Today we became “chicken farmers”.
Oh, I had done the dollar costs of raising meat chickens…and organic eggs. How to raise, butcher and market chickens. We had planned our breeds, based on this research Wyandotte and Cream Legbars Then, my daughter announced she was moving to Ohio and needed to rehome some “hens”.
“What kind are they?” I asked.
“I dunno. Chickens, mom.” was the answer.
She said she’d start by bringing the rooster to us. Rooster? I thought we were getting hens.
Today she brought our “rooster”…which turned out to be her bringing us a hen and a baby A Serama chicken and her chick. So I immediately did the research.
These are cool birds! They are “miniature chickens” from Malaysia. About 1/2 the size of a regular chicken. Smaller than a banty breed. They are “social birds” who LIKE people. They actually LIKE sitting on their humans lap, will follow their human around the garden and are super gentle and easy for children to handle.
When they showed up, I fell in love. Such a tiny chick. Imagine a baby chick…now half the size. Absolutely adorable!
What a good mom Mama Serama is. She is super attentive and protective of little Bingo. And Bingo is constantly with Mama. Mama teaches little Bingo how to peck for food. Mama pecks….Bingo pecks. She teaches him to scratch, and occasionally, Bingo flies across the cage when he gets underfoot in a mid-scratch moment.
He rides on her back and if it gets a bit chilly, she raises up her wing and he runs underneath for warmth. As with all chicks, when they are chilly, they get loud. As Bingo’s chirps increase, Mama gathers him up and plops down on top of him.
Because they are from Malaysia, these are NOT cold hardy birds. While your larger breed birds can run outside in the snow, these little ones don’t survive if it’s below 40 degrees. But, they do great in heat. Which is fine, as it’s easier to add a heat lamp to a coop than an air conditioner.
The size of these birds also allow for smaller cages. So with our Seramas, we remade our elaborate rabbit hutches, after rehoming the rabbits into their new cages, and converted each into a side-by-side Serama duplex. These are the perfect sized enclosures, and eventually, we’ll add plexiglass windows on the front. This will allow for full time viewing of the birds, at a lower level for kids, and still allow them to stay warm and out of the drafts.
During the summer, a small chicken run will be perfect for them to get out more As far as being “pasture raised”, that’s not possible, due to the overhead predators in our woodsy environment. But allowing for these little ones to roam and explore, that’s really what will make our farm a different space.
Welcome Mama Serama and Bingo – you’re home now!