This spring has brought to mind the 1970’s book Watership Down. I’m sure many of you have read it or seen the movie. I don’t think we are having war and gore, but I have never seen so many bunnies around, two or three at a time in the front and more in the back. I am not hearing the coyotes as much this spring as in the past and the hay on our fields is still standing, tall enough that when a doe is walking through, all you can see are her ears. I’m sure once the hay is down and there are fewer places to hide, the hawks will start after them and they will go farther away from the mowed areas for protection.
After moving the two Olive eggers to the coop and the two new Olive egger “pullets” that are young randy roosters, I left the older hens and the two roosters penned up for many days. Ms. Houdini never figured out how to get out, but two of the New Hampshire reds did, so yesterday I worked more to block off beneath the front porch and turned them loose to free range. Even penned up, egg production was way down. Today I found only 1 egg in the Palace, but then found 3 in a hidey hole in a flower bed and 1 laid on the cushion of one of the chairs on the porch. In spite of my efforts to thwart Ms. Houdini, since she couldn’t get under the porch, she managed to get on it and damaged the cushion before laying her pink egg.
Here are the two roosters with one of the reds. They start crowing at 5:15 each morning and crow off and on all day. I really don’t like their crowing, and they won’t stay part of the flocks.
The pullets are beginning to sound like hens and several have nice red combs now, but they are a reluctant lot in the evening. I usually can’t get the last one in the coop until it is almost too dark to see them in the pen.
The reds are much darker than the mature reds and the Buff Orpingtons range from pale yellowish to dark butterscotch in color. The Marans vary also, some have a gold necklace, some are almost irridescent. One has a red comb, the others still have small dark combs. And they vary hugely in size. One Buff is quite small as are an Easter egger and the two reds, one Maran is huge, but not as large as the roosters. There is a bit of dominance play going on in that pen, but the two older hens stay out of it, they don’t dominate nor do they get picked on.