Monday, May 16, 2011

"Chicken Run" revisited ....

so today we went from 5 to 7 chickens ....

i thot, that after owning chickens for 3 years i knew a fair bit about chooks, their habits and how to care for them. boy ... did i get a lesson in chook care 101 today .... so many things i forgot or just didn't know.

the whole purpose of getting these two additional chooks (they were free on freecycle, btw) was to provide us with more eggs during the leaner winter laying months.  i got really excited when i got home and let them out of the box and there was a u-beaut egg in the box.  good girl!

but i'm getting ahead of myself.  i need to step back a bit.

keep in the back of your mind that when i picked these hens up the owner said the bigger white leghorn cross was the dominant chook and picked on the smaller isa brown cross regularly, ergo she looks a bit hen pecked.  but i think to myself, this is ok ... because once she has the others to mingle with it will fall away and the hierarchy will be worked out.

so i have been giving the old girls free reign .... they've got well over half the yard that they are foraging in ... all in an effort to get the chickens to get our back yard ready for our no dig veggie transformation for the spring.  all good stuff!  i decide though, that when we bring the new girls home that i'll lock them all in the back area for a few days .... just to assist in the inevitable hen pecking that will ensue as they adjust to each other.  i figure close quarters will get it over and done with sooner.

so ... the new girls come home ... i let them out of the box.  a bit euphoric as i get the nice warm egg out of the box ... thinking u-beaut!  so i start to walk out of the pen to leave them alone and what happens!  little miss hen pecked, the new isa brown cross starts taking on all the others!

squawk!  feathers flying!
squawk! beaks a pecking!

this little monster!  i couldn't believe it!  she had turned into a beast!  so much so that i decide to nickname this creature beastie-boo.  it suits her completely. she chases all the other chooks around the yard trying to put them in their place.  with mixed results mind you .... but she does give it a good effort.

and the leghorn cross isn't so bad .... takes on the old isa browns a bit ... but manages to keep clear.  certainly not the agressive chook that she was made out to be!

my poor old girls don't know what to make of it all!  i've set the fox amongst the chickens!  LOL!  so much so that when i go out an hour or so later to hang some laundry and wander over to see how they are doing ... the 5 old girls are hovering at the gate desperate to get away from these new birds.  i think they are being woosy myself .... but such is life as a chicken.

time out .... kids come home from school and i need to get my eldest to her piano lesson.  figure i'll be home in time to check that they have all gone in to roost and make sure that they haven't killed each other.

beastie-boo trying to
put the old girls in their place
ha .... ha ......

i get home ... and the sun has gone down a bit sooner than anticipated ... but that's ok .... just go check the girls are all in and then shut them in for the night.  take the torch with me .... one, two, three, four, five .... the two new ones are gone.  i sigh .... what has happened?  how could this happen?  i feel really bad and wonder if there is anything i can do.  i wonder if they have nested somewhere else for the night .... and start looking around.  nope ... .can't see them in any of the under growth.  and then i look up ....

not too far ....
just about at the 2 meter mark i see a white blob in the trees.

what tha!  my girls don't fly!  let alone roost in a tree!

i manage to grab her and toss her in the coop.  one chook down.  i look high and low for the other one and don't see a thing.  i sigh and give up ... she was a bit of a beast anyway ....  but then the guilt sets in.  so i get a stronger torch and head off looking around the rest of the yard.  nope .... not over there ... or there .... then i go around the side of the coop and look back into the yard and there she is .... perched precariously on a branch of our neighbors tree that is hanging into our yard.  one wrong move and she'll be gone.  i try to remember that chooks are very docile at night .... maybe, just maybe i can grab her.

quiet, stealth .... no! branches breaking under my feat ... crunch, crunch ... grab, squawk!  gotcha!  beasty boo gets chucked into the coop.  done!  all locked in for the night.

don't know if i'm going to be popular with the girls in the morning.  planning on leaving them in their little coop while i trim a few wings and trees ....

it will be interesting to see what tomorrow holds.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post. I can just picture you climbing the trees after those errant've made my day!!