New Breed, Different Problems

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by pgpoultry, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 16, 2009
    Wales
    I have kept Brahmas for years and also have naked Necks, egg laying hybrids, Leghorn etc. They all mill around our smallholding together without any real issues. The Naked Necks sit in trees from time to time, the Brahmas just sit.

    So.......10plus weeks ago I bought some La Flèche eggs....rare, weird, but attractive in an odd sort of way, so I thought I'd have a bit of variety. Five chicks hatched, treated like all the rest, outside in a fenced pen for the last couple of weeks so the others could get used to them. From time to time one managed to escape and was essentially ignored by the 50 strong mob. Everybody used to everybody. (None of my 8 or so roosters is aggressive to chicks).

    Two days ago. open the little pen. Chicks VERY bold, immediately going in for food with the adults. No problems at all. Chicks free range on the bank by the house all day on day 1, intermittently mingling with the older guys. At night enticed into the run pen, caught up and placed in their coop. GREAT.

    Day 2....chicks let out of the coop, older guys out of their coop.....again without any issues. Lunchtime....chicks staying together on the bank...looking fine. Afternoon came and I had an appointment in town....chicks nowhere to be found. I spent an unsuccessful half hour searching for them before I had to leave (large site). I came back to find them sitting in a bunch on the bank. Maybe I just didn't look properly...largely black birds, thick hedges. Ah well, no worries.

    Bedtime comes.....two caught easily, two with difficult and another (clearly showing male characteristics) sprinted across a field and down a gully faster than I have ever seen any chicken move in my life. Dark, rainy, gully full of 6 feet high nettles, we spent almost two hours searching. Eventually, with every exposed bit of skin burning, rain lashing down and almost pitch black, we gave up.

    Early his morning and a trip to the gully...no sign. Ten minutes later, Mr La Flèche....Lastat...sitting preening by the hedge. Lightening speed runner, didn't want to be caught, but hatch mates feeding back in the enclosed pen.Eventually went into brambles,from where, multiple scratches on us later, he was retrieved.

    Stupid me......I thought all chickens would behave in the relaxed and easy fashion of our Brahmas or the livelier but friendly fashion of the Naked Necks.

    This guy can run and fly like a thing possessed, and still only 7 weeks old. Maybe this is why they have that odd two pronged horn comb......be afraid, be very afraid....especially if you need to pen them up.

    So, what now? I do hope to free range them with the others, but I guess it is going to be a very slow process. Don't go for wing clipping, but am wondering what else I can do?
     

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