So, we’re not quite through December, but figured I should do a quick post while I know I have pictures ready and time to share.
We had a bit of a snow storm (and freezing rain) go through our area last week. The goats were fine with the frozen ground in the morning, but they did not care for the snow. I noticed when the ground is wet, my girls either don’t come outside, or when they do they pick up their feet extra high so they look like they’re trotting or doing a little dance while on the move!
Thanksgiving day one of my hens went missing, afternoon of black Friday she was found being eaten by a small hawk. by Tuesday of the following week, my remaining 2 hens were so sad and depressed about losing their friend, they quit laying eggs completely and when let out of their chicken tractor would just run straight to the barn and spend the whole day in there.
So, to craigslist (and google for research) I went. Found that there weren’t many barred rock hens available, although my parents offered me one of theirs as a replacement. And then I found that Roosters are actually really great to have around! Roosters are more aware of predators than the hens are, they also help find food and select good laying spots for the hens. Also found several articles talking about how hens that have a rooster tend to be more relaxed and happy with each other.
I found a beautiful, spring-run, Plymouth Barred-Rock Rooster for $10 on Craigslist. Said he’d been raised by hand and was very friendly, and he was located only about 15 minutes from us!
We contacted his owners right away, and set up a day and time to come see the rooster. It seems they had 2 roosters, and the other rooster kept picking on the younger fellow. Until the younger fellow decided he’d had enough and they had a big fight. Thus the owners wanted to rehome him so he could have a flock to himself.
After chatting a bit with the owners about my problem of depressed hens, and mention my hope that my hens will go broody come spring… they asked if I intended to actually hatch and raise barred rocks, which I had to admit yes! They decided, instead of taking $10 for Leon (the rooster, they named him), they would like a barred rock pullet whenever I’m finally able to successfully hatch and raise some barred rock chicks! Sweet! So, we practically got our new gorgeous rooster for free!
He really is gorgeous, a tad shy, but settles right down once you pick him up!
Since getting Leon, my hens have started laying again, between the 2 hens I’m getting 2-3 eggs a day! And my hens are happy to forage around the pasture now! Happy hens=more eggs!
And here are a few photos of the chickens, the new rooster, Leon, and my goats (of course):