My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?


Autumn is here and so is the wind and rain. A new experience for my chicks.

My three older chickens have been through a winter (Hannah has been through several) so they know what the wind and rain are all about. We live at the top of a hill and we are classified by the council as being in the highest wind zone (we know this because when we built our house we had to include big steel beams to keep the house standing in the wind). The chicks (now five months old) are not used to this new sensation of high winds and blasting rain.

The weather today could be described as squally. We have just had some very heavy rain and with the strong wind gusts, the rain was hitting the windows sideways and sounding like hail. But there was no hail, just big rain drops hitting at high speed. I looked out the window and wondered where the chickens were. And then I saw them. They had been down in the garden on the west side of the property (where the big winds come from) and they were running as though there life depended on it, towards the house and the the outdoor table where they all huddled together.

A minute later, the rain stopped and out the chickens came looking wet and bedraggled and miserable. They fluffed themselves up and then trotted back down to the garden. I wonder how long it will be before they have to come back up. I guess they don’t realise that if they scratched in the garden on the east side of the house, they wouldn’t get so blown around.


This is Hannah trying to shelter from the wind a few days ago. You can see her feathers being blown around so she was obviously not doing a very good job at sheltering.


Hilda Hen crowed loudly

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing or hearing yesterday morning. Hilda Hen crowed. Not just once but four times!

I read online that sometimes the dominant hen will crow if there is no rooster in the flock.
We have two roosters.
Hilda is not the dominant hen. In fact she is at the bottom of the pecking order.

It was so funny to watch.


My roosters had a reprieve

A few weekends ago, New Zealand turned the clocks back and that was the end of our daylight savings. Prior to daylight savings, my roosters were crowing at 5:50am. Now the clocks have been turned back, my roosters are crowing at 4:50am. So my husband said “those roosters have to go”!

Last weekend I promised to advertise them on the New Zealand Poultry Central forum website.

But the roosters got a reprieve. One of the two babies due to be born into our family, came into the world. Suddenly the roosters didn’t seem so important (until 4:50am each morning).

But being busy helping to deliver a baby and supporting the new mum in her early days of motherhood is no longer able to be used as an excuse to keep my roosters. So they had a reprieve for one week. Now unfortunately their time has run out.

This is the advertisement I put onto Poultry Central. Wish me luck.

Free to a good home – 2 x pair of partridge wyandotte bantams
With the end of daylight savings, our beautiful but noisy roosters start crowing at 5am and because the coop is outside our bedroom, my husband tells me it is now time to “get rid” of our rooster boys.
I knew this day would come ever since my boys were hatched on November 30th. My plan has always been to try to sell a boy and a girl together so the roosters will have a chance at life. That will leave me one girl from by hatch.

So I thought I would see if anyone on the Poultry Forum would like a pair for free (or of course all 4) because I thought if they went to someone on the forum, they would obviously go to a good home where they would be loved.

If no one wants them on the forum, I will try to sell them on TM (but not for free of course as they may all end up being a free meal).

If that doesn’t work, the boys will go to my brother’s farm where they may or may not end up being sold for curry (thank goodness they are bantams) and I will then keep the 3 girls till they start laying and then sell 1 or 2,

So that is the plan. I am sad as these are my first ever hatch but this was part of the plan all along, so if anyone is interested, let me know.

There are lots of pictures of my boys and girls on my blog. The link is in my signature footer. The girls are in the picture header on my blog.

I really don’t want to hit the submit button on this post.……… :cry:


Chickens staying within the perimeter of the property


My chickens free range all day. My fence is not chicken proof.

But they don’t seem to wander outside of the property. They are being quite brave today. They have decided to wander under the fence to scratch and peck at the top of a ten foot drop down onto the road. I think if the road was the same level as the fence, I might be more worried that they might step onto it but I don’t think they will fly down the steep bank onto the road.  There is nothing down there for them.


Yes, good chickens. Come on back.


My chicks are now sleeping in the coop with the big chickens

My chicks have finally integrated during the day with the big girls. Helen still chases the little girls when she feels like being mean but the majority of the time, they peck and scratch and wander happily together. The little girls still keep away from the big girls at feed time but at least they are allowed to peck at the treats in the same vicinity without being harassed too much. So the only thing stopping my chicks and chickens from being a fully integrated brood, was that they sleep in separate coops. The plan was to leave them in separate coops until I sell the two boys and two of the girls in a month or so and then to integrate Hazel Hen-Chick in the big girls coop.

Last night I went outside as usual to shut the chicks and the chickens in their respective coops. Hedvig Hen-Chick was standing in the chick coop and didn’t seem to want to go inside the chick house. I shut the coop door anyway and then walked over to the big girls coop and shut their door.

I looked back over at the chick’s coop and there she was, still standing in the coop, not wanting to go into the house. So I walked over to her to see what was wrong. Hmmm, that’s strange, there was no sound coming from the chick’s house. The chicks are usually very noisy as they jostle for position before settling down for the night. So I lifted the roof of the chick’s house and I got such a shock! It was empty.  Hedvig was the only chick in the coop. No wonder she was unsettled. Where on earth can the rest of the chicks be. It is past their bedtime and starting to get dark, so something must be wrong.

I walked around in a bit of a panic to look for the rest of the chicks. As I walked past the big girl’s house, I heard a noise. The chicks sounded as though they were jostling for position in the big girl’s coop! I peeped in and there they were. All of the chicks were snuggled together (minus Hedvig) on the floor.

So I went over to the chick’s coop and opened the door. Hedvig came running out and went over to the big girls house but seemed unsure. I managed to manoeuvre her towards the door of the coop and gently shooed her in. Once I shut the door behind her she looked at me as if to say, now what! I stood and watched her as she tentatively walked towards the ramp and looked into the house. She must have seen her  brothers and sisters because she stepped onto the ramp and slowly made her way up and into the big girls’s house. The chicks welcomed her in and she snuggled down with the rest of the chicks for the night.

Tonight they all went into the big girl’s house to sleep. Hannah Hen is not terribly happy and she chases them out. They all come running out into the run and wait for Hannah to settle herself once again and off they go again, up the ramp and into the nice warm corner of the house, as far from Hannah as they can but at the same time being careful not to go too near Helen.

I have no idea why the chicks decided to sleep in the same coop as the big girls. I have no idea if this is normal behaviour or not. But I am very pleased.


Two broods become one

Since Mama Hen abandoned her chicks when they were 10 weeks, the big girls have been free ranging together in their own little cliquey bunch, leaving the chicks to free range on their own. The chicks would be relatively close to the big girls but  if they got too close, Hannah Hen and / or Helen Hen would chase the chicks away with a few well aimed pecks.

DSC_0022This is about as close as the chicks were allowed and I did wonder if the big girls would ever let them become part of their gang.


Then one day I noticed the chicks were allowed a little closer. Were they really being allowed to roam with the big girls? Notice that they are as far away from Helen as they can be. (She is on the left of the photo.)


Then a few nights ago, the teenagers were allowed to peck in the same spot after I had thrown down some treats.


I think the teenagers have finally been accepted. They are allowed to sit on the preening log to preen with the big girls! They have done it.

Now what will it take to get them to all sleep in the same coop.