Thursday, January 15, 2015

Our Girls


Last fall, I decided we needed to buy a few more hens. Rose, Chick, Penguain, Turtley and Dot were not keeping up with our egg needs. We stopped into the feed store, but there was a limited number and breed of chicks. I really like having a variety. The differing personalities and colors are fun for the kiddos to explore. Plus multi-colored eggs are great. We left empty-handed. I decided to try again one evening in November on the way home from Eamon's Code Club. The kiddos had no idea we would be coming home with more chicks, and neither did I.


The selection was still a bit limited, but we were able to get five new chicks. Aine picked an Ameraucana and a Rhode Island Red (Brownie and Arizona). Benton wanted a Leghorn(Destiny). Eamon selected another Ameraucana and Leghorn (Brazil and Beauty). Once we arrived home, the kiddos and I set them up in their new home. They spent their first few weeks in a warmer in the garage. A cozy heat lamp kept them warm as they grew quickly. When they outgrew their temporary home, we worked on integrating them into the main flock. First Dave fenced off a portion of the run for the chicks. They could forage and stretch their legs in close proximity to the mature hens, but they were still protected. Eventually I moved the heat lamp into the henhouse and added the young pullets at night. The older hens were not too happy in the morning. We worked on keeping them close but separate for a few days. Now they are sharing the coop and run somewhat amicably. There are a few incidents of bullying, but the young pullets seem to be fairing well. The laying hens are adjusting too. Since the arrival of the pullets, the established hens have taken to laying in the yard rather than the nesting boxes. 
With the shorter daylight hours of late fall and winter, our hens had decreased their egg production. We are averaging three eggs a day right now. Now I no longer only look in the nesting boxes for eggs. I found an egg amid the broccoli and Chinese cabbage as well as a full nest under the basil. The most shocking was discovering an egg behind the washer and dryer, which sit on our back porch! The layers are definitely keeping us on our toes. Dave and I will be building a new coop for the ten hens this weekend. They need a bit more roosting space. We will also be spending some time securing their enclosure. Right now they are exploring the yard a bit too often. My garden is suffering!


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