Saturday, June 28, 2014

Guinea keets raised by chickens - photos

 Who doesn't love keets!  Our keets are growing up.  They still live with their chicken mama hens.  The black hen is named Katie and has 5 keets.  The red hen is named Doritos and has 7 keets.  The keets are flying now, and roosting up high in the chicken coop.

Here are some pictures of the adult guineas, the birth parents of the keets. The photos are terrible quality, taken with my phone and emailed to myself- sorry! :(

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Little Deer is still Here

This morning around 5am I was walking through my house and I was shocked to see the thin face of a deer peering in  my front window watching me!

No worries - it was just Little Deer, who comes up to my front porch every day.  I'd prefer she didn't come up and eat my bushes and flowers, but alas, this is where she lives. 

Good morning, Little Deer!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Guinea Keets have Hatched

I don't have any pictures ready for this post, but I'm not going to wait for pics.  If I wait to take a photo, the post just wont get posted.  Sorry.  There will be pics in the future!

A little over 28 days ago I found a guinea nest in the woods.  Our guineas free range and it's near impossible to find a nest.  I collected 6 eggs the first day, and put 2 fake eggs in the nest in return.  Then the next 2 days I collected 3 eggs each day, for a grand total of 12 eggs.  I was so excited.

I wasn't thinking about guinea eggs for breakfast - - -NO!  I was thinking about new guinea keets!!!  Our guinea flock is always fighting foxes, hawks, owls, eagles, you name it.  The guineas always lose.  We do our best to fight along with the guineas, so I guess it's the guinea/human team against the fox/hawk/owl/eagle team.  We've lost 2 guineas in 2014.  Our beautiful pure white girl was recently killed by a bird, either a hawk, owl or eagle.  She was the last pure white guinea.  And a dark brown guinea girl was killed by a fox.  We have 7 light grey colored ones and 3 dark brown guineas left.  I like to get keets every year or two to keep the guinea flock going. 

So - back to the eggs.  I always, always have broody (chicken) hens.  I don't know why my hens always go broody.  So, 3 weeks ago, I had a red sex link named Doritos and a black Ameracauna mix named Katie that were broody, so I divided up the eggs between them.  And in the last few days, the guinea keets have hatched!  They are sooooo cute!  Keets are much more active than chicks.  They are running all over the coop already.

Katie has 5 keets - 4 grey and 1 pure white! :) Yeah, another pure white one!
Doritos has 7 keets - 3 dark brown, 3 light grey and 1 that's pure white with brown spots/patches!!  Of course I like the spotted one best, because it's unique. One egg didn't hatch,  We broke it open and saw it was not developed at all, it was nasty rotten egg.  I don't know what happened to that one.

We setup half the coop as a baby coop, and divided it in half again so each mama hen has her own private area with her own babies.  The mama hens don't realize the babies aren't even chickens, they are both very happy with their babies.  They worked hard sitting on those eggs for 28 days!

I will get some keet pics soon. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I Love Lucy and so did Bonnie

Well, I wanted to write a post either about the chickens or guineas and bring you to-to-date on their lives this past winter, but so much is happening, I just cannot slow down and talk about the past winter yet.  I'll get back to it...

With life comes sad times.  My favorite chicken of all times, ever, Lucy, died yesterday.  Rest in peace, Sweet Lucy.  My Lucy-Goosey.


