Basque Hens at 22 Weeks

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!

9 thoughts on “Basque Hens at 22 Weeks

  1. Beautiful girls. I have been heart broken. The three Marans and one EE I purchased at the Expo in March have all died. First one at about 2 mo, 3 months, 5 mo and last one at 6 months. The one at 5 months had wing drop and a croupy cough. I gave the last two antibiotics to no avail. I think they had Mareks. Just wondering if you vacinnate your chicks. Perhaps since you raised them all from chicks it is not as much of a problem.

    • I am so sorry to hear that, Barbara. I don’t vaccinate, but yes, it is safer to raise them from chicks. Anytime you bring in started birds, there is a chance of bringing something into your flock. Usually, everything they bring in with them should show up within a month, so you can try to quarantine them for that amount of time. Marek’s usually causes paralysis. Did you see that in your birds? Do you have any other hens right now?

      • All of my older hens are fine. And yes, I got 5 more birds. They appear to be fine. My beautiful copper Marans had wing drop and then had some paralysis. Several of the others just got weak. One died quickly and the other took somewhat longer. We did have them isolated. Also gave antibiotics to the new ones. The rooster EE was the last to go. He stopped crowing, but appeared better. We had gave him antibiotic injections on several occasion. One day he was not his normal self and the next day he was dead. None of the four appeared quite right from the beginning. I tried to make contact with the guy I purchased them from, but his phone had been disconnected. I wanted to see if any others of his were sick. We was going to bring 100 more hatches the following month. Have not seen able to locate him.

      • My goodness. That sounds so stressful, and it does sound like Mareks. You clearly did everything you could and went above and beyond. I am so sorry that you had such an experience. It’s interesting that you can’t locate the fellow now. I am glad that your other birds are doing well and are unaffected. I wish you much better poultry luck in the coming months!

  2. So glad you posted this. I got a group of chicks this year & I call them my “New York” flock because I wanted at least one of every friendly heritage breed I could get. My basque chick grew up to be a handsome pure white roo which caught me off guard because all the images of basques I had seen had color so I thought maybe the lady gave me a leghorn by accident. Your white roo boy looks identical to mine. Have you had any agression issues towards people with your basque roos? I have a lot of kids including small ones & they love roaming with the chickens all day. I have 5 accidental roos, 4 of which are 5 months old- a cute as a button mille fleur bantam cochin that looks like he should be a table decoration (he is the dominant roo), a salmon favorelle, a tall lavendar orpington, the white basque & an almost 4 mos old Swedish Flower hen that we hatched with our broody silkie from fertile eggs I bought for her. I didn’t mean to have any roosters in the original plan but my boys all want them to stay so we try to handle them often & they have a half acre to wander. So far they have been fine, but they are still young so I want to hear from others who have the same breeds of roosters. I would love to hear about your experience with your basque boys. Thanks!

  3. Very pretty! I had a question about the rooster; I just was gifted a ‘white recessive Basque’ rooster and am already smitten! I have had chickens for a long time, and this is the first Basque / EO I’ve seen. He’s a beauty and I will be getting him some Basque girls in the Spring, meanwhile he’s going to be hanging out with a few of my Delaware girls (they’re experienced in making sure a rooster is behaving properly). I wondered what genetic benefits are to be had with a ‘double recessive white’ especially because all the breed standards I’ve read call for white in the tail and/or wings. I’m not looking to show but would like to know what I’ll get from him bred on different colors of Basque or other birds like Australorp. Thanks for sharing your pictures and helping me learn more about Basque chickens.

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