Today though, I want to talk about our Buckeye rooster Red.
He is the best ever Father rooster! We read that Buckeye roosters help raise the chicks and he sure has been a delight to watch over the past season chick rearing. He was the only rooster that took an active part in parenting the chicks our hens hatched.
We had a hen hatch 10 chicks just before Christmas in some of our very coldest weather. She was moved from the barn to a nest box in the trophy room, when she hatched the chicks we had moved the nest box into the Utility building. She kept the tiny fluff balls under her for at least three full days before they ventured out from under the warmth of their Mom. The turkey already had her three poult's in the utility room and two of our special chickens , Henny Penny [Gimpy Leg] and Loopy Lou[Blind in one eye] were also enjoying the palatial living. Red somehow found them and moved in. He had been hiding during the day from the Buff X Australorps who are quite aggressive, we let him stay with the group. He immediately took to the poult's, clucking to them and showing then food. Frankly they did not think too much of him. The mother turkey seemed okay with his behavior though.
As the australorp hen started to take her chicks out more Red became even happier. He would roost on a barrel with one poult beside him and overlooking hen and her mob. Soon he was scratching for them and making come for food noises. He is very polite with the hen.
Due to the door being open as often as possible we have a mouse problem in the building. Now the Buckeye do hunt more than the other breeds, now it seems more of our poultry are very good mousers. We found a mouse nest, between the shavings bags we store in the building. Red was amazing, the mice were too big for the chicks to swallow, Red spent his time ripping the mice into small pieces for the chicks. He never took any for himself and fed all three hens as well.
He still hides from the more aggressive roosters but will stand his ground when there is any danger to the hen and her now well grown chicks. He also has a tendency to get feisty with me if the chicks are nearby, I do not mind this, he is doing his job.
We are both amazed and pleased at this rooster and his behavior. We plan to order more Buckeye a bit closer to spring. We feel this parenting trait is something we want to get more of. The Buckeye hens are suited to our farm management. We are still debating if we will get straight run Buckeye or just order roosters to introduce more Buckeye roosters to breed the hens.
So as I write this "Red" is standing in the doorway of the Utility building, his chicks are gathered around him, some trying to dust bathe. He is alert and watching. Occasionally pecking at something and then letting them eat whatever it is. He is an awesome Rooster!
God Bless you and Keep you