A Flock for my Happiness?

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This topic contains 89 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Bodine 3 months ago.

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  • #1557890

    Suzanne-Marie
    Participant

    Since my earliest memory; animals have been my salvation.
    The above experience with my rooster Big White, albeit with my Dad with me and under his direction, at age 6-7 years old ; was traumatic to us both (Big White and me) forever changed me; I felt so bad that he was afraid of me….
    After that day, I made the decision to always be kind to animals, to never scare, never harm,never raise my voice; which has been from that horrible day thru today.
    I am an advocate for all living creatures, human and non-human; perhaps by profession that’s partly why I decided to become a Pediatric R.N., and have dedicated my life to helping both people and animals; which truly bring joy and happiness every day of my life, and rewards beyond measure.
    Last night was too tired to finish the story and wanted to be fresh when I finished it today.

    #1558018

    Setsunawolf
    Participant

    purpleturtle is good people. We have lots of talented artists here.

    Looking for Blue Fawn Baby Kirin

    #1558036

    Amy
    Participant

    Sorry I haven’t responded to this thread or PMs. I’m working every day this week (long hours) and I’m emotionally exhausted. If I have any day I’m feeling decent I’ll respond to everyone.

    Pipsxlch-that is so kind of you to do one for free. I’ll have you do Tenderfoot (my meek Buff Orpington rooster).
    Pm me your mailing address so that when I get up the gumption to order I can have Susie send the blank to you.

    And guys, thank you for all of your chicken stories. It makes me happy to read them. And thank you for all the support in general. It helps more than you know.

    #1558137

    pipsxlch
    Participant

    I think I managed to get a gallery up this time- at least it shows for me. It’s under my name. It shows most of the pieces I’ve done and several of them in progress (including one i’m working on now). maybe it can let you know if you like my work.

    #1558153

    Jennifer
    Keymaster

    I wish I had time to do them for you. Chickens are very dear to my heart. I have 15 now and adore them, I really think that they saved my life in many ways.
    You found the photo of my PYO hen with Chickadee (a real hen), but here are the other photos.

    I'm here to help! Time sensitive issues: See a spammer? Website going haywire? email me! nambroth at gmail.com

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    #1558156

    Jennifer
    Keymaster

    I don’t know your situation right now but are you in a place where you could keep a new, small flock of chickens? They are seriously therapy for me and I hope that maybe they could help you, too. I could send you hatching eggs for free if you or someone you know has an incubator… I have Bielefelders, and they are the most sweet and friendly dog-like chickens! You can determine their sex immediately upon hatch as males hatch a different color.

    I'm here to help! Time sensitive issues: See a spammer? Website going haywire? email me! nambroth at gmail.com

    #1558483

    Amy
    Participant

    Suzanne-Marie: I’m sorry you were so traumatized by what happened with Big White. I have kind of a similar situation with Skedaddler, but the ending is a bit different. He was a big bully too, so if he came up and started bothering me I’d whap him on the back a little with my hand. Not enough to hurt him, but enough to tell him “Hey, you don’t do that. Stop it.” And this sounds awful, but one time, and I have no idea why (Maybe he was being especially aggressive? It might have been he was hurting one of the hens) I had this little kid sized shovel (since I was just 6 at the time), and I bopped him out of the air with it. He didn’t seem to take it personally like Big White did though. I think he just took it as pecking order being established. He was never afraid of me, but he never attacked me again. He’d still come up and let me hold him/pet him, and he was a good boy to me ever since. Can’t say the same for my parents though, and that’s what ultimately cost him his life. I kinda wish they had just put him in his place as well so we could have all lived together, because I think we’ll all agree, a “gentle” bop from a shovel beats getting your head cut off. But yes, I was lucky with how he took it. If he had been scared of me from then on (like Big White) I would have felt terrible. I loved him, I just needed him to treat others with respect, the way we respected him.

    Pipsxlch: Beautiful job on your PYOs. I’m excited to see what you do with Tenderfoot. I found a photo on the internet that pretty well sums him up. I wish I had some that were actually of him, but all I’ve got are the ones my mom took at the time, and she was 8-9 months pregnant when they were adults, so she wasn’t feeling like doing chicken photo shoots too often at that point. Here is a general idea of how he looked. Not overly roosterish actually. Pretty small, and didn’t have a super bright red comb or huge wattle or anything. Even Skedaddler kind of looked like a giant hen to me. He didn’t have the cool tail plumage that I thought roosters were supposed to have. I kind of wonder if he was just a big butch hen all along, lol. I read that in the absence of a rooster hens can undergo a sex change and start acting like roosters (Growing bigger combs/wattles, stop laying eggs, crowing, trying to fertilize eggs…though this hasn’t been confirmed as possible)
    I kind of wonder if I should just send a hen bank to you. It would probably look more like him, but I think I’ll honor the poor boy’s memory and let him be immortalized as the rooster he probably wished he could have been.

