Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know wut yer gonna get

Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know wut yer gonna get

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Chickens

The chicks are spending their first night out in the chicken pen.  Till now they have been in a small pen on the patio - near the house.  Much of their time has been under a heat lamp.  Now they all have feathers and they are large enough to be farther away.  Boyd built a nice sturdy pen - similar to what I built for our last go-round with poultry.  It is next to Magnet's pen.  We transported them down to their new home in a large cardboard box.  Getting them into the box was very noisy and very stinky.  Feathers and poop dust everywhere - with all those feathers flapping.  They have led a very sheltered life so far.  They did not like the changes being made - getting captured, put in a box and then dumped in a new place.  It only took a few minutes for them to adjust to the larger, cleaner, more organized space.  They were thrilled to find bugs to eat!  At dusk I went down to check on them and they were all huddled against an outside corner.  Silly chickens.  They will get too cold there, so I transported them yet again - two by two - to the interior of the pen.  I put a dozen of them on roosts - all but four of them jumped or fell down to the floor.  when Boyd finally checked on them they were inside and doing fine.

Several improvements have been made with their housing this time.  The floor is covered in old cement tiles and sand.  All of the cracks, holes or other openings have been sealed so that other birds and rodents can be kept out.  A rat, racoon, possum, skunk - can cause as much damage as a coyote or a hawk.  As soon as we put them down there this afternoon the hawk circled low to get a look at his new potential dinner.  Hopefully the chicken wire will hold tight for a long time.  Also, the nesting boxes are new.  We had an old wooden shoe rack that was in Laura's room when she lived at home.  The cubby sizes could be adjusted - so now there are 12 nesting boxes bolted to the wall.  There is a ladder to the top level.  There are 4 different roosting poles in there too. 

One of the roosters is crowing now.  Has been for about a week.  It sounds like three high voices straining in a desperate yell.  We don't know which rooster it is yet.  But there is one that seems to be the dominant alpha male.  When we opened the transport box in their new home all the chickens were pasted against the back wall of the box and he was facing them with his backside and wings as large as he could make them.  He was trying to protect or hide his flock.  Good man.

Boyd's favorite chickens are the rhode island reds.  Two seem especially smart.  He has named them Meg and Jack...but Jack might be a Jackie.  Not sure yet.  Meg is the smallest chicken - and really fast to catch bugs.  First one to the food and she pays attention to Boyd.  He named them that because of the white stripes and spots on their red necks...but the white is changing as they grow.

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