Henny Penny, one of the cute red cochin banty chickens we intended to keep in our backyard in Portland, started crowing at 5:30 in the morning a couple of weeks ago. That can only mean one thing, so he’s been renamed Henry and moved out to the farm. About the same time, Gracie, another chicken we intended to keep in our backyard started sporting some telltale rooster feathers so he was renamed Grayson and moved to the farm along with Henry. The rooster count is now up to six, and a ratio of six roosters to 26 hens is a little too much rooster. The roosters have recently begun chasing the ladies around, grabbing a hold of whatever they can get with their beak and trying to mate, some more successfully than others. The banty roosters are not big enough to dominate the hens so when they do manage to grab a hen there is a huge commotion. The hen squawks frantically and manages to escape after a brief skirmish while the rooster is left holding a beakful of her feathers! The banty roosters are by far the worst offenders and seem obsessed with mating. Although this is the chicken way and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with it, I would prefer our ladies not be run ragged so we decided to separate the two banty roosters from the rest of the flock and move them into their very own bachelor pad.
We have a small chicken coop that we built for the original five 5R Farm ladies, Rhoda, Raquel, Rosie, Ruby and Ramona. We decided to put the small coop near the back deck and build a chicken wire enclosure for Henry and Lil’ Red Rooster so we could enjoy seeing the boys while we’re hanging out on the deck. Today was the first day in their new bachelor quarters, and Henry was already jumping up on the roof of the coop and flying over to the back deck. He proceeded to take a tour of the deck, the hot tub herb garden, and a portion of the backyard before I managed to catch him and get him back in the run. Of course he instantly jumped back up on the coop roof and tried to escape again. I’m not quite sure what to do for Plan B. We’ve talked about experimenting with having free range poultry of some sort that wouldn’t have a fenced pasture to provide protection against predators like the rest of our flock, but we were thinking more along the lines of ducks or turkeys which wouldn’t be as easy of a meal for a hawk as a 6 inch tall rooster! I’m sure the situation will resolve itself in a couple of weeks. Either Henry and Lil’ Red Rooster will figure out what’s best and will stay within the confines of the bachelor pad and the back deck or we may have two less roosters at 5R Farm!