    Jennifer: You did such an amazing job. She looks like she could get up and start clucking any moment. I have confidence in Bodine, and I really hope the Barred Rock she does for me turns out as nice as yours did. It’s just amazing. So many tiny details. How long did it take you to paint her? Also, did you do the dark orange eyes? I’m trying to figure out eye colors. What color do you guys think Tenderfoot should have (based on the above photo)? Light orange/some kind of tan/sandy brown? I’d like Susie’s input honestly, since she can see all the eyes in person. And I heard there is a new eye color chart that I don’t think I’ve been able to find yet.

    And yes. I am in a place where I could raise a flock. I’ve been heavily considering it, and I think I’ve decided to go ahead. The coop from when I was a kid is old and nasty, and the fence is gone, so I’ve decided to have a new fence and coop built in a nice location in my yard. It’s not going to be cheap unfortunately, but at least it will have some of the cool features that modern coops have that’ll make my life easier. It is kind of sad, because this is the kind of project I feel like a partner and I could do, but since I’m alone now it’s all just too overwhelming. I’d like to paint the coop after the guy builds it. He’s going to use treated wood I think, so paint isn’t necessary, but I’d just like it to look nice. Even that seems really daunting to do alone though. I miss having a life-partner so much. Almost makes me not want to do stuff like this because it just draws attention to the fact that I have to hire it out because I can’t do it alone, but if I can just get through the construction process and get the animals I’m sure they’ll help. In a lot of ways I have kind of an obsessive mind, and I tend to hyper-focus on one thing, so having all the chicken planning to think about 24/7, instead of my breakup, has helped a lot.

    That is so sweet of you to offer to send me eggs, Jennifer. I don’t have an incubator, and I don’t know anybody that does, but it’s definitely the thought that counts. Maybe I can name a peeper after you 😉 I’m currently trying to settle on the breeds I want. I’m trying to pick from among these breeds (these are all available on mypetchicken.com. I’ve heard good things about the site, and it’s less overwhelming to me to just get them all from one place. Maybe if you guys feel that I’m really going to be missing out on a fantastic breed that’s not on the site though, I could look at other online hatcheries):

    -Buff Orpington
    -Australorp
    -Barred Rock
    -Blue Laced Red Wyandotte
    -Silver Laced Wyandotte
    -Silver Spangled Hamburg
    -White Cochin
    -White Leghorn
    -Exchequer Leghorn
    -Rhode Island Red

    Since these are supposed to be pet animals, I do hope to get tame/friendly birds. I know I can help this along by handling them a lot from an early age, but I also know that chickens are people too, and there’s no accounting for that. A lot of people recommend Buff Orpingtons as being super friendly/nice, but case in point, Skedaddler wasn’t any of the above. He was a big bully, in spite of being one of the “friendliest” breeds. If any of you guys know/have experience with any of the above breeds I’d love to hear about them. I plan to have one rooster and the rest hens. Rooster will probably be either a Silver Spangled Hamburg or an Exchequer Leghorn. Does that sound alright? I’m a little nervous about the white cochin (never had a chicken with feathery feet before. I feel like they’d get dirty so easily, and they are more susceptible to leg mites), but I’m told they’re super loving lap chickens. And just look at this loaf. >.< I think I’m gonna give it a try.

    Oh, and in case anyone is interested, I think I figured out what kind of chicken Yellowy was. My dad always called her a “fryer” but I couldn’t find anything online that used that terminology. I did find reference to “broilers” which I imagine is probably the same thing. I know I had mentioned Leghorn (which was my best guess at the time. Yellow chicks and white adult birds) but leghorns aren’t typically called broilers I don’t think, and they don’t grow especially quickly. I’m fairly certain she was a Cornish Cross. I’m looking at pictures of the older chicks, and they look just like her. And they’re bred for meat, and to live short lives (2 months) 🙁
    Here is a picture of her and another chick at the feeder. You can see how huge she is. (Even in the pick of the three hens roosting on the porch railing, you can see how much bigger she is than the other girls).

