Friday, October 31, 2014

Late Summer – Early Fall

The new girls are still jumping up on the back porch and fence and then into the driveway way too often. That means listening for their chatter from the kitchen window and doing lots of visual sightings to keep the girls from going astray. I need chickens I can trust and Naomi is quite displeased at this behavior and doesn’t hesitate to grab the squirt bottle once the borders are breached! How come I didn’t have this problem with the big girls before the fence went in a year ago?

Overall, the 6 hens get along in the yard as it’s big enough to accommodate two moving groups. There’s still squabbling around the bird feeders and whenever corn is tossed out as a treat. Millie has continued to be my best buddy, coming over whenever she sees me to chat or peck at my shoes. She always lets me pet her while the other two are more skittish when approached. It’s been a long time since the big girls have allowed petting!

I’m about ready to begin the coop expansion and by Labor Day it’s become quite clear that the little girls have outgrown the blue coop. They are good sports about going to bed there but I’ve got to get them into new quarters before we leave for California and our chicken sitters have to deal with this. Using some scrap wood I fashion an extension to the existing coop but leave the wall in place between both sections – I’m not that crazy! With a bit of help from Millie who has to approve every step of the work I am able to fashion a new home, though a little small, with its own entrance and ramp from the roof of the blue coop. I don’t really plan well as I have a hard time visualizing how things go together. I’m much better following an actual design plan, which of course doesn’t exist here.

Millie investigates

Inspecting the Work

Taking the First Step

The first few nights with the new coop I have to manually transfer Millie and Nellie out of the cramped blue coop into their new digs while Lottie has it figured out. That wore thin after a while so I let the girls figure it out themselves. (Am I bit of a helicopter parent??)

After another week Lottie and Nellie quit their new digs and start going up the ramp to the main coop where Flora, Gertrude and Hazel sleep and sometimes they  get chased out and sometimes not but they persevere each night and start sleeping in the nesting box. But Millie is bullied out every night no matter what…up the ramp, down the ramp, up the ramp again, pecked down the ramp again. It is heartbreaking to watch. Eventually she gives up and goes back to the new coop by herself. This goes on for a couple weeks and I worry about her making this last transition into the flock.

On September 11 Millie laid her first egg – a small brown one but so so welcome. Hazel is the only layer now and she’s very sporadic so Millie’s egg is quite exciting. I knew it was coming anytime as she had developed the protective posture of crouching when approached suddenly plus she’s grown so much more than the others. I’m hoping she’ll be an example for the others! Within the first couple weeks Millie’s eggs grew in size and she had 2 ones with double yolks. Pretty neat and it came with feathers for a nice effect!

1 comment:

Ali K. said...

I check your blog out from time to time - thinking about raising chickens in the Montserrat area of Beverly when my girls get a little older. I'm curious how your chickens did through this crazy winter? The last post I found was from Fall 2014. :)