Lucy was one of our original chicks - that makes her almost 5 years old.  That's old for a bantam hen.  Lucy was so tame.  She loved to be pet and have her neck rubbed.  She knew her name and always came when called.  I would go out into the chicken pen, look for Lucy and call her name.  She'd be thirty feet away, hear me calling her, stop her digging or whatever she was doing, and come running to me.  She always came running when I called her.  I'd always open the gate and let her out by herself.  She never attempted to run away from me and always let me pick her up, so I knew it was safe to let her out of the pen.  We don't let the chickens free-range without me around, too many foxes.  So Lucy and I would go for a short walk, she always walked beside me very well, and then we'd stop to dig.  I'd find a stick and she'd assist digging with her feet.  We'd dig for worms, which she'd gobble up.  She and I went for a walk and a dig right up to the end of her life when she could barely walk anymore.  I carried her these last few months to the digging spot because she couldn't walk.  Sometimes she'd almost fall over when we were digging, but she still tried to dig for worms.  She didn't "lose her mind" when she got old.  Her body got slow and frail, but she was still the same old Lucy.  She still reacted just like she always did to me.


Lucy never really cared for other chickens, she did her own thing.  She wasn't a follower.  Doing what other chickens do is normal flock behavior, but Lucy was unique.  The other chickens emulated her actions.


The last few months Lucy could barely walk.  She couldn't navigate the ramp to the outside pen to leave the coop.  We made sure she had food and water inside the coop.  She couldn't jump up on the roost at night, instead she slept on the floor of the coop underneath the other chickens by herself.  It was sad seeing her down on the floor by herself at night, but we knew she was a loner anyway, she probably didn't mind.

And then Bonnie started sleeping on the floor beside Lucy at night.


Big Bonnie, she is called.  Bonnie is the opposite of Lucy in looks.  Bonnie weighs about 20 pounds to Lucy's 2 pounds.  Bonnie is huge, she's a meat breed of bird, one that normally is raised to butcher for meat.  Bonnie was a shelter chicken - she rescued her from the local animal shelter.  She was caged in someone's house and fed table scraps and kept for her eggs.  She got very fat on table scraps.  I think she also ate fast food, whatever, her diet was terrible.  Then it seems she stopped laying eggs, probably because of her poor condition because of her bad diet, and whoever had her didn't want her anymore.  I bet you they got another chicken to abuse.  They didn't know what they were doing - they got a meat breed of bird instead of an egg-laying breed.  They were city people who wanted fresh eggs.  So Bonnie was tossed out into the city streets, left to wander on her own.  I guess they didn't know how to butcher a chicken or they probably would have butchered her.  Only Bonnie was so fat and because she was caged she had almost lost the ability to use her legs.  She had no strength in her legs.  And so animal control easily caught her, and the shelter called me, as I'm on the list of farms who will take chickens found in Washington DC.  And since then she has lived a good life at Razzberry Corner.  She learned how to walk again, lost quite a bit of weight, but still is one big bird.  Big Bonnie.  No one messes with Big Bonnie in our flock.  They probably talk about Big Bonnie behind her back - "did you hear that Bonnie was in prison before?" they probably say.

Big Bonnie

Anyway, Big Bonnie, the bird that doesn't let other chickens push her around, moved to the floor beside Lucy.  The two of them always sat their with their heads together, like they were talking.  We assumed because of Bonnie's weight she couldn't get up on the roost anymore.  During the days Bonnie stayed near Lucy on the coop floor.  Sometimes Bonnie would go outside and leave Lucy alone for a while, then she'd come back to sit beside sweet Lucy.  And Lucy, the chicken who really didn't like other chickens, liked Bonnie.


Lucy waddled around inside the coop as best as she could.  She liked to eat, even though she was very thin at the end.  In the winter during the snowy days none of the chickens went outside, so everyone stayed inside, including Bonnie and Lucy.  I'd feed them inside the coop.  Sometimes it got crazy with chickens running around at feeding time, but I noticed Bonnie always protected Lucy from the other chickens.  Bonnie would physically block the other birds with her large body, making it so they wouldn't knock Lucy over, as Lucy was unsteady.

