Monday, August 9, 2010

Chicken and Guinea Update

Life goes on with the birds here at Razzberry Corner. 
Both hens Charlotte and Betty are raising 4 chicks each.  Charlotte is an excellent mama hen; if any hen or rooster comes anywhere near her she attacks them.  Both mamas and their babies have totally been integrated into the flock already.  It's not that tough to integrate new chicks with a mama hen. 

In case you haven't been around a mama hen, they continually cluck for their chicks.  If food is being served, they cluck even more.  The chicks know their mama's clucks.  Previously, I was curious if the babies would know which mama was theirs since we have two mamas - they do.  They only listen to their own mama.  It's funny, but the mama hens don't attack each other, just everyone else.

Charlotte and three of her chicks
The hen Bella got really excited when Charlotte and Betty's chicks hatched.  Bella loved being a mama, she recently raised eight guinea keets.  As soon as she saw and heard Charlotte's and Betty's new chicks in the coop, Bella immediately went broody again.  Poor Bella.  No more chicks or keets, sorry, girl.

Bella's been sitting for weeks now on nothing, just sitting in the nest box.  We've separated her during the day and put her in her own coop with a rooster named Fred to discourage her broodiness.  It seems to be working. She gets up and walks around when it's just her and Fred.  Fred is a darling, he is the most gentle rooster we have.  But as soon as we but Bella back with the flock she immediately starts making that broody mama hen cluck and eventually tries to make a dash for the nest boxes to go sit again. 

But before Bella can go sit in the coop, her guinea keets hear her clucks, and they all dash to her side.  They remember their mama's clucks.  So whenever Bella is outside, she's surrounded by eight guineas who think their mama's calling them.  Sometimes she runs around the coop clucking in a broody hen frenzy (if you've had a broody hen you know what this frenzy is!), and all the keets run after her!   

Bella and her keets
Today was an exciting day - we got our chicken saddles in the mail!  Some of our hens have been getting torn up by the roosters.  They are getting bald spots on their backs and necks, and I've been administering antibiotic ointment on them at nighttime.  And so we ordered saddles, also called chicken aprons.  This is not a good picture of the saddle.  I'm going to have to get more pictures of them.

Chloe in her new outfit
The hens didn't really mind me putting the saddles on them.  They have straps that go under the wings to hold them on, they are made from denim so they are strong and washable.  I read about other people's chickens hating the saddles when they first got them.  Not mine.  I thought it was odd that they didn't mind them.  I guess I have really relaxed, easy-going chickens.  Or maybe they are just fashion-conscious, and like the latest look in saddles.

Here is a picture of Danni, who got a broken toe when she was young.  The toe has healed long ago, and now it's just bent, but it's fine.  She was one of the hens who didn't need a saddle, so she doesn't have a new outfit.  Sorry, Danni, no new look for you!

Danni didn't get an outfit
On a good note, Raspberry's bumblefoot has totally healed.  We no longer have to wrap her feet and treat them every night.  We check her feet every now and then to make sure it doesn't come back. 

On a closing note, here's yet another picture of my roo Leggy.  He always poses for my camera.



NetRaptor said...

Ohh, that's so cute about the guinea keats coming to the mama hen. They know how to speak chicken! I always thought that guineas raised with chickens must be bilingual. I've even heard the guineas make the "good good good" chicken chirp when they find food.

IsobelleGoLightly said...

What beautiful hens! Charlotte is especially lovely. Our wee bantam Priscilla is very broody. She becomes greatly offended when my lady removes the eggs from underneath her! I love how the Guinea chicks have grown!

Razzberry Corner said...

NetRaptor - LOL, yes our guineas are definitely bilingual!! Even the adult Boy Guinea clucks like a chicken rooster all the time when he finds food. I never thought about it before! All our guineas and chickens were raised as one family. But the chickens do NOT make guinea noises, although they definitely understand the guinea noises! The guineas always alert the chickens when something's happening (such as a car pulling up), and then the roosters start making their warning cries. Now if I could only speak or really understand their languages!! That's just so cute - I have a bilingual family!

Isobelle - you are so right, broody hens do become so offended when we take the eggs! I have one hen, Ethel, who is so dramatic - she screams bloody murder and puffs up so big when I come near her when she's in the nest box laying an egg. So far she has never become broody. I can only imagine she would be so mean if she were broody! And even worse if she were a mother hen!


Chai Chai said...

The Guineas look great. I think it is too funny that the flock around the hen they think is their mother.

I guess our Guineas will be bilingual as well since they too are raised with chickens.

Nice to know about the saddles, hope we don't need them though.

Leigh said...

Very interesting post Lynn. All your chickens are real lookers.

Toni aka irishlas said...

That Leggy sure is a handsome fella and he knows it!

We opted not to have any roosters and part of me is sorry we did. I guess it's never too late to change our minds..

Terry said...

I agree with Leigh - your chickens are really pretty.

Poconoangel said...

Very nice pictures of your flock. What is that curved fencing around the base of the chicken house in one picture? Is that so the chickens won't go under the house? - Leggie is my favorite of the roosters I think!

John Gray said...

the lavender guineas are buxon little fellows..the lovely photos make me want more than my three birds.....I might just get some more

Razzberry Corner said...

Chai Chai - you have a bilingual flock, too!

Leigh - Thank you!

Toni - Roosters bring alot to a flock. We had one roo named Brownie who always sung for his hen. He would single out one hen who was sitting by herself, go stand by her, and proceed to sing a pretty melody for 30 min or more! He was real quiet so only the hen could hear. He was serenading her! We just gave Brownie away last night to some friends who didn't have any roos, now he's the leader of their flock.

Also, roosters protect the flock. Plus we get baby chicks when we want!!!

Terry - Thanks!

Barb - That fence is to keep critters from coming in to the chicken pen! Like coons, fox, mink, etc.

John Gray - the lavenders are just getting their white spots. I think they'll be real pretty when they're big. At nighttime the keets now roost way up in the top of a HUGE pine tree. During the day they fly down and put themselves into the chicken pen. I don't know why they don't wander free, I guess they think they're supposed to be in with the chickens, or they prefer to be with their flock family. Do you have lavenders guineas? I'll have to go check out your blog for pics of them!


Ratty said...

This is nice reading how these chickens behave. I never thought about chickens needing something like a saddle as protection. I imagined mice riding on their backs when I first saw the picture.

Kritter Keeper said...

love your blog! thank you for joining mine! your chicken post was so interesting. learned alot!

CeeCee said...

Bella is so cute, surrounded by her "chicks". Chickens are so maternal, they just don't care.

Raspberry is a beautiful little girl. Such a soft, gentle face.

CeeCee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Razzberry Corner said...

CeeCee - Yes, chickens are so maternal, they love to be mamas!!! At least some of them, we have others that never went broody.