So I answered the ad I found for Serama chicks and I drove out there today. I found a lovely little homestead being overrun by ducks. “Yes, we hatched 140 this year and were selling them OK and then all of a sudden no one wanted them anymore and we ended up with more than we need! Now people come by whenever their pet duck dies and they want another one but that is only one duck at a time!”
The whole back yard was set up with all sorts of wee chicken tractors and coops and in each were a Serama pair with chicks underfoot. My eyes drew towards a chick who appeared to have a nice mix of blueish and buffish feathers but I went to check out the other coops first on our tour. In the first little coop we found three chicks, only one of which the woman felt was a girl. She was however a very pretty little pullet with solid coloration. She had buff feathers with black on them – perhaps some sort of lacing or partridge gene? Hard to tell. I looked into the second coop which had three chicks, one rooster, two pullets. One of the pullets looked much like the hen I already have, a badly marked Colombian. The other pullet was black with white lacing on her head like a tiny Dark Brahma. She was cute but I didn’t want any more blacks. I felt my rooster was enough. The last chick was a rooster, a heavily mottled one. Had he not had all the white patches he would have been the spitting image of his mille fleur mama. As he stood there I couldn’t help but think he looked like a calico cat with a white body and black and tan patches spread throughout. Damn. I came here for pullets but he was one of the three colors of roosters I have been eying with intent.
The woman talked for a long time, gave us lots of good advice, and told us all about her own adventures. She advised against getting ducks in the future because she never had a problem with predators until she took on the ducks. She had started with three, two of which were eaten by a raccoon on their first week home. Then they decided to put up an electric fence to keep out the coons. The very next day a hawk flew off with the last duckling. “Sometimes we have to learn the hard way!” She exclaimed. This was to be the case with the first chick.
She said they hadn’t been handled and that they could fly at six weeks of age. She wasn’t kidding! She put the first little girl into the carrier I brought and when she went to put in that colorful roo the little miss shot out of the carrier flew across the yard past all the fences and landed in a tree. She had to bring out a net and take an expedition into the woods where first the chick fell and then ran swiftly on foot to various other patches of weeds and pucker bushes. She finally caught the little dear who still has much fire in her eyes. The third little chick was the first one I had eyed, three days younger than the rest she wasn’t as obviously a girl but that’s what the breeder was guessing so I went with her opinion.
I drove home with the three new chicks thinking about the coops and runs I had seen and all the tidbits of information the woman had given me. Her birds were from show lines and were much smaller than mine. The six week old chicks I brought home today are only slightly bigger than a male canary. They can fly with just as much efficiency. I think I might clip their wings until I can tame them down enough to handle them.
Now I have two ‘roos and three hens. This leaves an easy open slot should I find another hen I really like in the area. Otherwise this will be all I need to start my winter hobby. Her chickens stayed outside year long (in insulated coops) but the babies often tumbled out and before they could climb back in they would already be too frozen to live. All her hens were broody and took care of their own. My hen doesn’t and I plan on having the chicks indoors anyway. She said she had a hard time getting rid of roosters in this batch. I don’t believe I will have the same problem. The roosters are far friendlier than the hens and much prettier. I believe this can appeal to the indoor pet market. At least I will try.
Here’s a photo of the new babies. I will be taking some more soon when they are a little more settled. I have learned however to bring a cat carrier the next time I get chicks or chickens. The sideways door is harder for them to fly out of! (The second photo here is of them in the top-opening rodent carrier I brought with me. Not a good idea!)