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    #1558493

    etruscan
    Participant

    If you are planning to have a coop and fence you might consider how well the various breeds can fly. My son and his family have had a mixed flock for several years. Most of them will stay behind the 6 foot fence around the coop but they did have a white rooster that could fly in and out.

    I think that something eventually got the white one. They currently have a brown hen that can fly to the top of the fence. I don’t know what her breed is or what her parents might be. Maybe Jennifer or someone can advise on breeds that can’t fly so well.

    #1558494

    Amy
    Participant

    I’m going to have a fence with a roof on it, so no worries there. Believe me, I’m probably overly paranoid about it all, but I’m really trying to max out their safety. Nobody gets out, and nothing gets in.

    #1558497

    pipsxlch
    Participant

    Amy, I’ve owned Cochins and can testify to their sweetness. (Ours were standards, not bantys, don’t know if there’s a personality difference) We kept several feather footed breeds, and never had a problem with their health. The Rhode Islands ranged from standoffish to the sweetest of all.

    Our Buff Orpington roosters were a bit bigger than the hens, but not overly cockish, if you know what I mean. Bigger redder combs, but not much tail and overall buff color.

    I’m glad you liked my PYOs, thanks for the complement. I think the light orange eyes might match the breed best.

    #1558498

    Amy
    Participant

    My rhode island red was totally sweet so I’m hoping my next one will be too. I’m pretty sure I’ll get one.

    I’m the most excited for the cochin I think. I want a little loaf chicken glued to my lap at all times. A feathered dog, basically, lol.

    Ok, so maybe that’s a breed thing. I always wondered if other people’s buff roosters looked like mine. Maybe buff roosters just don’t look overly masculine in general.

    And sorry, there was supposed to be a picture in there for you, but the Windstone forums seem to have issues posting all the pictures (for me at least. I’ll put stuff in and then it disappears). Do you think light orange matches this pic the best?

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    #1558559

    Jennifer
    Keymaster

    Amy, I think having a goal of getting chickens, and taking care of them, is a great way to help yourself. My chickens keep me going on days that I think I can’t.
    I’ve done piles of research into chickens and could talk your ear off for hours!

    Here is some food for thought:

    Large hatcheries are sort of like puppy mills for chickens. That said, there aren’t too many alternatives if you want a variety of breeds all hatched at the same time. So it’s a bit of a toss of the dice as to the health and overall genetics and standard of the chickens. I know people that have had great luck and some that have poor luck. Personally I have had a very mixed bag as my first flock came from a hatchery (Meyer hatchery, which is the drop shipper for My Pet Chicken). I’d say about half my flock died prematurely (before age 5) due to issues that are common in mass-produced/bred chickens, even with veterinary care. Most people don’t mind this as chickens are livestock, but for me as mine are pets, it was heartbreaking to lose them to preventable disease/illness/genetic problems. The most common breeds are the ones most mass bred and tend to carry these problems a lot. Most commercially bred (by hatcheries) popular breeds that die early due to reproductive complications (tied to line breeding etc) are: rocks / barred rocks, orpingtons, australorps, Rhode island reds, leghorns and any production breed such as sex-linked hens (golden comet, red star, black star, amberlink, tetra tint, etc…. all of these birds are hybrids and bred ONLY for egg production and not health).

    Pros to large mail order hatcheries:
    Get a large variety of chicks all at once
    Generally speaking, the chicks are not going to be exposed to communicable disease before they ship them to you
    You can have them vaccinated
    Most hatcheries ship to most locations in the USA
    Large fowl breeds can often be vent-sexed by the hatchery for in my opinion is about a 60% accuracy rate
    Mail order has a fairly high success rate of survival, considering what they go through

    Cons to large mail order hatcheries:
    Chickens are absolutely NOT bred for health, temperament, or to standard
    Mailing chicks can be very hard on them… any delays, etc, can mean getting a very sad box of dying or dead chicks
    Some hatcheries immediately cull (kill) male chicks that haven’t been sold, this requires research into the individual hatchery

    There are a few smaller hatcheries, but they are not as convenient to order from (some don’t have an online order form), their availability is lower, they have fewer breeds, and they may or may not ship live chicks. They also might or might not offer vaccination. Most also don’t offer sexed chicks as it’s quite difficult to do.

    Locals/breeders are a good way to go if you know that the person keeps excellent records, a closed flock, exceptional biosecurity, and breeds for health. But, you are usually limited to one or two breeds, and you are generally going to get straight run from them. Most breeders do not offer vaccination, either.

