My first group of Basque Hens are nearing 23 weeks old. (This means I want eggs – and soon! 🙂 ) I took some pictures of them last week.
They are all living in the big coop with the older layers these days. The recessive white cockerel (who is up for ‘adoption’ if anyone is looking to introduce recessive white into their flock!) is definitely the most assertive. He’s our current crower, and when they range, he leads around the flock of pullets. He also goes on an insane little testosterone spin around the run each morning when I let him out. With his wings down in half-dance mode, he chases down any female he can find. The female usually runs away screaming until she is cornered… I’m not a huge fan of young roosters, but he’ll calm down in a few months.
I’ve decided to keep Mr. Pink, the most Marraduna-ish cockerel from the original bunch. While he is really, really off from what a Marraduna should look like (see the gallery at Euskal Roots to see what I want), he is nicely shaped and has great yellow legs. I like his comb and his head. Although he was the smallest cockerel as a young chick, he has the most width now, and I am sure he will continue to grow. Playing second fiddle, I think he actually ended up with a pretty good gig: He leads around the older ladies while ranging and even dares to attempt a crow or two.
My white-legged Basque Hen pullet’s comb and wattles are large and red. I am hoping that this means she is getting ready to lay soon! These girls have taken over the big coop. Poor Rosie the Welsummer hen and Hennie the Speckled Sussex hen are used to being the top girls and are not taking to their recent subjugation very well. Instead of pecking, they are being pecked and chased away from the choicest morsels by bigger, younger hens. There is plenty of food, however, and plenty of room. I am sure the older girls will adjust.
I must say that I think my yellow-legged Basque Hen pullet is a beauty. She’s slightly smaller than her white-legged sister and not nearly as developed in the comb and wattles. I think her first egg is still a while off. In the meantime, she is still a beautiful bird to watch.
I am most certainly enjoying these curious and energetic birds. Their personality is bold and distinctive. I have another group of chicks coming up as well. There are five pullets in that group of which I will be keeping two. I will save their introductions for another day!