We recently raised some new roosters from chicks, and they started running around mating with all the hens.  Bonnie always moved in front of Lucy when those roosters came in the coop scoping out mates.  It truly seemed like Bonnie was protecting Lucy.  Lucy went along with Bonnie's actions, standing behind her, letting herself be protected.  Sometimes when the chickens were all cooped up for days on end in the snowy months they would all have cabin fever, walking around, pacing the coop floor non-stop.  Lucy would go into one of the bottom nestboxes that was on the floor for protection from all the crazy chickens.  Then of course if a chicken sees another in a nestbox, they want to go in there and lay an egg in that nestbox, even if there's a dozen empty nestboxes.  (It's that crazy chicken behavior where they all need to follow what the other is doing.)  But Bonnie starting sitting her large body right in front of Lucy's nestbox, blocking Lucy in, keeping everyone else away from Lucy.  Bonnie was so big she totally shielded the nestbox.  When Lucy wanted out of the nestbox she just stood up and Bonnie got up and immediately moved out of her way.  It was so neat to see that Big Bonnie had become Lucy's guardian, her protector.  They always had their heads together, appearing as if they were talking. They were best friends.

Big Bonnie is the big bird in the center

My husband said it was because Bonnie was getting old, too.  At this same time Bonnie stopped laying eggs.  He said Bonnie probably couldn't get up on the roost anymore, she was too big and was probably loosing her balance, that's why she was on the floor all the time now. 

So months went by like this.  We knew Lucy wasn't going to live much longer, she was so frail.  Lucy died Thur during the day while we were out at work.  Her body lay on the coop floor near the waterer, with Bonnie sitting nearby, until we came home Thur night.  Bonnie stayed on the floor in that same location Thur night.  Another chicken, named Ruffles, slept down on the floor with Bonnie that night, with her head near Bonnie's.  That was odd.  Ruffles is a much younger bird and there's no reason she would be on the floor and not on the roost with the other chickens.


And then tonight, Friday night, Bonnie is back up on the roost sleeping with the other chickens.

It appears Bonnie was able to roost all along, but she chose to stay on the ground with Lucy all these months.  Bonnie is one special bird.  And Ruffles.  And of course, Lucy was a special bird, my favorite chicken ever.  My husband is speechless, now that he knows Bonnie can roost.  He said she will probably start laying eggs again now, too.

We buried Lucy in the animal cemetery beside Tommy the cat and the other chickens that have died through the years.  I will always miss sweet Lucy.

People that don't have chickens don't realize that chickens have personalities.  They don't know what they're missing.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Ben and Brindle Update

Yes, I'm back and writing again.  It's been a long, cold, hard winter.  I've wanted to write, to share the farm with everyone, but time was short.  Days and nights flew by, weeks got jumbled together, and before I knew it, spring is here!  And not soon enough!

The animals hated the long cold winter.  It snowed so many times.  Let me tell you right from the beginning, I'm not a cold-weather kind of gal.  I like it hot and sunny.  You can keep the snow!  But this winter it certainly snowed a whole lot!

The two outside cats, Benjamin and Brindle, were C-O-L-D outside.  Since we put up heatlamps for the chickens in the coop, we got the bright idea to setup a heatlamp for the outside cats.  So the cats got a heatlamp.  They sleep on a piece of rug which sits on a wooden bench on the front porch.  We aimed the heatlamp on the bench, and they both cuddled up every night under the lamp.

After a few extremely cold and blustery snowy nights, we realized the heatlamp really wasn't helping much.  The snow was blowing sideways up onto the cats and soaking their bed and the cats, too.  And the thought occurred to me - we DO have an empty guestroom...  And these stray cats ARE guests...

And so Ben and Brindle moved inside to the guestroom.  I know, I'm a sucker for animals.  My husband puts up with me...  Just so you know, they both had already been taken to the vet, been dewormed, deflead, deticked, had all their shots, and were fixed.  Also they were tested and found to be negative for all feline diseases.  Yes, they used to be strays, Brindle even was feral - you can see she has a clipped ear.  Any outside cat here has to go thru that routine, and even still, I dare to call them a stray cat.  I should just call them an "outside cat", not a stray.

