Population Fluxes Within Backyard Flock

Posted by Mom on August 13, 2016

Grandpa and I went on a vacation this past spring. We were gone seven weeks. During these seven weeks we have a fine example of how unpredictable our spring weather can be. One of our hens died during a heat wave. These chickens are bred to withstand our colder winters but we didn’t know they were extra sensitive to the heat. We do have a cold mist of water spraying just outside the henhouse in the coop but that was not enough. My son said after she died they kept watch for signs of overheating. If their beaks were open and their wings were puffed out they would dunk them in a container of water. That did the trick. So now we have eight.

Here is where we see the unpredictability of our spring weather. A cold front came through just before the heat wave and Henry, a rooster, froze to death. I know I said these guys can take the cold but at night they all roost together in the henhouse to keep warm. Well one night Gordon, the alpha male, decided not to let Henry into the house before the automatic door closed. Henry froze to death. You ask, why two roosters? When we got the chickens they were too young to tell the sex. And it didn’t seem to be a problem until it was. So now we have seven.

We also have Rhode Island Reds. These are all hens as we purchased them when they were old enough to tell what sex they were. Now the white Chanteclers feel territorial and dislike the reds. When we first got them we had to go into the henhouse for several nights and physically put the reds onto the roost with the whites. Now they roost together but the whites still rule the roost.

Okay, so this spring the weather was a bit extreme. Usually when we go on our annual spring vacation it’s rainy with the sun getting warmer. Planting can begin end of April but mainly early May. We miss this part of country living as grandpa and I go to the Gulf of Mexico where we honeymooned forty three years ago. You can read how I feel in what I call ‘my happy place’ in our Poetry Corner.