The chickens by far have been the most fun, the most challenging, and the most rewarding aspect of working close to the land. I get the chance to watch these animals do their thing without them really caring about me. There are a whole lot of things that I wish they did not do, however, like eat young grape leaves off my newly sprouting vines, or scratching up the freshly sprouted herbal lawn I've been working so hard to get going.
But other than that, it has been a blast watching them as they've evolved their pecking order or as they wallow in the dust under the old citrus tree. Here are a few of the culprits we have running around these days. I found one more little one dead the other day from unknown reasons. Happened pretty quick and never saw it coming. So we have a flock of 20 now, with about a dozen and a half eggs a day right now.
We have 2 roosters an 18 hens. That is a pretty good ration of rooster to hen. Plus, the two roosters grew up together, therefore establishing their social rank early on. They have not yet fought, but have been seen playing chase.
This guy in the picture above, that's Buster. Chasing around one of his hens, getting her into an area of dense cover where it is safer. He's the big boss. He is a big bird. Very smart, very wary, always has a close eye on you. He started crowing at an earlier age than the other rooster and I am sure that is one of the main reasons he is dominant, because he matured faster. He is a beautifully colored bird, a Brown Leghorn variety. Great bird.
This guy. He's the other rooster. His names Keaton. Still very big, very menacing, he's the mean one. Buster rules through admiration while Keaton would rule by fear. It's like a Shakespearean play with this sort of power nuance. He's a great bird, does a good job helping the flock stays safe, they all watch out for one another.