Tuesday, December 23, 2008

30. Chickens in the Snow!

Winter is here, no doubt about it! We finally got some snow, yahoo! So, we were all watching... would the girls go in the wet, cold stuff?

Poor Cheryl -she had no idea what she was getting in to! This is her on top of the stick shelter I put together. She flew here and didn't move so I had to pick her up and put her back in front of the coop. Some of Dottie's group raced to the dry spot under the deck and never ventured out! Dad and I had to take them one by one back to their roost at nightfall... Silly birds!

Tomorrow I will pick up some cracked corn. Apparently this can entice them out so they will get some fresh air!

Friday, December 12, 2008

29. 17-1=16.

I went out to let the chickens loose from their coop this afternoon.

I called to them, as I usually do, and heard the scampering sounds within as they queued up inside next to the hatch door. After opening it up, I like to stand back and watch them race out -their first breath of outdoor air for the day like the first they have ever had. Do the chickens remember being outside yesterday? Do they remember their past? I used to try and count the ten of them as they raced out, but since we have added more hens and subtracted a rooster, the dynamics have changed and they don't all rush out in a bunch. The three newest ones have been slowly adjusting to their new lives with us. The Partridge Cochin, Patty, is a loner and keeps to herself mostly, but the other two that I call Lucille and Carmen are best buddies. Pulled on a cold day out from the bundle of feathers made up of ten chicks, we took these two home and have only just recently opened up their dog crate mini-coop housed inside the main coop. They have gotten by just fine with the other hens because they have no idea they are at the bottom of the pecking order. Their presence has benefited Patty as well since that role was hers when these two were kept apart and she was the new one. Carmen, who my husband calls "Thing Two" assimilated quickly and explored the outside right from the start. Lucille, or "Thing One" is a shy girl and peeps loudly when Carmen is out of sight.

Today, as I stood in the chilly December air and watched the chickens make their way towards their favorite places, I was pleased to see Patty settling into place amongst the bunch. She was trying to keep up with the crowd on their way to the bird seed. I turned the corner and opened the lock on the latch of the dutch door. I saw Lucille over by the waterer. About to step inside, Carmen lay at the foot of the door. She was quite still. I am not certain, because I didn't witness the events, but I have suspicions that our one remaining rooster, the very docile and lovely Dottie who has tried to make the moves on Patty recently, might have tried to mate with Carmen. She didn't survive whatever happened to her after I left her snugly tucked in against Lucille in their mini-coop last evening. Poor Lucille. She had a very best friend and now does not know how to get along without. As I try to coax her to befriend me by holding out morsels of homemade bread, she makes quiet peeps.
I wonder if she will survive without her buddy.

Carmen aka. Thing 2.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

28. Dog, Dad, Chickens and Snow!

The Vizsla just wants to be part of the gang... Since he is a bird dog, we always have an eye on him -just in case!

This was the first morning of "snow", this past Sunday. Finally the white Cochins blend in a little!

27. Chickens in the Snow!

It was only a light dusting, by my snow standards, but the chickens have never seen -or felt- it before so watching them encounter the new stuff was fun.

Here is Snowball, Latifa, Goldy & Rosie (l to r).

Later, the bunch ventured all the way around the house to look for their daily kitchen scraps. Chickens out the window!

Monday, December 1, 2008

26. Settling Down.

So far so good! Since the removal of the alpha roo and the addition of several new chickens, the pecking order has been in flux, however Dottie has stepped up his rooster responsibilities and the hens have adjusted their cliques accordingly, and things are smoothing slowly out very nicely.

Here is a photo of the Dad helping the White Cochins onto the new roost after we moved things around a bit...
Cheryl, the last-to-be-named Black Star is on the right next to Patty, the Partridge Cochin, on the end. Patty, shunned by her former coop-mates across town, came to us nervously and was equally shunned. But now that the two new little Polish girls have been introduced and are the bottom of the heap, Patty is regarded much better.
Below is a photo of them:
The Golden Laced is on the left and the Buff on the right. Dad and boys have decided to name them, dare I say affectionately, Thing One and Thing Two... Sheesh. I call them Carmen and Lucille, but who listens to me...