I finally got around to a simple fix to make higher walls on the nest boxes – just cardboard. Two of the nest boxes never got any use – too exposed. They all squabble over the corner office box and it gets vociferous. I hear them whining- complaining, indignant, offended, self-pitying, insulted, according to their chickenalities. I’ve been holding in an egg here for ages, and she just barged in here! Get off of me, I was already in here! Take a number! With all I have to put up with around here, all I want is to be able to come in here and peacefully lay an egg, but noooo!Or the other corner. I’ve got a barred rock starting to go broody.
Turns out all they wanted was higher walls, smaller doors. They love the other boxes now, and immediately started laying in them. The volume is down. In fact, the coop tourists (Cheeks and Cleo) are leaving eggs in here now instead of in their “own” coops.
Moment of truth! The grand opening.I dropped the ramp and the birds on the threshold stared, taken aback. Oh, there’s the Colonel pushing his way through. Coming through, coming through. I’ll show you how it’s done.
And he did.
Then the birds started pouring right out.
The rapidity may have had something to do with the angle of descent. I wasn’t sure about the steepness of the ramp, if they could handle it, but it turns out, they handle it. They accelerate! – they’re running by the bottom third, but they can hop and fly the runout, so they all did just fine.What’s happening inside? Ah, there are a few that can’t figure out the corners. Where’d everyone go? Predictable.
So, everyone out with no drama, and…..! Ahhhhh, a big sigh of relief, as the sound of silence and peace settles over birdland. No one outcompeted or offended by the big birds. No rooster sneak attacks. It’s even better than I expected! If I could have done this any sooner, I would have. Everyone has all they can eat and plenty of time to do it, and they have three egg laying stalls all their own.
I felt like I was taking their freedom away, reluctant to put them back in a cage, even though I’ve long observed that A: Silkies only use a very small area, quite unlike the big hens B: They’re much safer confined, and C: Confinement for no more hunger or harassment is a good trade for them. They like to just hang out in a peaceful little pile.Later I added a sun shade.
But will they find their way back in at night? It’s not looking good.They all did! All of them, even the rooster I missed in the the night move and had to pop over the fence in the morning. Wow, what good chickens. The Colonel is such an amazing rooster. He waits until all the hens are in before he retires. Helping them if they need some demonstration. The other roosters are on their own though, even if they are youngsters.An egg! They love it. They love it:)
The only time to see the wild Oreos up close is evening time in the coop. They are handsome looking now, and not so much filling as cookie these days – they´re turning out raven black, with the blackest glossy legs.
Later on she scraped up all the hay in the coop, and made a lovely, perfectly round nest with high walls. When she flattens out and dozes, you can barely see comb over the sides of her nest.
No idea how many eggs she´s got. Easily 20. Perhaps a chicken egg got in there too. In fact, she could be due any day. I don´t know about guinea terms, but she´s got to be close.
And since there´s only three birds walking about yet, I suspect those three are the boys, and the other hen has found her own nest site somewhere in the woods. May she walk out healthy one day with a trail of chicks.
While I´m delighted that she´s pleased enough with the coop I made them to brood in it, there are some things that I did not consider. Such as, what happens when they hatch?
She hasn´t lifted off that nest for a moment, so I´m thinking as soon as they hatch she´ll be ready for a snack. And then day old guinea chicks will start pouring out of the coop, six feet off the ground? If they do bounce, then, how about when mom goes back to bed? If I lift in the chicks, she´ll come blazing out, the chicks will follow her out…this is a circular vision.
I decided to put a screen door on the coop so I can keep them all in there a couple of days, or something.
Applying the screen door was fine. When I set a dish of food and water inside the door, however, whoooweee!
She is terrifying! She opens her mouth like a cobra, spreads her wings wide and full, so she looks like a flat feather wall, and stares. Then one piercing squawk, and wham! cobra strike. She gave me a good chomp. Same when I refilled the water, after she tugged the dishes in close to the circle around her nest. Then I had to reach in even closer to her. I didn´t risk the food dish.
And then four hens decided to hang out in the woodshed, even though it wasn´t raining.
There can no longer be more procrastinating; the guinea house has to be moved out of the greenhouse, so I have to finish it. It needs a roof.
The guineas have been faithfully roosting on top of it since I built it, and I gave up completely on plan A of training the birds to go in at night. For them, there is no in, only the highest possible perching point.
Well, that´s over now. I put a roof on it. I made an extra door perch, so they hopefully they will learn to creep into the house from the perch.
I had some help from carpenter chicken:
I´m totally helping. Can I poop on this for you?
Can´t put things down for a second.
Then, dusk fell, and the guineas came home to find that their house had been reno´d while they were gone. Extreme Makeover: Guinea Coop.
They went straight to the top; sat on the roof.
I hope they decide a roof is a pretty great idea once they are outside, and it rains.
I had a persistent little guest in the layer coop the other day. I was cleaning it out – bagging up the thick accumulated layer of hay and crap for relocation to the garden (my chicken mulch cycle), and along came Granny.
I lifted her out a couple of times, because she was definitely in the way, but she came right back in. She was determined to do something, but it wasn’t clear what. She just sort of dottered around, and I had to relocate her to work around her. I think she might be losing her vision.
Ahhhh. I stay here now.
Then, for more bizarre behavior, along came a Silkie rooster, who got all worked up scratching and wiggling down in the clean hay in a corner, gurgling and clucking for all the world like a hen that’s very pleased with finding an awesome place to lay an egg. He was just giddy with his burrowing. WTH? There’s hay all over to wriggle in. He was really excited about this corner, though.
Ever since I constructed elaborate toad mansions under my parents’ back deck for the itinerant toads of Ontario as a child, there is little that pleases me more than an animal inspecting something I made for them, deciding This is alright, and using it! Sometimes there would be a toad using the pool, or the planter pot “cave”. Yessss.
One night! And the guineas have decided they live on their coop! I’m so pleased. All of them, lined up on the rim. It’s probably only because it’s about 2 inches higher than the header of the door (by design), but I’ll take it. On vs in – close enough. We’ll work up to “in”.
All of them went up there on their own. They started out on the roof, but after dark, there they were.