so, I went to my chicken feed dealer to get some tasty scratch and came back with 40 pounds of lovely scratch and .... 3 pullets. You know how it is, you get suckered into the beady eyes, the gentle cluck cluck, the iridescent blue sheen on a black tail feather, the promise of blue eggs and before you know it you have three hens stuffed into a Rubbermaid tote buckled into your front seat.
so now what? good thing I had the nursery coop made up for the brooding Betty's parenting adventure
set it up with a little play-pen run, tossed in a nice armful of hay to play in and skewered some snow fencing over the top and voila!
"Villa des Nouveaux Poulets"
The residents are very interested
she is busy laying an egg
in the corner of the coop
(yes, there are nice nest boxes full of soft fluffy shavings and hay but we do not like the nice nest boxes, we like the poopy corners of the coop thank you very much.)
So the "new girls" spent the afternoon, the night, and Saturday in their private Villa - checkout time was at about 11 pm when we tried to "sneak" 3 "sleeping" chickens into the big chicken coop. So, fine, everyone woke up but not enough to make a fuss - slipped the "new girls" into the un-used for laying eggs nesting boxes and buttoned everyone up tight, went to bed where I promptly had a series of nightmares about hens pecking each other to death
no one got pecked to death
opened the bottom run at 7 am where "the regulars" were waiting for me - scolding me for not bringing them vanilla lattes - the "new girls" were still up inside the coop sort of checking stuff out.
by about 10 am, everyone had exited and was milling around the
It is windy and cold, so I left the Villa in the run
the new girls are not at their best
in the wind
and are not super happy to have their photos taken
Well, We knew Col. Brunswick was a boy, but as it turns out we had FOUR boys and you can't have 4 roosters, forget the crowing, they will kill each other. It was pretty awful, 5 chickens, 4 roosters:
IMG_0560, originally uploaded by lasdcm.
They were gorgeous! I had a plan for butchering, but when the second rooster started to crow, my plan fell apart as my teachers had a house to settle on and I could not wait 2 weeks because roosters do not crow at sunrise, they start at about 2 am and just let one loose whenever they feel the urge - which can be pretty constant. We put it off to be sure all 4 were indeed roosters and one morning the week after Thanksgiving at about 5:30 in the morning, we butchered them. It was very hard and very awful and very empowering all at the same time. The hens seemed relieved.
Well, nearly all grown up - no eggs but the rooster is crowing! I'd love to keep him because he is gorgeous! If he were a keeper - his name would be Nilfisk, the hen that matches him would be Miele, BUT the crowing will be an issue, so we have been calling him Col. Brunswick as he will most likely end up as a stew - sad but that is the life of a male chicken. At least he has had a great life since June - pecking, running around, being a general PITA to the older hens - a factory-raised male chick is tossed in a bucket then on to the grinder to end up as protein meal or something.
Isn't he something?
So that leaves me with 4 young girl-chickens or pullets - since they are not laying yet - The small grey hen is "Mouse", the two huge grey fluffy hens with the copper feathers around their necks are "The Pennys" then the big fluffy black hen with the copper feathers who would have been Miele is probably going to end up Elvira (Mistress of the Dark) since she tends to exit the coop at night when I go hunt for eggs, and poke around the food!
That is Ethel in front on the left - she's moulting - not so pretty, Elvira in front on the right and the Pennys behind with Brunswick
Brunswick and one of the Pennys
Elvira, Brunswick, Mouse and a Penny with the two Bettys (yes, that is a Betty chicken butt)
chick number one hatched on Wednesday, a teeny grey ball of fluff with feathers on it's feet. Just a few days prior, the nests looked like this:
Though most of the time they actually looked like this:
THEN, last Wednesday 2 chicks! the grey hatched first, the little dark fellow is still damp!
At this point we belatedly moved them into the Nursery coop - a box on the ground level of the inner run so no chicks fall off the ramp and everyone has privacy:
Well, sent out the Christmas card with the saga of the Chicken Run Fence and did not update the blog with the Saga of the Chicken Run Fence! Here are photos of the completed fence - the big, tall, built and re-built and added to to make taller fence AND solar-powered Christmas lights along the top just for fun!
The coop complete with the new motion-detection flood lights! Next will be Wi-fi and a hot tub.....
(That's Ethel in the doorway, and Aggie in the foreground)