Our Gentle Giant

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by Redhead Rae, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. Redhead Rae

    Redhead Rae Chickens, chickens everywhere!

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    At the end of January, we ordered a batch of Buff Orpington chicks from a hatchery. We were offered a "free rare chick" as an extra. Our fluffy yellow babies came with one little black chick with fluffy feet. At first we were concerned that this chick was a Silkie. We get cold, wet winters were we are and our birds are put out in electric poultry paddocks. So this environment isn't the best for Silkies. This bird showed early signs of being a cockerel but it soon became obvious that he wasn't a Silkie but something else. He was too big to be a bantam and he had a clean head with a small comb and wattles. rambo.jpg
    We eventually came to the conclusion (with help from you guys here) that we had a little Black Cochin on our hands, which was really great. We have a flock of mutt chickens and we want to breed in some broodiness and cold hardiness into them. So this little guy would be perfect for that task.
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    As he got bigger, we found he was very docile and accommodating around the buffs with whom he was raised. He also started turning into a very handsome bird.
    Cochin left.jpg
    However, we wanted to move forward with integrating the Buffs and Molasses (now 17 weeks old) in with our laying flock. Our head honcho rooster, Alfredo (a Leghorn cross), was not happy about having other roosters around his hens. The buffs were easily able to get away from Alfredo because they are bigger and faster than he is. On the other hand, our poor Black Cochin, while bigger, is a much slower more ponderous bird, earning him the name Molasses, because he is slow, deliberate and black as molasses. This meant that he could not outrun Alfredo and he was getting beat up and was hiding in the coop all day. I pulled him out into an 8x10 mobile run and coop with a few of the buff pullets. He was much happier that way. However, the buff roosters were causing all sorts of problems in the laying flock and they were harassing all the remaining buff pullets so much they were flying out of the electric paddock all the time to get away from them. So we needed to move the buff roosters into the run where Molasses and his girls were living until we had the time to cull them. We tried introducing Molasses back into the laying flock with the buff pullets, but that ended badly and we were able to intervene before Alfredo did major harm to Molasses. Rather than building another containment method for Molasses and a few companions, we decided to try putting him in with our 7 week old Delaware and New Hampshire chicks. Our logic was, he isn't an aggressive bird by nature and the chicks are big enough and fast enough to get away from him if there is a problem. So we moved him into the run with the chicks. At first they all ran away except for one little New Hampshire cockerel. This little guy puffed up and flew at Molasses with both feet and beak. Molasses put him in his place, but didn't pursue him once he gave up the fight. For the next couple of hours, the chicks were wary of Molasses, but he left them alone as long as they respected his space. By the end of the afternoon, Molasses had an adoring following of chicks grooming him as he took a dust bath. He has been really great with the chicks. They now look to him to see what he will do in scary situations and he has taken to chuckling at them when he finds food. He is now 19 weeks old, and happier than I've ever seen him. He loves his little buddies.
    Gentle giant with chicks1.jpg gentle gian and chick.jpg gentle giant.jpg
     
    CR2009 and The Angry Hen like this.
  2. Lamaremybabies

    Lamaremybabies Crowing

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    A happy ending to a troubled situation! Love, love, love it!
     
  3. Redhead Rae

    Redhead Rae Chickens, chickens everywhere!

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    I know! While I don't want to use Alfredo for breeding anymore, I do want to keep him around as flock protection. He is wonderful with the hens. I may have to cull him later if I want to maintain a single flock, but for now he serves a big purpose.
     
  4. Lamaremybabies

    Lamaremybabies Crowing

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    Yes, maybe you could have a bachelor pad type of area so when you want eggs for hatching take him out and put Molasses or whom ever you want to breed with in?
     
    RoostersAreAwesome likes this.
  5. Redhead Rae

    Redhead Rae Chickens, chickens everywhere!

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    I have a little 3x3" mobile coop to use with an 8x10 PVC run for breeding/isolation. Permanent housing is what I'm concerned about long term. I'm going to need at least 3 other purebred roosters (Buff, Delaware, New Hampshire) besides Molasses if I want to keep certain breeds true. So Alfredo may have to go if he doesn't play nice with my breeding roosters, or I may have to content myself with two smaller flocks.
     
  6. Lamaremybabies

    Lamaremybabies Crowing

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    Ah, that's a tough one. Especially if he's typically a good boy, and treats the hens right.
     
  7. Redhead Rae

    Redhead Rae Chickens, chickens everywhere!

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    He really is a good boy, generally speaking. He finds treats for his ladies, protects and watches over them, investigates quickly if they make any distressed noises. But he also doesn't attack people. He has threatened to attack if a hen we are handling makes a lot of noise, but he is people shy and will back off if we move towards him. I wish he was people friendly, but we've had a full grown, people aggressive rooster before and I'll take a people shy one over a people aggressive one any day.
     
  8. Lamaremybabies

    Lamaremybabies Crowing

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    Man, he sounds like a keeper, you'll definitely have to go over the pros and cons of keeping him and Culling him, or maybe even re-homing.
     
  9. Redhead Rae

    Redhead Rae Chickens, chickens everywhere!

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    Rehoming may be impossible. We are in a rural area so roosters are a dime a dozen. He would probably be eaten if we gave him away, and I would rather eat him myself it it came to that.
     
  10. Lamaremybabies

    Lamaremybabies Crowing

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    Oh okay. That makes sense!
     

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