So many chickens! I have been raising chickens now for about 5 years. It's been challenging but very rewarding. It's a hobby that grows on and with you. I started out with 2 young roosters, one that I kept and the other...well, let's just say that I felt it was a rite of passage for me. Anyway, I had a beautiful standard blue cochin rooster named Big Mr. Roo. He was gentle and sweet and loved to be petted and have his wattles scratched. I got him first then a couple hens a few week later. Then I built from scrap wood a small coop. it was too small, but cosy enough for the first winter.
The next summer, I built an addition to the coop and made it much larger and roomier. it was more like an open air enclosed (safe) place for them to roost and scratch in bad weather. It was difficult to keep warm in the winter, however. I decided that the next summer I would finish the walls and put windows in it. Each summer the coop becomes more and more enclosed, warmer, dryer with lots of places to roost, nest and lay eggs. I even have used old drawers as drop-down storage bins that hang from the ceiling. The nesting boxes are made out of old computer carrols that I have partitioned off into different levels for laying eggs or my broodies (blessed with 2 wonderful brood hens.) The whole coop is made up entirely of used parts and wood I found or was given.
I now have 11 hens and a very young and inexperienced rooster. My big cochin died about a month ago which saddened me greatly. I loved that big guy, even his annoying crowing at 2 in the morning (full moons). I think he had a heart condition or a stroke because his comb and wattles turned a nasty purple color and he started walking like he was stiff on one side. I miss him and his hens missed him for the first few days. I never knew that a rooster did the things Roo did.
Along with being so very gentle with his hens, he would teach the new pullets how to make a nest by calling them into the coop and he would show them what to do. He would make a nest for them and then move off of it and wait until they would settle in on it. He would stand patiently by for some time until they figured out their business. It was incredible. He always ate last, and always gave the hens the best tidbit before he would eat. it protected them, guarded them, showed them good things to eat, told them when to wake up, and when to hit the coop in the evening. He would even allow them to crawl under him if they were afraid or cold. He was an amazing rooster. I don't know if anyone else has seen this sort of thing before, but I certainly have learned a thing or two about chickens because of him. They aren't as dumb and people think they are. They are actually very intelligent.
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