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My New Favorite Thing

December 19, 2015

What fun I’ve been having with the hens.  It’s really been a joy.  They are growing so fast, but all at basicly the same rate so they are still three distinct sizes.  I’m guessing this will change at some point and they will eventually be close to the same size.

Since last I wrote, the hens and I have settled in to somewhat of a routine. Every morning just after day break, I head out to the coop to open the Pop Door, the main shed door, and two of the windows.  At this time, I change the water if necessary- from dirty to clean or  from frozen to a more user friendly, liquid form.  I also put two pans of feed out in the run since I think they like this better than eating from the feeder I made.  Before I leave for the day, I check on them again, clean the nightly droppings from the “poop board” and double check all doors and fencing are secure.

Since my schedule is flexible and varies from day to day, I am often home at some point during the day and can spend time with them.  Its been fascinating getting to know their routines.  It seems chickens have two modes:  Eating and Resting.  Throughout the day, there are definite times of high activity in the form scratching and pecking, and times of rest.

Here are Penny and Max enjoying an afternoon rest.  (These could easily be Polly and Minnie instead since I can’t tell them apart from the other two seemingly identical hens.)

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At some point during each day, I get my bag of dried Meal Worms, a highly prized hen treat,  go into the Run, and sit on the bench.  I’m working on training the hens to come when called  and to let me pick them up at will.  Patience is a word that comes to mind.  Things are coming along though.  Just today, Max/Minnie hopped up on the bench with me to eat the meal worms I had set out to lure them up.  I have yet to get one of them to eat from my hand though I can tell a few are tempted.  As things are now, if they hear me call out, “chick, chick, chick” as I’m approaching the Run, they come running over to see what I have for them.  Sometimes its Meal Worms, sometimes its tasty weeds with the roots and dirt attached.  I still can’t get them interested in cabbage or kitchen scraps, both of which they are supposed to love.

My new favorite thing in life is to watch the flock put themselves to bed in the evening.  It is the greatest thing to watch these chickens walk up the ramp from the Run to the Coop and then, once inside the coop, walk up the ramp from the floor to the Roosts.  Here’s how it goes.  Wherever I am in Asheville, I do my best to stop what I’m doing and get home before dusk.   I make myself a cup of tea and head out to the Run and grab a seat on the bench.  I’m not sure what it is that makes the first hen (Max or Minnie) decide it’s time to head inside, but as soon as she does, the others follow in very short order.  I’m still trying to learn the pecking order and  I think it is still somewhat fluid, so it’s a bit hard for me to pin down.  Its especially difficult since I have two sets of hens that I can’t tell a part.  I do know that one of the black ones is head and one of the buff ones is last, but the rest remains muddled…at least to me.

It took me about a week to teach the 4 newer hens to use the Roosts and now it’s hilarious because all 6 hens want to roost on this piece of wood that isn’t even a roost.  Its a support bracket I built to support the upper-most roost.

You may remember from a previous post that after hours of research, I built these wonderful roosts using 5 ft long 2x4s with rounded edges at two different heights a certain distance from the wall etc. but the hens don’t want to sleep on them.  Noooo….instead, they try to squeeze onto a 12 inch by 1 inch piece of wood sitting about 4 inches away from the wall.  Please.  How on earth can 6 chickens fit on that?!  Well, the answer is, they can’t, but they give it a stellar effort and amazingly squeeze FOUR on there.   I could sell tickets to the show that is them jockeying for position on that tiny piece of wood crammed between two studs jammed up against the wall.  It must feel cozy and safe  to them compared the the open and exposed Roosts.   With the rate they are growing, I guess its just a matter of time til only three will fit on the bracket and then two…

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Here are Penny, Polly and either Max or Minnie.

Stay tuned for more news from the Coop.

 

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. rusty permalink
    December 19, 2015 9:55 am

    I can’t wait to meet them!

  2. Steve permalink
    December 19, 2015 3:32 pm

    I enjoy your blog. You are an accomplished writer!

    I hope all is going well for you.

    Merry Christmas,

    Steve

  3. December 19, 2015 5:49 pm

    The piece of wood that is not a roost, funny!
    .
    Sounds like you have them hooked on the good treats.

  4. December 19, 2015 5:49 pm

    The piece of wood that is not a roost, funny!
    .
    Sounds like you have them hooked on the good treats.

  5. marilyn permalink
    December 21, 2015 3:29 pm

    Eating and resting! sounds like a good life. watching the hens sounds like more fun than watching TV. Have fun Margie!

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