The two formerly "stray" cats absolutely LOVED the guest bed.  They loved being inside.  They both became extremely friendly, and love to be pet and hugged and held.  We never thought that wild Brindle could become such a lovebug.  They both even like their bellies rubbed!  And most of all, they love stretching out to sleep on the soft guest bed.

Benjamin especially loves to be held on Randy's shoulder.  Ben sits up on the bed and begs, stretching his front legs up in the air, waiting to be picked up.  Brindle loves to cuddle and then lick us, which is quite annoying when you don't want to be licked, which is, well, always.

We kept Ben and Brindle separate from the inside cats.  It was easier that way - no cat fights.  The inside cats weren't too fond of the guest cats.  So we kept the guestroom door closed at all times.  Sometimes Jack, the Houdini cat who can open doors, snuck in to visit.  Jack's very accepting and friendly.  If only everyone could be as sweet as Jack...  

When the cold winter nights passed, we opened the window (the guest room is on the first floor) and Ben and Brindle went back outside.  They were so happy to be out again.  But it seems they miss their bed.  If we open the guest room window again they will come right back inside and curl up on the bed.  Randy sometimes sleeps in the guest room during the day when he's working the crazy night shift.  When he does, he opens the window, within minutes Ben and Brindle are cuddled up with him on the bed, and they all sleep the day away.

I guess they aren't outdoor cats anymore, they've become indoor-outdoor cats.  They both are great farm cats - they love to help us with our outside chores.  They always walk us to the barn, stand guard while we work in the chicken coop.  Once a chicken escaped out the coop door and Ben stood and watched, helping me to catch it.  The chicken was terrified of the cat and just froze, making it easy to catch.  Brindle loves to run with the guineas.  When I throw bread for the guineas she's right out there with them - she loves to catch pieces of bread and eat it, just like the guineas.  Both cats, but especially Brindle, are always mouse and bird hunting.  Any little bird that comes near her, and any mouse on the property, will meet it's end if Brindle has her way.

Recently a fox moved into our front yard, of all places, and before that a raccoon was acting very strange, falling over when standing, extremely friendly, etc.  When those animals were around at nighttime we ushered Ben and Brindle into the house to keep them safe.  I didn't want little Brindle to be fox food, nor did I want either cat to get rabies from a possible infected coon. The cats didn't know what was going on, all they knew was they had access to their beautiful guest bed again, and they loved it and slept soundly all night. 

So that's the update on Ben and Brindle, the indoor-outdoor cats.  It was a good winter for them.  Next up I'll discuss either the chickens or the guineas, and will tell you how they made it thru the long cold winter months.   

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Razzberry Corner is back!!!

Wow!!!  A lot of time has passed since my last post!  So much has been going on here at Razzberry Corner!  ...Where to begin????

Let's start with the humans...  What's going on with us?

Over the winter I joined an awesome online weight-loss group called Lose It! (  It's a great support group that encourages you to eat less and exercise more, and teaches you how to count calories.  They have workout challenges, groups where discussions take place, and endless possibilities to make friends with similar exercise and weight-loss goals.  With this app I lost about 20 pounds.  I highly recommend it to everyone!  Best thing is, Lose It! is free.  Costs nothing to join the basic service, and $39.95 for a year of premium membership.  With the basic membership you can set only one weight loss goal, with the premium membership the number of goals you can set are almost endless, from weight goals to blood pressure, exercise minutes, steps taken, hydration (to encourage you to drink more water), nutritional goals are available, such as sodium, carbs, protein, fiber, you can even set a goal to sleep a certain number of hours every night.  Anyway, it's a pretty cool group and has motivated me to be healthy and happier.  Check it out if you want to lose weight.

I've been traveling a lot for my work, and am still putting in a lot of hours at work.  What else is new?

My husband has been working shiftwork for his job, often working nights with days off.  This means I have to take care of the animals most of the time, leaving me little to no free time to do things I enjoy, like write.

