December 2, 2015

News from the Coop, Part Four

The brooder in the mudroom is empty now: the two buff brahma chicks moved out to the coop in mid-November. They stayed in the brooder longer than the other two sets of chicks, mostly because there were only two of them so they weren't crowded, and partly so that they'd be well-feathered when they moved, since the temperatures are much lower now.

One of the speckled Sussex.

When they began sleeping on top of the feeder and waterer, I figured it was past time that they move out and have a real roost to sleep on.

Of course that meant that the buff orpingtons had to mingle with the older girls in the coop so the brahmas could have the wire dog crate. For two weeks I'd been leaving the crate door open, hoping that the buffs would move out on their own, but the older girls were being bossy. If a buff came out, one of the sex-links would look at her cross-eyed and the buff would run back inside. Then the older chicks took it a step further and ate the buffs' feed before they'd eat from their own feeder.

I felt bad that I had to throw them out and into the midst of the older pullets, but it had to be done. I rearranged a few things in the coop so the buffs would have some places to hide if they needed to. They spent several days hanging out in front of the crate door, evidently wishing they could go back inside.

One of the buffs discovered that the coop floor had a soft spot right there in front of the crate door, and she spent a lot of time dust-bathing. It hadn't occurred to me that the chicks were old enough to want to dust-bathe, or that the wire floor of the dog crate had prevented it. Well, at least this chick was happy.

They are finally beginning to coexist with the older girls now, although you'll always find the bright gold chicks in a group amidst the black sex-links, black and white dominiques and the speckled Sussex girls. (Yes, now I think the Sussex chicks are both pullets too. What were the odds of getting two pullets out of a bin of straight-run chicks?)

Two dominiques and a black sex-link.

The buffs are so friendly. I had buff orpingtons for several years, but these are much friendlier than any chickens I've ever had before. I know that buffs are known to be calm and personable, but these five are really exceptional. They practically beg me to pick them up.

One morning as I leaned over to fill the feeders, one of the buffs jumped from the top of the dog crate onto my back. I stood up slowly and she crawled up to my shoulder and hung out for awhile. Another day one flew onto my back, and then hopped to the top of my head. I attempted a selfie - I don't have much experience (none) at taking selfies, so please excuse the poor quality, but I thought you might enjoy the photo.

Yesterday when I was taking the rest of these photos, one of them again flew onto my back... yes, now they're flying from the ground up onto my back, not just hopping. She groomed my hair for several minutes. Then a second one flew up, and a third. After awhile I told them to get off and they wouldn't. Come on, girls, I have to go feed the horses before it gets dark...

I hope they stay this friendly as adults, although I don't want more than one on my shoulder at a time.

Related posts:
News from the Coop, Part One
News from the Coop, Part Two
News from the Coop, Part Three

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  1. Buff orpingtons sounds delightful! I am hoping to get more chickens next year and will keep this breed in mind. :)

  2. They are very worth considering, April!

  3. Chickens can be very interesting. We have two young layers that tend to get the flock all stirred up, so the next time we butcher they'll go in the pot. Our Brahmas and Buff rooster have produced some of the most docile birds, we really like them.

    Be careful about those chickens on your back, Kathi. I was walking out of the chicken pen with 11 eggs in my bucket last week when some kamikaze bird decided to fly out of the coop and hit the bucket, which I promptly dropped and everyone gathered around trying to eat the broken eggs. That was one of those 'wouldn't happen in a million years' events. Out of the 11 three were left whole and edible. The ones that didn't break outright went to the dog.


  4. Yikes, Fern! Sorry about those eggs.

    Sometimes these chicks have tried to follow me out the coop door, so I always go out backwards so I can keep an eye on them (after sticking my head out first to make sure there isn't a surprise of any kind on the other side of the door). They're actually too friendly.

  5. Hi Kathi!
    I LOVE Buff Orps! They are the only type I'm planning to have. I have a friend in AR who started with them, and they were so friendly - even to visiters, like us. They were great with my daughters, who at the time were 12 & a very energetic 3, even letting the little one reach under one, to get an egg. (We didn't know she'd done it, until afterward, when my friend's daughter told us about it.) They were affectionate, and snuggled in next to all of the kids, when they'd sit on the porch, in the cool, fall weather. Great birds!

  6. Hi Carla! When I ordered my very first chicks, about 13 years ago, I wanted buffs but the hatchery was sold out, so I ended up with black Australorps. They were fun, but I later got buffs and liked them so much better.

    Your friend's buffs sound so sweet! It takes an exceptional bird to put up with small children like that.

  7. My australorps aren't quite as friendly as your buffs, but they're pretty close! They brush up against my legs much like the cat does when I go 'hang out' with them. And they're always so curious about whatever I'm wearing. Pretty sure my bigger roo (they're all about 26/27 weeks now, I think) was seriously considering dropping his wing and doing the courting dance for me, LOL.

    They started dust-bathing when they were about 3 or 4 days old, I think. I know they started young. It was pretty funny to watch.

  8. Rebekah, yours sound super-friendly too!

  9. I have never had Buffs before Ralph and I got these. They are both sweet and friendly and great foragers, a good combination. We too have been Buff Country clubs when they decide we are nice to perch on!

  10. Fiona, it's been fun to hear from people who also have super-friendly chickens. Thank you.

  11. I have one Buff Orpington and she's an absolute sweeheart.

  12. Maureen, thank you for commenting. So many people with exceptionally-friendly buff orpingtons! This is truly a wonderful breed, isn't it?

  13. I'd never heard of dust bathing before. Awesome view of the coop!

  14. Susan, chickens like to sit in the dust or soft dirt and "play in the dirt", scooping it over their backs with their wings. I'm glad you enjoyed a glimpse inside the coop. :-)

  15. I have two Easter Eggers who jump onto my back at feeding time now. At first, I was scared to death, but now I where a jacket with the hood up so they won't scratch my back and neck all up. Chickens are such funny birds! I just love getting to know them. I also have a flock of 9 young black Orpingtons. They are so friendly and sweet. I call them the babies, and they are always under my feet. They are going to trip me one of these days. Your Sussex birds are beautiful! Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop Kathi!

  16. Thank you, Jennifer.

  17. What a wonderful mixture of different chickens you have. So varied and beautiful. It sounds like they are doing quite well together! Thank you for sharing your outdoor post on this week's Maple Hill Hop! ;0D

  18. I don't think much about chickens besides on my plate--but they are cute!!

  19. They are cute, Betty. ;-)

  20. Very nice article admire that you are growing chicken in your farm. Fresh eggs is always blessing. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

  21. Thank you, Swathi.


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