Whew. The last chicks are out... even though we don't have a pen around them yet.
I didn't have the heart to pull their trough out... Butch loves to roost on it now, I think he is not able to fly to the rafters any more. During the summer he also liked to roost on top of the cabinet or on top of the door, which I leave open at night (inside door). I suspect that we won't have Butch by winter, and I'll sure miss him. Blind in one eye, he has been my pet for several years.
I noticed tonight in the light that two of the little brown chicks (born here in the Brinsea) have distinctly silkie topnots on their heads, so are NOT pure mille fleur. I absolutely love the little calico cockerel directly in front of the camera. You see they have plenty of room in the pen that Kathy built, and don't need to be down on the ground for a while. I noticed also in watching them tonight that one of the porcelain cockerels is the ruler of the roost, he bossed everyone around, and was the first to feed in the bigger dish I put in the pen for them.
As you see, there was lots of interest in the new chicks.
It's going to be chilly in the high 50's tonight, so I am a bit apprehensive about leaving the chicks out, but I think they will be okay. When I checked them last, they were huddled up against each other in the straw.
As I did chores, I accidentally left the 4 x 4 pen door ajar for a moment, and one of the bigger pullets got out. She wanted back in, but I had had to shut the door, and a spend an hour off and on trying to either net her or catch her. Finally, Keith showed up from an errand, and agreed to come help. While we were catching her and checking the little birds, we heard a loud thump, a squawking (very loud, like a scream) and then all the birds of the big henhouse began screaming and squawking. I had already shut it up, so thought I had better run and see what was happening. I turned the light on, and there, by the pophole inside ramp, was a dead bird. I thought she had been decapitated, and once before, we shut a possum in with some birds. I yelled to Keith to come help me, but he didn't come... and after a minute, I went over and pushed the bird with my foot. She had literally fallen stone cold dead from the rafters.
I ran to get Keith to tell him, and he came in and picked her up, announcing she was still very warm. I told him she had to be, she had just dropped dead!
That's the fifth bird of the sixteen I got at the end of March to go. Four have dropped dead, and one was killed by a predator. We have had birds die in the henhouse before, but have never been there when one has simply keeled over dead. Bizarre!
And here is the sole living chick from the pasture pen. Yes, if you look in the left hand corner of the picture, you will see two mamas valiantly still setting eggs. However, this little chick looks purebred mille fleur. He/she struts along behind his/her mamas and is the cutest little button! You might have to click on the picture to make it bigger.