Tag Archives: winter housing

Roos of the woods

Eviction is in progress.  We lifted the coops out of the greenhouse, and I’m “encouraging” the birds to all transition to living outside now. You’d think they’d be all gung-ho to spend all their hours out of doors and get their vitamin D.  But no, they are resistant to being encouraged.  They all find their way back into the hot house by the afternoon.The GH is at its worst these days. It’s (past) time for it to assume its primary function, sheltering growing food, so high time to move all the chicken related detritus out. 

Creative egg laying. There’s no coop anymore!

Outside, the wretched roosters have taken over Charlie coop.  They’ve adjusted pretty readily to outdoor living, but they decided not to stay in their adapted chickery coop.  Charlie coop, the former skycoop, was occupied by one lone (homegrown) rooster, the others having all graduated up.  And then, the wretched roosters decided to move in.  All at once.Out you go, guys. The world awaits.

 

Bunch’a house sitters

The chickens like to stand around all afternoon on top of their houses.  All of the houses are fair game.And a bale sitter.  I love this hen.  The little silver adventurer.  She’s the best.  She needs a name. Cream Puff.

They are just, just about to get evicted from the greenhouse.  And those old dusty poopy houses will get a good rinsing in the next rain.  And then the birds can’t sit around all afternoon indoors.  They’ll have to play outside.  Right now they wander around outside for a few hours, and then, like they’re slacking off work, they wander back into the GH and flop around.  Off duty. Time to scratch, ladies, it’s spring!

Sunny days are here again

Yesterday the rain washed away most of the snow, and today I put the fence back up on the chicken yards, and the chickens got to come outside again, whoohoo!Look at the little jailbirds, staring at the outside world.Then they all came pouring out. Mud puddle!The world is messy and so muddy, and quite gross.  But the sun is shining, and the chicken boredom is over as soon as the doors open. And very soon, there will be no fences either and they will be free-range again.The girls were out  most of February because it was so warm, but then March came in like a lion and held a snowpack (and knocked down my hen yard fence with the wind).

Perhaps, this is the final melt.  Garden time!

Also, the posturally challenged chicken was out of the coop, looking far better, and right in the trough with the others.  Like, not using her wings to walk around, like a bat.  Just still very low in the stern.

Happy Easter.  No jokes today, I’m not that creative.

Silkie status

The Silkies are dirty today.  Yesterday I went through the whole flock and vaselined everyone’s feet (setting off a rash of feather adjustment).  Then the Colonel climbed on everyone he could, greasing up their other feathers with his feet, and it was a hot, dust bathing afternoon, so now all the white Silkies are looking very grimy.Brown Bonnet is going broody.  She threw a giant fit at being removed from the covered wagon at nighttime last night, and after a kamikaze plunge through the fence, got her way.  She is also huge.  She’s twice the size of most of the other Silkies, almost as heavy as the Colonel, or a normal layer hen.  Every time I lift them in or out of the coop, there’s Brown Bonnet, and a whoa! moment.  Big blimp.  She’ll be able to cover a lot of eggs.

Inside, Apples the house chicken continues to be no trouble at all, happy to stay in her box or on her sheet-of-newspaper “yard”, even though nothing is actually keeping her from rampaging all over the house.  She hasn’t taken that into her head, luckily (she only jumps out a couple times a week, and HW announces “there’s an exploratory chicken down here!”).  She’s also growing, maybe twice the size as she first came in.  She quickly got over being cuddling or held, protesting at even being pet (which is hard to resist trying because she’s cute and soft, like they all are).  Hey!  Don’t touch me; I’m a wild animal!  I’m a chicken!  Have some respect!

It’s nice to have a little life form in the house, even though we are really very much surrounded with many many life forms, we don’t really need them in the house too.  But it’s still fun to have company.  Today she has an extra thick bed of hay in her box, so she’s riding rather high and has a good view.  Yesterday she was all about scratching.

I spoke too soon about her good behaviour.  Today was an out-of-the-box day, and I got a helper chicken suddenly flapping over the edge of her box..  She landed in the middle of floor then made her way over to me where I was slinging dirt, repotting to give all the tiny tomato shoots their own cells.  I also had some seed packets strewn about, and these interested her.   It’s just like having a cat in your business, except it’s a shy chicken.After her big outing to the world four feet away, she ate and ate and then napped for the rest of the afternoon.

