Saturday, April 23, 2011

More chickens

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.


mythago said...

What are you using for a coop? We're going back and forth on whether to build a regular chicken coop for my mother-in-law or talk her into a chicken ark.

Bryan's workshop blog said...

Two things, actually. First is a "chicken tractor", which is very handy. Second, the goat shed. We killed all of the goats this month (cf Ceredwn's post), and are planning on not having goats for a few months, so their shed is a nice alternative dwelling for the birds.

mythago said...

Ah, I saw the mention of the goat shed but wasn't sure if it was a temporary thing. I'm trying to dig up plans for a chicken tractor/ark big enough for 2-3 hens since we don't have a lot of space (but do have a lot of predators).

Iggy O said...

Be mindful of the dogs in the area. Some of our buddies lost most of their hens to a neigbhor's dog (doing what dogs like to do).

You may need a "chicken dog"! That's our plan when we relocate to the farm instead of just being part-timers.

Bryan's workshop blog said...

Good point, Igg. Our family dog wages a rigorous anti-predator campaign, day or night.