats, drinks and carries on normally, although he breathes hard from
exerting himself. I can't say what his future will be since he is a
VERY large breed chicken and may eventually grow to such a size that he
cannot get around on one leg--but time will tell, and meanwhile he is
spoiled rotten by everyone and loves to spend time as a houserooster
from time to time. We'll keep him with us no matter what, since he's a
special needs guy. He loves people and is very smart. I am going to
take him to my new vet for an exam to see if he thinks that Guardian's
leg can be surgically turned and repositioned to function better.
His sister, Yoya has grown into a very elegant gray Giant Cochin lady, possibly a show quality hen!
has gorgeous feathering and form, and is already about twice the size
of Phoenix, our Head Roo. This does not deter his romancing her,
naturally...like a tall friend of mine used to say, 'I'm tall but I'm
worth the climb!'.
Yoya is friendly enough but a bit cautious about people...she still hasn't quite figured out why they want to pick her up and snuggle her all the time--beautiful, fluffy girl that she is.
the Golden Laced Giant Cochin, is smaller than Yoya but just as
gorgeous. Like Yoya, she can't fathom why we constantly pick her up for
snuggles, but she humors us!
Rugger, the Salmon Faverolle hen, is the class clown & character of the bunch.
is extremely friendly, curious and VERY vocal--she 'talks' like a
Siamese cat and makes all kinds of muttering, yowling noises when she
talks to us. She really 'chews' her words! Rugger MUST be in the
middle of whatever you are doing.
We worried a bit about Rugger
when she was around 3 months old, when I picked her up one day and was
shocked to find that she was dangerously skinny. It's natural for flock
newcomers to be on the bottom of the pecking order when it comes to
food, but knowing this we make a point to make sure that new members get
a fair share of any goodies we pass out. I had noticed that Rugger
never came when I called to pass out goodies, she'd just ignore us.
This was unusual for a chicken to the point of it being an aberration--a
severe one. Rugger was also skittish and we noticed she tended to
startle easily. This, coupled with her being so skinny, made us check
her over thoroughly for anything that might be an illness or
parasite--but we found nothing. When Rugger was presented with goodies
right in front of her she wolfed them down like any normal chicken, so
we were a bit mystified...could her large facial fluffs be impeding her
vision enough to do this? She DID have trouble seeing food already on
the ground in front of her, but if we dropped it and she saw it go by,
she followed it down and gobbled it up.
Then one day we were
feeding her some bologna bits in the kitchen and realized that she was
STILL ignoring us when we'd call to get her to come over for food, even
when we'd call LOUDLY.
Rugger couldn't hear us.
on this, I experimented by coming up behind her and making a hellacious
noise by banging a pot lid with a wooden spoon, something that should
have made her jump out of her skin. Absolutely placid, serene...no
OK, so I have J. hold her while I grab her head
and thoroughly inspect her earholes for any obstruction or other problem
like mites. Faverolles have huge ear tufts so this was not easy and
Rugger did NOT appreciate being manhandled in this way. But it lead to a
Rugger was deaf. Stone deaf.
Happily, once we realized this we took to training her to watch the other chickens and come running for goodies when she saw them
come running for goodies. It also explained the skittishness, she just
wasn't hearing us approach. Rugger is now fat, happy and suffers no
disadvantage. But it's the first time I've ever had a deaf chicken! We
just have to remember that she can't hear us, and not to sneak up on
her and scare her.
The last two chicks are our matched pair of Porcelain Belgian d'Uccles.
the first to hatch, has grown into a gorgeous, friendly little roo boy,
and CM into a petite little demure hen. Both are typical Belgian
d'Uccles and LOVE to sit in your lap for as long as you'll let them and
be petted, total attention sponges. CM was tiny at hatch and has
remained small, and Smokey thinks he is God's gift to the entire
flock--but both are sweet and a joy to have around. I love their colors--they look as if they are made of moonlight.
looking forward to next year's Chickam, when I think that more Giant
Cochins, Salmon Faverolles and Belgian d'Uccles are in the works...and
we'll also be adding some Brahmas to the mix!
I am a sucker for good, fat hens and fluffy faces...