I have been very sick this year.  It's crazy because I believe that I'm healthier than I've ever been in my life. I got the flu in January, then the Norovirus in March, and now have an upper respiratory infection in April.  The Norovirus was no fun - I've never been that sick, ever.  It seems everyone is catching it - very contagious. If someone you know has it - run away as fast as you can!

Next post I'll move on to the interesting stuff - we'll discuss the farm critters and tell you how they all survived the long cold winter.  Lot's of craziness going on.  Wasn't that winter just the worst ever?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Snow and Chickens and Guineas

We got our first big snowstorm of 2014 already, as has much of the country!  We only got maybe 3 - 4 inches of snow.  It sure looks pretty, but with the wind it is cold outside!

This is the guinea roosting pine. It's a huge pine that sits above the chicken coop.  The guineas will not come down out of the tree today.  I was worried that they were frozen, but they don't appear to be.  The song birds live through snowstorms, why wouldn't a guinea fowl?  But I worry still.

I found the guineas up in the tree snuggled up and singing quietly.  Do you see them in the below photo?

They light colored guineas stand out in the green of the pine.

Our chickens hate snow and cold and refuse to go out from their coop.  We have heat lamps and heaters in the coop, and put the waterer in the coop, trying to keep it from freezing.  This morning the water had ice in it but wasn't frozen solid.  I tell you, it's cold out there!  I don't blame the chickens for wanting to stay inside!

In the below photo is Doritos, the red sex link in upper left.  Bottom left is Charlotte, who's a senior lady- she's one of the original chicks from 4 years ago.  The big bird in the center front is Big Bonnie, the former shelter hen, and Muffin the lead rooster is behind her.  The two white leghorns are named Pringles.  We have four Pringles - I can't tell them apart so they all were named Pringles.

From left: Doritos, Ruffles, another Doritos, Zoner, Freckles, part of Little Muff (son of Muffin).  Little Muff will step up and be our lead rooster when Muff Sr. passes away.  Muff Sr. is getting older.  The black bird you can barely see in the front is Holly, daughter of Muffin.

When chickens are all penned up in a coop bad things are sure to happen.  They get bored and start picking on each other.  The younger birds are usually lower in the pecking order, literally.  This morning I went out to check on the birds and found one of the Pringles had a bloody head.  Red blood splattered all over a white bird just asks for the others to continually peck at her.

I brought Pringles in and bathed her head.  She didn't mind.  She loved to look at herself in the mirror - she was amazed by her reflection.  I washed her head then blowed dried her.  I went over her whole body with the blow drier - my birds always LOVE to be blow dried.  The problem was that her comb had been bitten and had bled all over her white feathers.  The comb was fine, it had already stopped bleeding.  But the other birds had pecked her bloody head and made bruises on the left side of her head near her ear.  If I hadn't separated her they could have pecked her till she had a big open wound.  The photos were taken post-bath.

Luckily I got to her in time and she was fine.  I returned Pringles to the broody hen coop, where we have two broody hens sitting on eggs.  Pringles needed a break from the other hens.  She loved having a coop mostly to herself - the broody hens just sit ont heir nests and don't move much, leaving Pringles the run of the coop.  Later today I'll return her to the regular chicken coop.

I hope everyone enjoys the snow and keeps an eye on their chickens in their coops!  Stay warm!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Yummm - Warm Water!

Thanksgiving week is upon us! 

Yesterday I went out to feed the birds their grains/feed.  The guineas are starving now, I have to feed them since there's no bugs around for them to find on their own.  As soon as I walk outside they come running to me.  I give them chicken food, plus they love scratch grain.  Their special treat is bread.  They love them some bread.  We buy cheap white bread for their bread treat.

