I picked several new breeds to raise this year. Since we use our hens for eggs only, I thought a smaller chicken would cost less in upkeep. I was also looking for a good forager. I decided to give the Lakenvelder breed a shot. Let me say that we dislike this breed with a passion! The roosters are noisy and never shut up. EVER! One afternoon, we counted 51 crows in a one hour period. If a few joggers had gone by, that number could easily have doubled. We thought getting rid of the noisy rooster would give us some peace. Nope. They picked a new loudmouth, and he was at 110% volume within a day.
The Lakenvelder’s are prone to hysteria at the drop of a hat it seems. Everything tends to set them off in frantic mosh-pit terror. One of the hens tore her head open in a freak out moment. How? I don’t know, but it was accomplished. She is presently doing fine in a reCooperation hut.
The Lakenvelder’s are also tiny. That is part of the reason why we put off butchering the boys because they look as big as pigeons. The original loud mouth, who is no more, only weighed in as a 2 pound broiler. I can only imagine the petite little eggs the hens are going to lay. I knew this breed was smaller when I was picking them out, but I don’t think I realized how that translated into real life. They are dwarfed by all the other chickens.
Despite their small size, the Lakenvelders are extremely aggressive with other breeds and each other. Our victims unit in the garden was built as a recovery coop for chicks that were bloodied by living with the Lakenvelders. The “victims” have been moved into a new coop in the main chicken pen and are happily free ranging in the tall weeds.
Beak Head is the free chick the hatchery threw in. He is the top rooster and doesn’t let anyone forget it.
One of the Araucana males we got seems to be just dumb and mean. This one isn’t going to stay around.
In contrast, one of the female Araucanas seems to be quite smart.
The one Cochin that I got (because the breed is described as “docile, friendly, and with good brooding characteristics”) is a brute. She is top hen and is somewhat aggressive.
The one Polish hen that survived (who has been named Punker) seems sweet. I think Punker is ridiculously cute and I want a flock of them secretly. Lee says that farm animals should be practical, not cute.
Some of the other chickens really don’t like Punker (or she is a rooster’s favorite) and she has been in and out of the reCooperation hut. Most recently, all her tail feathers got ripped out and chickens were standing around drinking her blood that dripped out. She is going to have to stay in confinement until her feathers heal back and most the roosters we aren’t keeping are culled.
I like the feather colors on this male Araucana, but he isn’t going to stay around. He had leg issues for quite a while and is mean to the hens.
We are probably going to keep this Araucana male we named Evil. He seems to be the most alert of the males with his warnings. He calmed down once he wooed over a lady friend from Beak Head.
So, that’s the state of the chicken saga. We’ve got a mini coop of Lakenvelder roosters still stuck by our back porch and crowing from 7am to 9pm. The Lakenvelder females are in a reCooperation hut until we can integrate them with the free-ranging “victims”. Punker is in her own crate until her tail feathers heal. And in the main pen, we’ve got free ranging Aruacanas which divide their time between fleeing from too many roosters and lounging about in pastoral bliss.