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Fluffy Butts are the Best!

Here on the Homestead we've raised a number of chicken breeds and Standard Cochins are by far our favorites. While not all of them have names they certainly all have their own personalities and styles

Our younger birds are fascinating, because long after most birds have clearly defined sexual characteristics, the Cochin cockrels remain hidden in the crowd. Our current Big Boy, Cassidy, we were sure was a hen until George passed away. Then, within just a few days, Cassidy developed spurs, began to crow and stepped right in to his new role.

He continues to struggle with part of his duties, unfortunately. At some point he looks to have broken a toe and he now walks with a little hop (hence his name for those of you into old Westerns!). This doesn't stop him from protecting the ladies, but it does prevent... umm... other services.

Our hens are good layers, and wonderful moms. Unfortunately, they are such good moms they do have the tendency to all go broody at the same time! Each goes about it differently. Some will "purr" when I check the eggs, others are biters. And GG? She's just mean!

Chickens, of course, aren't always sitting in their own eggs, since everyone likes to share the nest box. This means that moving a broody hen from one pile of eggs to another is usually easy. Sometimes they even move themselves from one pile to the next, which can be a problem! Our black hens, however, will remained glued to their chosen box and will stay there, no matter what. They will faithfully hatch out chicks, ducklings or whatever else you choose to put under them. However, they are not happy if you try to get them to foster someone else's chick(s).

On the other hand, our blue hens will happily foster, hatch or a combination of the two! I have even moved two-week old chicks and ducklings into a broody blue's nest and she adopted them just fine.

They will also attempt to brood at least a couple of times a year, unless the weather is terrible. Initially I thought this was due to them being younger then the black hens, but one is older than GG, and she is definitely a once-a-year hen. In fact, once she's hatched her eggs, GG is happy to let the blues have them!

Snicket is our true treasure when it comes to motherhood. Interestingly, while her lemon coloring has shown up faintly in several of our chicks, she has never actually sat on her own eggs. Instead, she adopts any chick we give her. She doesn't have to be broody at the time either! Put her in a dog crate with some babies and within 24 hours, they are hers.

Isn't she lovely!?

We always try to keep a "back up" rooster in case something happens to the primary, but we tend to make sure it's a submissive male in order to prevent fights, and we choose them very young so that the primary rooster is likely to think it's one of his chicks.

And this fella' well.... we aren't sure who fathered him! He was born in the lower house after Cassidy was moved to the upper coop but also after George passed away! He remains our Mystery Man but isn't he gorgeous!? Here's hoping that the relationship between he and Cassidy remains good so that he can stick around next spring and pick up the slack that Cassidy can't.

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