    After dealing with heartbreak of losing my pet hens at early ages, I personally opted to go to a small hatchery that focuses on the quality and health of their birds. I found one that vaccinates too (A MUST for me as I’ve had Marek’s disease on my property in the past 10 years). They also offer some breeds that auto-sex (auto-sexing, when it comes to chickens, means that the chicks hatch out visually different depending on male or female… there are only a few breeds that do this). So, I was able to order hens and one rooster, vaccinated. The downside is that they are a very expensive hatchery because they specialize in rare breeds. If you are curious, it’s https://greenfirefarms.com/

    I do also urge some caution about mixing too many breeds. If you are going to free range and have a lot of space for them, it’s not as important, but if you need to fence them in a run or have long snowy winters like I do where they spend a lot of time in the coop, it can be very problematic to house breeds with very different temperaments together. Some breeds are far more docile than others, and this can lead to severe bullying in the flock! I speak from experience!! I wanted to have a variable flock because I didn’t know which breed I’d fall in love with, and ended up with a flock that I call a bag of jelly bellies… all the flavors, but they don’t always all go together well in the same bite!! Some of the breeds you’ve listed can be quite sassy and bossy, and others not so much. It may be disappointing, but at first it is actually sometimes easier to narrow it down to fewer than three breeds.

    Leghorn and Hamburg roosters can be quite high strung. If you just want one rooster and you don’t have an elder rooster around to show the new guy the “ropes”, consider going with the most docile breed you can get. The only roosters I’ve had that have been mellow and gentle with my girls have been from mellow breeds. I’ve had rock roosters, an eater egger rooster, and they have been awful. One tried to kill the girls. My current roosters (cochin and Bielefelder) are both big sweeties and my Bielefeler rooster is especially wonderful. He’s like a pet dog!

    After having feather footed breeds (cochins and faverolles), I’ve sworn off of them. In my climate (I live in NY) the weather seems to give them foot problems. I have some really high quality breeder cochins and their feet are heavily feathered; They seem to constantly have foot follicle problems and I can tell it is painful for my cochin hen and rooster at times. I personally don’t care for the discomfort and problems the feathered feet give them and will not return to booted breeds.
    I’ve written a bit about my flock here, if you are interested in seeing them! https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/featherdust-flock.62851/

    I'm here to help! Time sensitive issues: See a spammer? Website going haywire? email me! nambroth at gmail.com

    #1558612

    Suzanne-Marie
    Participant

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful hens, roosters, website, and link to where you purchased some of your gorgeous flock; as well as your expertise; I thoroughly enjoyed it !

    #1558617

    Amy
    Participant

    Oh my goodness, I’ll need to take some time to properly respond to your whole post Jennifer, but the main points are these:

    1. I read your post on BYC and you have sold me on the Bielefelders. I need some in my life. I will buy an incubator so I can hatch eggs you send me. I just put the eggs in and wait, right? The picture of your rooster nuzzing his face into your hand kills me. So adorable. >.<

    2. I wish you lived near me, because I’d love it if you could come to my house and be my chicken consultant. I really wish I had someone near me who knew what they were doing and wanted to spend time guiding me through the process.

    3. I’d really love to talk shop with you. I have 2 threads on BYC trying to figure out the baby/intermediate stage living arrangements, and another for the fence/coop construction questions. Maybe you could read them and give me your input, or I could pick out my most burning questions and post them for you. Whichever is easier. I’ll put the links here:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/can-someone-approve-my-brooder-plans.1293399/
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/fencing-help.1293314/

    #1558627

    Amy
    Participant

    Of all the rooster breeds you’ve had what one would you say has been the kindest to your hens?

    I mentioned to a coworker today (who has chickens herself) that I was planning on getting some, including one rooster, and she asked me why I wanted one. She said that roosters basically rape the hens all day long, and she’d never put her girls through that.

    I read the whole topic on Trousers (hopefully this isn’t painful to bring up) and he sounded like a perfect gentleman. Do you think it was his breed (Cochin?) or just because he was special (because he undoubtedly was)? I’ve tried googling what breeds of roosters are the kindest to the hens, and the only result I have managed to find is the following list: Cochin, Brahma or Langshan. I’ve also heard that the bigger the rooster breed, the more laid back in general. Do you find this to be true? I don’t want to get a rooster if I’m just setting my girls up to get raped every day of their lives…

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