Three Month Update on Rescued Chickens – Pets and Partners

Our rescued Cochin/Phoenix baby chickens are about three months old now and nearly fully feathered. From their coloration, and the tiny bumps appearing on the Three Amigos foreheads, I suspect we have two hens and three roosters – sigh. Not at all what I had hoped for! I fear I am going to have to look for homes for the roosters. To this end I have not named them. They are the biggest and definitely the most assertive and they take the lions share of the food too. That has to be the personality of a rooster!

Two Amigoes funny faces USE

Two of the Three Amigos. The one on the right I am calling Freckles.

Although momma Clover does not have feathers on her legs or around her feet, her two Cochin babies are both getting feathers on their legs. These look so funny to me as these feathers sticks out in every directions like wild hair in the morning.

Funny snowball on stump USE

Snowball up on the stump. She is such a funny little chicken!

None are thrilled about being held but all will finally take their favorite dried mealworms snacks from my hands. They have progressed to the point where they can all fly up and into the coop when I want them too. They are all roosting on the roost bar for resting and preening so they are well on their way now.

I am curious to see when Momma Clover “wean’s” them if at all.

Clover in corner best of her

Clover and her babies. What a super chicken momma!

The one remaining challenge is their eating preferences. Momma Clover only eats cracked corn, grass, free range worms (and/or mealworms) – just what she ate at her previous home…period…. I’m working hard to convert the babies to accepting new foods to. I am slowly adding more variety to their diets; variety like sprouts, herbs, fruit or at least giving them the option to eat it. I found out just this week the babies do love blueberries!

The newest thing I am trying to introduce right now is mung bean sprouts because sprouting is easy to do in my kitchen without the special grow lights, trays and so on. Some of the babies will willingly eat a bits of sprouts so I will keep trying that every morning.

Mung beans package USE

Organic Mung Beans are my newest sprouts – sprout mania!

I am now feeding the sprouts with the grains in the hanging feeder and the chickens go for the grains by preference every time. I’ve recently started feeding the sprouts first thing in the morning when they are the hungriest. When I return later in the day, however, they have usually cleaned up most of the sprouts so that seems the best way to get greens down them. Sprouts are so healthy!

JoJo feeding

Meal worm have helped me to train them to eat from my hand. This has been a big step for these rescued, almost wild chickens!

Yesterday I taught them to jump up onto the tree stumps. I tricked Clover by placing the dried meal worms onto the stump top and once she jumped up on the stump of course so did all the babies.  I thought having the stumps as playthings might help entertain them during the long winter as well as give me a place to feed them with less waste than feeding on the wet or muddy ground.

Stump with mealworms USE

A stump cut from a dying tree became a part of our chicken playground. This one has mealworms on top. 

While I have enjoyed these chickens as pets these past two months I really look at them as partners on our homestead.

Chickens as Partners Help our Homestead us in the Following Ways:

  • Make more fertilizer in our garden and in our compost bins to improve our garden’s vegetable production.
  • Control crop damaging insects in our vegetable garden and raspberry patch while  improving their diets as well as our gardens production.
  • Scratch to dig up garden weeds and resulting in less weeding tasks for us.
  • Turning organic waste into a resource while building soil fertility with their poop.

They are hard to resist and so darn entertaining too!

Small House Chicken Keeper and Homesteader, Donna

 

 

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