Shadow’s latest batch of baby bantam chickens have flown the coop. Shadow has given up her mama duties and the youngsters, now 11 weeks old, are on their own.
The Banty B&B is a bit overcrowded with this latest hatch. Who knew Shadow would be such a good chicken mama, hatching new chicks every year. We are trying to find homes for a couple of the extra bantam boys. In the meantime, Hannah and I gave the banty coop a makeover adding a downstairs with roost and everything.
The problem is, the bantys will not use the downstairs. They all crowd into the upstairs. As the babies have gotten bigger, it’s clear there just isn’t enough room. The past few nights when we put the banties away there have been a few hanging out on the run roof rather than inside. Hannah and I plucked them off and set them on the downstairs apartment roost.
Last night, the coop count was six – meaning that there were still four banty babies out and about, but I didn’t see them. When darkness fell, I went out again, hoping they would have surfaced so I could tuck them safely away. No luck. Then I heard a rustle in the tree next to the coop.
I looked up and spied Smokey and Spice perched high up on a branch.
Upon closer inspection I found four miniature chickens up in the tree – well out of my reach. Resigned, I left them.
In the middle of the night I woke to the sound of pouring rain worried about the banties. I thought about all the predators that could get them. Ugh. The sound of the rain eventually lulled me back to sleep dreaming chickens.
This morning, all four were running happily around the yard when I went to open up the coop. They safely made it through the night. With winter coming in a few months, this cannot go on. So my options?
- Find new homes for the excess boys (easier said than done!).
- Reduce the flock size by offering up a pairs – a hen and a rooster. The problem with this option is that I’m certain yet which of the babies are roosters.
- Build a bigger coop.
As you can see, I’m in a bit of a chicken quandary!