Scott reported that we only got one egg today. It was on the hen house floor in the doorway and had a hole pecked in it!
In case we hadn’t figured it out yet… I don’t think the older hens like their new roommates.
We kicked the little chicks out to the hen house on Sunday. At nearly 7 weeks old they are old enough to hang tough outside. Well maybe not that tough, they still need a heat lamp and they can’t stand up to the older hens just yet.
We divided the hen house in half with chicken wire, one half for the little girls and one half for the big girls. The heat lamp keeps the coop a toasty 60F for the little chicks. The little chicks are excited to be in the hen house. The big girls are not so excited to share their space…
The first night older hens just stood at the divider and squawked in protest. Torta even tried to peck at the chicks through the wire! We just let them squawk. I hope the neighbors didn’t hear the hens. We couldn’t hear them in our house so we are guessing the neighbors can’t hear them either.
Tonight the older hens flat out refused to even go in their house. I had to lure them in to the hen house with treats. Once inside more squawking protests. I suspect that in addition to the verbal abuse the older hens are stealing bedding from the chicks. The chick side of the wire wall is always sadly low on bedding while the older hens have so much bedding is it spilling out of the door.
Our good friend Ann is enamored with the chicks. There is no other explanation for her behavior. As soon as she walks in the door, she is over often, she makes a bee-line for the basement to visit the chicks.
Our neighbors love the chickens (and chicks) too. People pop by if they see that we are out in the yard with the girls and want to chat chickens. And once they hear we have chicks in the basement they want to see them too. I like that the chickens are a neighborhood novelty and people are interested in them. I like to think that the chickens will some how make our little block a little friendlier. Knock on wood…
It didn’t take long at all for me to find a good home for the chicks. I was very choosey about who the chicks went home with. The Barred Rock chicks and the bitchy-er Sussex went to a beautiful coop in St. Helens today. Their new coop is nicer than ours!
The two remaining Sussex chicks immediately relaxed and the constant din of peeps and squawks has ceased. Now I feel terrible that the chicks were feeling so stressed.
I listed 3 of the chicks on craigslist, the PDXbackyardchix list, and on the BackyardChickens forum. I am hoping at $5 each I will be able to re-home the chicks quickly. They really are cramped and I am afraid they may begin to injure each other. Fingers crossed for a speedy response.
The chicks are really loud and rambunctious. The Barred Rock chicks are clearly top of the pecking order and bully the Sussex chicks. I was hoping to hold on to all 5 chicks until they were 6 weeks old but it is becoming clear I will need a new home for the spares with in the next week or so.
Between keeping the chicks brooder somewhat clean, mucking out the chicken run once a week and the cat box my life has become super focused on animal waste management. Two adult chickens pooping adult size chicken poops is just about as much poop as I want to deal with. I don’t know if I really want to deal with 5 adult chickens pooping adult size poop. Perhaps we should only keep 2 of the Sussex chicks. A trio of chicks will be easier to re-home than just two. Something to think about.
The chicks a little over 3 weeks old now. They look a lot like dinosaurs. Not at all cute and more than a little creepy.
Two more chicks found their way in to our brooder today. The new Barred Rock chicks are our insurance policy for getting a flock of five hens. We are concerned that one or more of the three original chicks could ‘fail to thrive’ or turn out to be a rooster. So the new chicks are here just in case.
Once we move the chicks out to the hen house we will re-home any extra chicks. Portland is so chicken crazy that we shouldn’t have any trouble finding homes for them.
We picked up three Speckeled Sussex chicks from Pistils Nursery today. Good thing we finished up the brooder last night because we didn’t expect them to arrive until tomorrow.