HW was watching a movie about a little girl with a pet chicken.  She was always carrying her chicken around, hanging out (where did they get this stunt chicken?).  Then as she spent more and more of the movie wearing rubber boots with her pajamas, he deadpanned “She’s getting more like you all the time”.“She’s a free range chicken today”

Cold mornings, hot afternoons

In the morning their water is frozen, the hens stand around with no necks,or on one foot. It’s a calm time.  After the mating, chasing, scrapping, squabbling, and gobbling, that is.  When they are first released, it’s mayhem.  Later it’s calm.  Time to groom. What is she doing in there? And glean.And doze off.   Sometimes when you look at animals, they look back at you with equally avid curiosity.  Cheeks is good at that.The Colonel has been given access to hen land.  I didn’t think he’d stay in there because the flock he protects is larger than just the Silkies, but he’s very comfortable. The chicks are showing their combs, nearly teens now, and they can use the male role model.  I’m not joking.  Young roosters hero worship the big cocks, and I bet good roo behaviour is learned, just like they learn to wipe their beaks and scratch from their mothers.

The first night I let him in there, too, at night when I usually do the airlift, I opened the fence and he matter of factly escorted the whole troupe (but one) to the coop.  A few chicks who have known nothing but the airlift process, were walking around the ramp, worming underneath it, clearly mystified how they were supposed to make the transition from out to in.  Funny.

Guinea on the loose

Not too long after I let all the birds loose into their fenced enclosure, I’m outside and I hear a godawful clamor go up from the guineas.  Which isn’t by itself at all unusual.  But I knew right away it meant one or more was out.  OMG, we’re not TOGETHER!

Sure enough, there’s a lone guinea circling the fence, looking forlorn, and furtive, at the same time.I opened the fence, started chasing her/him around the GH to go back in.They never want my help though, and always go streaking off into the woods as soon as they get close to the opening welcoming them back in.

This one ended up pushing its way back in where the fence meets the GH, probably just like it got out.  It seemed to remember.

The most accomplished flyers, the guineas are always able to escape the fence and mesh tent intended to protect them.  I know they’ll at least return at night, and don’t worry about them.  But they do make an unholy racket when separated.

Housekeeping!

Knock knock.  Housekeeping!I came to clean the coop a little late in the afternoon.  There were a number of hens retiring early.  They reluctantly cleared out for me to pull out the thick mat of old hay and start a fresh layer.

Then, as usual, I got some assistance and supervision.  You put this here for me to stand in, right?

I’ll just have a look at your work here before you go.  The hens all grouped up on the roof of the chickeries.Meanwhile the guineas are inspecting the bath house.  They love a good dirt bath. And the new girls don’t mind a dip either.  Cheeks coming through.

New girls on the block!

Got some new additions to the Poultry Palace last night.  A few retiring Barred Rocks and one Ameracauna (I’m running a chicken rest home after all).  They went in the coop after dark in the evening and came toddling out this morning, curious and tentative.

The guineas were hilarious, peeking from behind hay bales and furtively scuttling behind to circle the new bird(s) and examine them from all angles.

The big surprise was Philippe Petit, immediately fixing on pretty Puffcheeks (the brown bearded lady on the right), and then clearly deciding that these new girls were his to look after.

Mine.

In the morning, the new girls were all most comfortable in the corner behind the hay bales.

Philippe has never felt so important, and is clearly coming down off his tightrope and roostering up to taking on some responsibility. She looks like she’s about to adjust his feathers for him (the equivalent of brushing some lint off his lapel). Here comes Stew, sniffing around.  Cue the battles.

Now that Jack is gone, the three young Chanticleer (full size) roosters are sorting themselves out, and HW reported Petit and Stew were Thunderdoming it in the afternoon.  Bloody combs all around.  A shock, because Philippe has never engaged another roo, and all of a sudden, he’s in the ring?  He’s taking this seriously.

Also, last night while I was inciting drama anyway by adding hens, I elevated two roosters from the frat house to the big coops, where I want them to integrate and take charge of some hens.  I put Toffee in with the new hens and Brahmas, and Petit in with the Colonel and layers, because that was how I thought they would work out.  They usually turn out to have other ideas.  HW found Toffee back in the boys dorm and Petit posted outside the new girls coop (of course).  He’s committed.  He saw them go in there.