Monday, November 26, 2018

Chicken Integration a Success

When you have a two-bedroom chicken coop condo, integration of new hens with old hens is sooo much simpler.  And that's a fact.

Rick changed out the door between the bedrooms, we added a feeder and waterer to the second side.  Oh yea, and he added a shelf for night-time snoozing.  Our girls have never used the roosting bars he installed long ago; they prefer a shelf.

We kept the new four separated for one week to the day.  Then yesterday we flung open the dividing door and observed.

Sweet Pea was the first to cross the line into enemy territory and let those newbies know exactly what she thought of them.  She puffed up those feathers are big as could be and postured an attack.  We waited for open warfare to begin, but...  There was a lot of talking and slowly the old six wandered into the other bedroom.  Finally I said we just have to let them duke it out.

I remember gnashing my teeth as I watched Natural (my horse pictured above on the right) rearing and fighting with a former buddy over a mare.  You just gotta let them duke it out. 

When I returned to tuck everyone in about three hours later, there was relative calm.

Before the door is opened

A  little peeking

Now, the real challenge will be when we let the newbies out into the donkey yard and attempt to round them back up.  It's a simple matter with the old six.  Shake the treat can and tell them it's treat time or banana time and they come scurrying.  I think I need to start teaching the newbies what the shake of the meal worm bag means and life may be simpler.

The new girls:  Emmy Lou 2, Peggy Sue 2, Etta James, Joannie B for Joan Baez). 


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Catching Up: Sugar, Pumpkins, and New Hens

I have been quite remiss in not reporting back on Sugar's progress.  When last we chatted I wasn't sure she was out of the woods with her (impaction?) episode.  It took a full week before we were certain she was back to normal.  Feisty temperament returned along with a hearty appetite.  Exactly two days later, Luigi was hopping on three legs.  Literally.  Are you kidding me?!  Thankfully I had a partial tube of banamine left from doctoring Sugar, so gave him a small dose and waited till the next morning.  Fine and dandy. 

Everyone feeling A-OK

In September I read that raw pumpkin seeds are a natural dewormer for chickens.  Of course by the time Halloween season arrived I had totally forgotten.  The lightbulb went off on Halloween day.  By the next day, not a pumpkin was for sale.  The roadside stands were shuttered and the local grocery stores had none.  BUT, they did have pie pumpkins.  Smaller, sweet, but the key word is seeded.  The chickens got half and the donkeys got half.  This is what remained from the chickens.

Four donkeys, on the other hand, turned away with disinterest.  So I tried the cows next door.  Same response.

By the second half-pumpkin offering, the chickens had lost their enthusiasm.  I now have a small pumpkin sitting forlornly in the garage.  

And now for the bigger news.

Four new hens have made their way to our teeny tiny farm.  A somewhat local "real" farm is being sold and they put out a call to re-home 100 clucks.  It appeared they had many interested parties so I said to Rick, I'm not going to take any as I want to get chicks in the spring.  Last Wednesday I received a call asking if I was still interested in any chickens.  Thirty-five had not found new homes.  Drat!  I want chicks, but not at the thought that these girls might become stew.  So I said, let me be at the end of the list, if you run into a problem.  Well, I now have four of those remaining girls.  We picked them up today and they are partitioned off from our six.  We'll give them a few days to acclimate and then integrate the crew.  Pictures to follow.

Oh yea.  Turns out my Nikon did something strange while we were in Utah, but my photos are intact.  If I didn't have to go make dinner right now, I'd sift through the lot and show you the cream of the crop.  That will have to wait.