However this isn’t the flock reduction that you might anticipate!
Last night, many teenage chickens left our farm for their new home a few miles away, and our chicken flock is back to a manageable size. Even the youngest of them can’t qualify as “chicks” now.
We didn’t plan on breeding chickens, but our Speckled Sussex hens had other ideas! Three hens (with no encouragement from us) produced 37 chicks this year.
It all started in June, when one of our Sussex ladies vanished. We feared the worst as there had been skunks and raccoons about, but in early July, Mayzie re-appeared with 12 baby chicks.
When they were 8 weeks old, Mayzie declared them grown, and went back to the chicken coop. We found a good home for the chicks, and things were back to normal…except that in the meantime, two more Speckled Sussex hens had gone missing. We dreaded the strong probability that there would be more chicks.
As if it were choreographed, on the day after Mayzie’s brood left, Juneau presented us with another dozen!
Two weeks later, we found Snowy sitting beside the house looking oddly shaped, but well.
Her secret: a dozen more chicks. Note not only the fluffy chick bump , but the tiny feet under her feathers.
We have enjoyed the chicks so much (they honestly do rival lambs for cuteness), but we fervently hope that these three ladies don’t decide to grace our farm with more babies next year!
I should mention that we have been truly impressed with the good mothering of these speckled beauties. They fiercely defended their babies from any perceived threats (cats, dogs, and small children), raised them up to be intrepid foragers…and kept track of all those chicks. They can count to 12! Besides being excellent layers (when they do give us their eggs), these hens are intelligent, trusting, and full of personality. They have captured our hearts.
The other hens in our little flock (they share the coop with 3 Buff Brahmas, 3 Light Brahmas, and 2 Ameraucanas) are good natured and beautiful, but these three Speckled Sussex are the only ones that have names! Our young Buff Brahma rooster is the father of the chicks.
We did keep two of Snowy’s pullets…how could we not?