When Henrietta became Henry: an update on our backyard chickens

We’ve had our chickens for 3 months and I’ve loved every minute of it. They are docile and entertaining, easy to care for (they require less poop cleaning than the cats), and Avery LOVES them. She feeds them treats from the garden through the fence.

Now that they’ve all matured (not enough to lay eggs yet though), poor Henrietta has revealed herself to be a Henry. This morning I heard the crowing from the kitchen as I was preparing breakfast. It pierced the thick, insulated walls of the chicken coop, and the brick of our house. He is as loud as he is big. Roosters are not permitted in my town, so he is destined for the roasting pan. The person who sold him to me is going to pick him up and take him to slaughter, and will hopefully have a replacement hen for me.

Here he is when he was 6 weeks old:

I shouldn’t have looked up a chick pic of him… Now I’m really not going to want to send him to slaughter. But it has to be done. And I can’t really afford to be feeding a huge breed like him all winter if he’s not going to give me any eggs. 

Anyway, despite that sad news, the flock is doing great. I’ve been keeping the nest boxes lined with fresh aromatic herbs like lemon balm and mint to make them welcoming and safe places for my girls to go when they are ready to lay. I’m ever hopeful that I might get a couple of eggs before the winter darkness puts them in hibernation mode. 

And here’s my favourite hen, Olive. With chickens, it’s ok to play favourites.

11 thoughts on “When Henrietta became Henry: an update on our backyard chickens”

  1. You have made me thing of my late grandfather. He had two roosters named after his two favorite soccer teams 😂 he was a funny man. Once I got a kitty and named him “Princess”. He turned out to be a princess. May I ask, do you intend to… you know… eventually turn your little chickens into dinner or are they just friends who will lay eggs and live happily with you? My in-laws raise chickens but they are not only for eggs lol then they give us some when they’re already frozen and I feel a bit guilty but it would be very rude to turn down free farm raised, well fed chickens lol

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    1. I’m only planning to use my chickens for eggs and entertainment (they make really cute pets!). However, I grew up on a farm and have eaten some of those pets… I have an easier time with it when it’s a young rooster who hasn’t been around for long. We used to eat laying hens when they got too old to lay many eggs anymore and that was sad 😯

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    1. Awesome! If you want to see our plans or have any questions let me know. My wife designed ours to hold a maximum of 4 hens, it’s meant for cold weather, and we used intense 1/2″x1/2″ welded wire fencing to keep predators out. If you can go to an extreme in small chicken coop design, we went to it.

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      1. That sounds really perfect! We have skunks and racoons around here – even had a coyote walk up our driveway once! So anti-predation fencing in a must. Our neighbors have about 12 chickens and haven’t had any problems (except rats sometimes getting the eggs).

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      2. Eww I’ve heard about rats being a problem for some people’s chicken coops around my area, but thank goodness have never seen one! A coyote is pretty impressive to see on your driveway!

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  2. I have the same situation. I bought 3 peeps last June , and now 3 month slater, one of them is becoming a rooster. I was wondering what to do with him , since Im not allowed to keep him. And I like your idea – take him back to the feed store where I purchased him from – hopefully they will replace with a hen.

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    1. If they don’t replace, you can maybe find an abattoir? The feed shop will likely only take him back if he was sold as a sexed chick – if they guaranteed he would he a hen. If they’re a fancier breed you can also sometimes find breeder’s on Kijiji or Facebook poultry groups willing to take a rooster. Good luck!

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    1. If you have allowances for backyard chickens in your city, our coop and run only takes up 12’x4′ and it’s plenty of room for 4 chickens to run around. If it doesn’t fit in your current place, maybe down the road you’ll have room! They’re so much fun to have!

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      1. We are definitely allowed to have backyard chickens but we have two big dogs owning our current yard space lol they would go crazy with chickens so we need a bit more space so they can be adequately separated! Hopefully one day 🙂

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