Tag Archives: 18-week

New hens-integration

Well, the new hens have been here two weeks.  They are not treated very well by the old hens, who seem hugely irritated with them, and outcompete them for food.  So, we scatter food all over, and give the young hens more food in the afternoon after the big ones have sailed off to forage outdoors.

I was hoping for the rooster to adopt them and take care of them a bit better, but after great initial attraction, he has decided his old girlfriends hold his interest better.

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At least they have each other.

They sit forlornly under the coop, like they don’t know what else to do.  I don’t know if they’ve never been outside before. They have cute, skinny profiles, with perky upright tails.  Sadly, their beaks are clipped, so they look damaged, injured.

These new chickens are like little waifs, with no life skills.  They are bad at scratching and foraging.  They are bad at leaving the greenhouse.

They very quickly mastered trailing around after me and whining. They are great at flying, perhaps because they aren’t big Zeppelins yet.

They are especially bad at sleeping.IMGP0240On the first night, as we expected to have to do, we collected them from all over the greenhouse, and put them in the coop.  One of them left a little muddy egg behind.

I divided the coop with some hardware cloth so they could have a safe section, but begin to learn that they live in the coop, and the old birds could suck it up and deal.

In the morning, I went and released them, and then prodded them out and down the ramp.

IMGP0266The next night, strewn around the greenhouse again.

The third night, I took the barrier out of the coop, and wow!  One of the new hens went to bed by herself!

IMGP0238She’s roosted up in the corner that had been fenced off, and the old hens are all grouped up on their side in disgust.

The other new hens got a bit more creative.  They were still piled up on the Tupperware lid, usually four of them there, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find MJ.  Finally I went looking on the Silkie side, and found this:

IMGP0242What the heck?  I wasn’t even sure what was going on here at first, but

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I’m cozy here.

she was jammed between the feed sack and the plastic.

Tired of getting scooped up from the ground, or else having the concept of roosting take hold a tiny bit, they started to take to the air.

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I about died laughing at this. Seriously? You’re comfortable there?

I don’t know how she managed it, but she was perched up on the divider fabric, sound asleep.  It must have swung wildly when she first landed on it.

A few more started to get into the coop at night, but there were two persistent Tupperware sleepers who insisted on roosting on the lid, for days.  It was a big night when there was only one holdout sleeping on the lid.

Meanwhile, other birds got closer to the coop.

Are we doing it right?

We're on the coop!
We’re on the coop!

No, in the coop, in… two or three on the coop, night after night.

IMGP0267How about now?

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Finally!  OMG, all in the coop! (the old hens are still disgusted).

New hens- arrival

We collected our pre-ordered 18-week old layers from the co-op today.  A half dozen of them, to refill our stock.  Three birds were lost last year to various predators, because I couldn’t get them in the greenhouse fast enough.

They’re cute.  Really not much more than teenagers.   Very slim, with tiny pink combs.   We brought them home in two tupperwares, and fenced off a corner of the GH for them.

HW was all for dumping them out of the bins, but I insisted they be allowed to relax and come out when they were ready.  They took their sweet time coming out on their own.

IMGP0207The first one, briefly called “Boldy”, peeking out.

 

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We might just stay in here all day

When the chicken man was shoving chickens into the boxes of all the people arriving for their layers, he paused with us and said “There’s a weird chicken here.  It’s all white.  Otherwise normal.  Do you want the weird chicken?”

Of course, I said.  I’ll take the weird chicken.  So we have one reverse chicken, white, with flecks of brown.

HW instantly dubbed her M.J. (It don’t matter if you’re black or white!IMGP0213Oh, there’s another one peeking out.

IMGP0215At about this point the old hens, on the other side of the fence, began to take an interest, and the rooster started putting on a big show, strutting and prancing…

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