As I was filling the chicken feeders I realized all the chicken waterers were frozen.  It was about 11 degrees F out yesterday with the wind chill.  It was bitter cold.  Odd - because last Friday it was 64 degrees F.  This weather...  Anyway, it was about 8am, the chickens had not been without water for long.  But they all told me they were going to DIE of thirst.  When I looked at the waterer and kicked it (lightly!) with my boot to attempt to determine how deep the ice was, the chickens all attempted to peck it, too.  They were telling me they might die of thirst since their waterer appeared to be not providing water when they demanded.  Chickens can be very demanding.  You don't know these things unless you have chickens.

I made sure the heat lamps were running inside the coops and lugged the 2 waterers inside the 2 coops and put them under the lamps.  I can't open the waterers, Randy really closes them tight.  If I could open them I would have lugged boiling water out in buckets and dumped it on top of the frozen water.  Because I was paying attention to the waterers, the chickens were, too.  They watch everything I do and have to be involved. Too involved.  They always are under my feat, reaching into my pockets to see what I have in there, wanting to be sitting on my lap if I'm squatting down.

Muffin remembered his fight with me from Saturday - he's a smart bird.  He immediately stood up to me and fluffed his neck. 
"Are you ready for this?" he asked. 
I ignored him, I was busy moving the frozen waterer.
"I'm gonna kick your @#!" Muffin hollered at me. 
He attacked my calf with his spurs when my back was turned.  Damn bird.  I ignored him, luckily I had rubber boots on that went up to the knees.  I swung the waterer around so it was between he and I.  He realized I wasn't in the mood to fight and stopped with his fight. Hmmm, if I show no fear, but ignore him, he stops before he gets too worked up.  I'll have to remember that.

Once I got the waterers inside the coop the chickens continually attempted to drink the frozen water.  So I had to setup 2 additional waterers for them, inside the coop under the heat lamps.  I lugged warm water out to the coop in buckets and dumped it into the new waterers in front of the chickens.  Luckily we have extra waterers.  You'd think the chickens had not had a drink in days - everyone gathered around the water gulping and holding their beaks in the air to swallow.  Over and over they gulped.  Muffin came and clucked his call for food to ensure all the hens knew to come and partake.  Ahhh, warm water for the chickens.  Steam was coming off the water since it was so cold out, although the water wasn't that hot.  I should have put some tea in their water and we all could have had a tea break.  I went inside and had some hot tea myself.

It's the simple things that we give thanks for here at Razzberry Corner. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Fox Attack

Last night there was yet another fox attack on the guineas.  Normally it's a red fox which attacks the birds, but this time it was a grey fox.

The below pictures are of a grey fox and a red fox.  They are not the same animals that attacked our guineas.  Grey fox are larger than red fox - we were surprised to see one.  We have so very many red fox - our guinea flock rarely survives a year with the red fox and hawks around here.

Just so you know, the fox in those photos look so much prettier than the fox around our house.  Most of our fox appear to be sickly and have mange and look terrible.  These photos actually make fox look cute.

Last night a sickly-looking, stinky grey fox came right up on our back porch, right where I sit on my chair out there.  He nosed around, then went around the front of the house and started hunting the guineas which were in the front yard.  We saw the fox on the back porch and watched as the fox picked out an unsuspecting guinea for his dinner.  The guineas never even saw the fox - such stupid birds.

The fox didn't survive the hunt.  We are allowed to kill a fox that is killing our livestock.  All guineas lived to see another day.   

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chicken Update

Yikes  - time flies!  I have been busy with work, travel, family, etc.  I come back here to the blog and realize it's been over a month since my last post!  I'm sorry!

Things are crazy as usual here on the farm...

Randy loves chicks and chickens decided to hatch some eggs - yet again!  Yes, it's Nov.  I didn't want to have baies, but he really wanted to.  And so, the chicks are due in Dec.  We have the always-broody Charlotte sitting on the eggs.  He wanted to hatch some full-blooded Americauna chicks.  Muffin, the rooster, is Americauna.  After the autumn molt one of the hens, Virginia, who's also Americauna, started laying again.  It's been a while since she laid.  Or so Randy believes it's Virginia who's laying. I get confused now-a-days, unless I actually watch the hen lay.  All the new pullets which were hatched this year are now laying - we average a dozen eggs or more a day now!

