Saturday, March 3, 2012

Long John Silver

In general I have been very happy with our Cuckoo Marans flock. They are good foragers, but not so "scratchy" as other breeds. By "scratchy" I mean they don't go around to all my herb and berry beds and dig up everything. They are very polite in that way. They scour the grass and soil for yummy things to eat but they don't get in places I don't really want them to be. They respect my little domes of wire protecting this plant or that bulb. They also lay the most beautiful dark brown eggs on a fairly regular basis, even in winter. They also get along. Even though I have two roosters born at different times, they never fight. They co-rooster in a most civilized way.

The girls benefit from this co-roostering because one rooster will stay with the flock out in the field watching for dangers on-high, while the 2nd-in-command-rooster escorts hens back and forth from the nest box all through the day.
This double roostering has also seemed to end the annoying habit of hens who lay all over the place because they don't want to go all the way back to the nest box.

That said, the one thing I do miss is being surprised by the colors of the eggs when I gather them.
Nothing beats the rush of finding a bright blue egg in a nest.

To this end, I decided this fall to get myself a couple of Ameraucana hens. So off to the farm store I went. Of course when I got there I couldn't stop at just 2 as I stood over the tin trough, full of day old chicks.
So 6 is what I came home with. If they all survived to adulthood, I would sell half, at least that is what
I told myself.

Then life became suddenly busy and the chicks were relegated to our good friends care.

Time passed.
I kind of forgot to pay attention to the Ameraucanas.
I did notice that there was one chick that did not seem to march to the same drummer. It was an odd color, silver.

It never seemed to hang out with the others and would wander off to far flung places. I figured it would be the one to get eaten by a hawk or owl and felt a little sad, but what can you do?

Well, Silver did not get eaten. Silver was everywhere, but never eaten.
Silver it turns out, and I should have noticed MONTHS earlier, was a rooster. I just kept thinking "hen" even though the evidence was right there in front of me. I was just too busy to notice.

Now that Silver is fully grown, he has completely discombobulated our rooster system.
He hides in the brush and ambushes hens as they amble by, much to the chagrin of the Marans Rooster Team. They have to constantly fend this nasty, uncivilized upstart off from their hens!

If Silver knows what is good for him he will:
 A) stop harassing the Marans hens
 B) stop encouraging the Blue Egg Cult to scratch in my baby tree pots.

I have, after all, become very used to the idea of eating my own chickens now.
   And there is room in the freezer.


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