Friday, 7 August 2015

Babies Day Out

Today, my old Buff Orpington hen took her brood of 6 foster turkey chicks for their first walk outside.

She looks as proud as any new mother, and is careful to keep her chicks nearby and call them in for small tidbits she scratches up in the grass.

At first the turkey chicks didn't really understand the hen's different noises for food, safety, and such. They have since worked out a turkey-hen Esperanto. Both hen and chicks seem to be flourishing. Everyone - animals included - does better with a mother's care and attention, and it doesn't matter if the mother is biological or not.

Tina, the turkey with one chick, wants in on the new brood of turkey chicks in the garden. The hen won't let her mother them, so she does the next best thing and protects them, in this case from a non-existent threat who has shown zero interest in the chicks: Brian the cockerel. Brian and Tina are arch enemies anyway, and Tina loosed all her rage and maternal hormones on Brian. I broke up two fights, and finally put Tina in the sin bin for a time out. Brian is beaten and bloody, but OK.

Brian is still able to patrol the garden and watch his ladies. Tina will stay in time out while I'm at work, as there will be no referee here to break up any fights. 

Enrique stays out of the situation altogether. He tells me he's a lover, not a fighter. 


Paula said...

With a name like Enrique, he has to be a lover not a fighter. Has to.

The Morrissey said...

Our neighbors have a dozen or so turkeys poults penned on their front lawn with no shelter (unless they're moving them somewhere at dusk, which seems like a lot of work). Every day I go past their with the dogs on a walk I expect them to have disappeared, we've learned from experience that a turkeys size does not deter predators around here at all.

Jennifer Montero said...

Morrissey - We haven't got top level predators like some countries but I've lost full grown turkeys to badgers/foxes. Your neighbours are either genius turkey farmers, or very lucky. My turkeys roam free in the day, so take some chances, but at night they go into a dog kennel behind bars and a metal door. I've conditioned them with peanuts and they will run themselves into their kennels for an evening peanut feast.

The Morrissey said...

We had Brian & Jessica (right next door to us) lose 4 big turkeys, almost ready for harvest as well as their entire laying hen flock in one weekend. They were away and had left the birds out with access to the coop. We didn't hear anything but it was a slaughter, it may have been a fisher cat, I don't know. We're thankful the dogs have full run of our property including the full perimeter of the coop. I will admit to encouraging both my husband and my son to . . . .mark the coop for a while afterwards just so there was one more scent to deter anything that wanted our hens! My son was thrilled, my husband not so much but he took one for the team. :-)

Anonymous said...

I thought that poor hen...such ugly chicks!
Thanks for the laugh.

Janice Bendixen said...

Our neighbor rooster (I call him Stewpot) has a friend who is either a) confused or b) drunk (I call him Cogburn) who crows anytime between 3pm and 8pm. I haven't met them yet but I trade caribou for eggs so we get to enjoy the fruits of their "labor". I haven't heard of any chicken fights as yet but now you've inspired me to ask. It's fall here in the subarctic and I'm anticipating "Termination Dust" on the surrounding mountains any day. *sigh* This summer was beautiful but all too brief.