Fowl News

Walter and Jesse, the peachicks, are 1 month old. They have doubled their size and grown large wing feathers. Their crowns start poking out of their heads. The sounds they make have changed; they are no longer peeping, but making a funny, drawn-out whistling sound. They are still very friendly and still crazy about boiled egg – they practically rip it from my hands as soon as they realise I’ve got it. I still can’t see if they are males or females. But they are doing well and that is the main thing!

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We have also gained another three Silkie chicks. Our track record with Silkies is not good. I have wanted them for ages – they are such unique, beautiful and gentle chickens, I think they would be perfect for the pet zoo. The problem was finding them – and then, keeping them alive. Last year, we got three young Silkies from a breeder. Two of them died soon after we got them. Of what, I never found out. Our lovely Silkie Roo is the only one that survived.

This spring, I tried again and got two little chicks from another breeder – someone from an Arab town not far from us. He kept his birds on the roof of his apartment building, in wire cages. I still don’t understand how they are not all dead from the heat. And the baby chicks had a heat lamp, too. Anyway, I was so pleased with these two little ones! I introduced them to Zita and her newly hatched guinea fowl keets. Zita adopted them, they ran with her and their guinea siblings and seemed fine! For three days. Then, I found them both dead in the cage. Again, I will never know the reason. It was so sad and disappointing… poor little things.

When we let the breeder know what had happened, he offered us a replacement. He still had some chicks from the same hatch, now about a month old. Decent guy, yes. And he does really love his birds. It’s just the way he keeps them made me shudder. Convulsively. But that often happens to me here – different standards… Anyway, he had another three chicks and we took them all. They are all white, fluffy and adorable. He advised us not to put them on the ground immediately, to keep them separate for a while in a raised cage. So that’s what we did, hoping that in a few weeks, their immune systems will be stronger. Fingers crossed!! Right now, they seem fine, eating and drinking and tentatively exploring! The one in the front of the last photo seemed a bit exhausted from stress after the trip, but he is fine now! That one is quite a bit bigger than the others, so for now, I have decided that he is a roo and the others are hens 😉

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While we were on the roof of the guy in the Arab town, we discovered that he had white coturnix quail. I had been looking for those for absolute ages as well! I was so pleased when he agreed to sell us some. I wanted a new little roo to put with my broody hen and her daughters, to bring some variation into their gene pool. We got our little white roo, and two hens as well. We brought them home to our Quail Paradise and how wonderful it was to watch them! They were in seventh heaven! They had probably never had a dust bath before in their lives, or seen anything green. They can’t stop burrowing and scratching in the sand. I have an almost uncontrollable urge to go back to the guy and buy up his entire stock of quail…

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I suppose they are actually pied, since they have a few brown patches. Never mind, whatever they are, they are lovely! I have to say they look reasonably healthy. Our first quail looked worse when we got them, with totally bald backs from fighting/overbreeding. The male has a bald patch on his neck, but I have found out that happens very quickly with quail. In the breeding season, the males change into these furious little feathery balls, and it is very hard to stop them fighting unless you put each of them in a separate cage. Which is exactly what I have done with the most aggressive ones. But now, things seems reasonably peaceful in the Quail Paradise.

And for the last bit of Fowl News – our early spring chicks! They have grown so much, they are nearly all grown up!! I love them all, they are so pretty and colourful and each one is different. I have heard some of the young roos crowing already. There are some gorgeous ones! And they are surprisingly peaceable. I haven’t seen any fighting at all. The cockerels are always hanging out together. I so wonder if it will stay that way. My experience is that if roosters grow up together, they get on surprisingly well. But I haven’t had so many together yet. We will have to wait and see. If I have to, I will separate them to make a “bachelor group”. I am told this works.

The pullets also stick together. Amir, the white rooster, seems to tag along with them a lot. He calls them over for food and treats. I wonder if this is fatherly behaviour or if he sees them as desirable hens already? None of them are laying eggs yet as far as I know. There is one tiny, totally black hen that I love, and a few that look just like Roni, our sweet Rhode Island Red hen.
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This is the cockerel group. I especially like the glossy black/red one and the barred one with brown patches!
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Amir and a small group of pullets – although I have recently realised the red/white one in the front is a cockerel! I think he is going to be great-looking! I also love the brown hens, they have beautifully pencilled feathers. I could look at them all day long!! 💚

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About tarnegolita

Dutch expatriate, mother of 3 boys, freelance translator and pet zoo keeper in a kibbutz in Israel.
This entry was posted in Animals, poultry and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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