We increased our chicken population this week. Which sounds far more dramatic than it was: two more hens.
They were a gift from a neighbor who didn't want to raise them any longer.
This happened in the dark, late at night. Our friend used the cover of darkness to snatch the sleeping chickens, because it's easier to catch them when they can't easily run away. So in the chilly night we carried a peeping cardboard box over the cold mud to the old goat shed, and tipped the birds out. They pecked around, squawked lazily at our surprised, sleepy current chicken, then settled in for sleep.
The next day, the new chickens and the old spent hours getting away from each other, scratching over the earth, occasionally sending bursts of bird noise at each other. There's the pecking order in action. By nightfall all the chickens roosted together in the shed.
One day later, and the immigrants started laying eggs. We humans are happy.
Speaking of which, Sharon Astyk has a good post on feeding chickens sustainably.