Lucy was ill for a few weeks.  She's my favorite little bantam hen.  She's 4 years old now.  Most of the bantams from her clutch have all passed away - those little hens just don't live very long.  Lucy was getting a few drops of antibiotic water every day and was hand fed to ensure she ate every day for about a week.  Now she's doing great.  I'm happy she made a recovery - I wasn't ready for her to pass away.  She hasn't laid in over a year.  Only one of the hens from her clutch is still laying, Chloe.  Chloe lays every day.  It's just a tiny egg.  Chloe is a sweetie.

I just gave the chickens some spaghetti mixed with frozen peas.  I cook the spaghetti and throw in peas a min before I drain it.  I try to give the birds treats when I can.  I'm not home a lot - they haven't had a treat other than their regular chicken food since last weekend.  The birds all got so excited while I was feeding them - almost too excited...

While I was giving the birds the treats I took Charlotte off her nest/eggs to force her to move about for a minute.  She ran around screaming and flapping in the pen.  She immediately got in a fight with her sister, Cheryl.  Charlotte always loses the fights with Cheryl, who is very mean to Charlotte.  Charlotte ended up with a torn and bleeding wattle.  Poor girl.  She's back on the nest again.  I'll have to check on her to make sure the bleeding has stopped.  I'll put sugar on it if it hasn't stopped.

Then Muffin got in a fight with one of the other young roosters.  Muff wouldn't let the other roosters eat.  I was a fool and got between the fighting roosters.  The young cockerel ran away and took the opportunity to eat spaghetti.  Muffin raised all his neck feathers at me.  Stupidly, I raised my boot at him - which means I wanted to fight him.  The thing about Muff is that he will not stop fighting until the other bird/person loses the fight and runs away.  Then he crows announcing he's the winner.  Showing Muffin the bottom of my boot is a fighting gesture to him, I have no idea why.  To him I'm fluffing my neck feathers and standing up to fight.  He attached my boot many many times with his spurs.  He's strong and almost knocked me down, since I had to keep 1 foot up to fend him off me.  I grabbed onto a support post in the middle of the chicken pen.  I hopped on one foot, bumping into hens as they ran around eating, trying to shoo them out of my way so I could hop to the gate, all the while Muffin was attacking my raised foot.  Finally a few hens got in between Muff and I and I took the opportunity to run for the gate.  I heard him crowing as I got to the gate.  Yes, I ran, you won, Muffin.  Next time I will not get in the middle of a rooster fight.  Or I will carry my broom.

Here's a pic of Muffin raising his neck feathers - it was taken back in early Oct.  He's the black bird right in the center - it's not a clear photo.

As I mentioned, the pullets and cockerels that hatched this year are so big now.  Pickles is a rooster, sadly.  He's GORGEOUS and we're considering keeping him as the second rooster, with Muff being the first rooster.  We'll see with Pickles, he has to show us he's smart.  Big Bird is also a rooster, and is extremely smart.  But he's too BIG.  Having him as a rooster would be dangerous for the hens (during mating).  The 2 black cuckoo maran/Americauna mixed pullets are still totally black with no comb.  They are beautiful.  I've never seen a jet black chicken with no comb before I saw them.

Little Red is a Rhode Island Red pullet - I love her to death.  She's a talker and never stops chattering.  I especially love her because she was a reject chick.  Pickles was a reject chick, too.  The 3rd bird from the reject chick group hasn't been named yet - she's a beautiful brown and red Americauna pullet who's VERY shy.  I have to name her real soon.

Have a great weekend and a HAAPY THANKSGIVING!!!!