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Update on the Chickens (with photo's)

Well everyone, I now have my six chickens that I absolutely just HAD to have :) I agree with what most sites said, which is once you start, you will always get more chickens than what you thought.  The only thing that is stopping me now is BCC saying I can only have six :(  Boo!!!  I have bought a 2 m extension to the coop which will be added to give a bit more room for my babies.

 

The cubby house has been made good use of this week when I bought my last two babies home.  The other four chickens (I'll introduce you to them later) have been getting along for 3 weeks now and so the new babies were definitely "strangers" that needed to be put in their place.  As such, they are being picked on.  What makes matters worse is that Henny (the little pure araucana white- will lay blue eggs) is younger and therefor smaller than everyone else.   She is only 8 weeks compared to everyones 12 - 25 weeks.  Her and Penny (Australorp x araucana - will lay green eggs and approx 12 weeks old) however are very smart.  For some reason, the other chickens don't go into the cubby house at all, so they escape quite regularly into it and get peace and quiet.  I have even placed a little food and water in there (mostly for Henny) so that they don't need to go out into the main coop until the others have accepted them a bit more. 

 Free ranging before they were cut off.

They all sleep in the main coop together and I think  they would get along a lot better if they could roam the yard together.  I discovered on the1st day however, that Henny and Penny were quite used to free ranging, were still small enough to fit through the front fence (and therefor escape the yard) and were EXTREMELY difficult to catch as they did not follow blithely along when I showed them sunflower seeds and called (like the others).  It took my 2 daughters and myself 1/2 an hour before we managed to herd them back into the coop.  Since then, I have not allowed them to free range with the others in the afternoon.  I will keep them confined to the chicken coop for 1 week as I am "coop training" them.  I feel so guilty though so I'm out digging for bugs every afternoon and handfeeding them to them.  I have also discovered that they quite enjoy grass seeds so I have been harvesting bunches of them and feeding them those as well.  Hopefully by next week, they will be able to roam free with the other 4.

 

Of my others, Rosie and Mimi were my original pure bred Araucanas that I bought from Pets with eggs (they are both about 15 weeks old) They are such characters and much braver than my first two chickens (Vicky and Minty who you have all met in my previous post).  While they won't let me pick them up, they are constantly taking food from my hand - any food will do - but bugs and sunflower seeds are their absolute favorite.  They will climb on my legs to get to the sunflower seeds and even let me touch them as long as I don't interrupt their feasting.  Rosie (Black)  is always the first one to approach me, with Mimi (splash) following closely behind.    I was worried about Mimi when I first got her as she was quite small (and picked on by Vicky and Minty just like Henny) but in the last 3 weeks has grown heaps! 

 Rosie and Mimi, my greedy girls

With Vicky (pure bred white sussex - about 18 weeks old) and Minty (Bitsa but will lay blue eggs - guessing she is about 25 weeks), they are still just as skitish as ever.  Minty hardly ever approaches me now.  She used to when I had them coop confined as I would hand feed them bugs and she would deign to take them from my hand.  Now she's worked out she's going to get released every afternoon so will turn her nose up at my offerings in favour of ferreting out her own while she is free ranging.  She doesn't care for sunflower seeds so ignores me completely when it's treat time for the others.  Lucky for me, she is very skitish and I just have to walk behind her and she runs for the safety of the coop so no drama's getting her back in.  She also goes to bed the earliest out of my chickens.  I don't know if its genetics, or because she is older than everyone else or because she's molting but I know its about 5 pm in the arvo when she takes herself off to bed. 

 

Vicky, on the other hand, will still approach for sunflower seeds .  She won't snatch them out of my hand like Rosie and Mimi but rather comes close and wait for the eating machines to flick them onto the ground and she'll pick them up from around my feet.  She likes bugs too but is much slower to approach.    What she will RUN for ( and I do mean RUN) are grasshoppers! Show that girl a grasshopper and she will jump all over you to get it.  Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) my grasshopper plague has ended and the last few around the yard I've collected to feed her already.  Cannot find a grasshopper at my place for love nor money so the last bribe that I could give her that would guarantee her love for me is now gone *sigh*  Oh the fickleness of chicken love. :)

 Vicky and minty in bed already.  Minty took herself off at 4.40 pm; Vicky followed at 4:55 pm and the others didn't go in until 5.20 pm. 

I have discovered one big fallacy about chickens and what they eat.  Worms - none of them like worms!! I have tried each of them with worms.  I fed them to them and they took them the first time, but every time since, they just look at me with disgust.  Who knew chickens could be so picky?

 

No eggs yet (I expect Vicky to lay soon and Minty should be laying but as she's molting, it will be another 2 months for her) but I will definitely post when we do.

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Comment by Andrew Cumberland on June 9, 2014 at 18:50

Christine is dead right - let the public beware! Once you own a chicken, you WILL be hooked. They need better advertising those girls.

Comment by Susan on May 24, 2014 at 21:50

Thanks for that idea Susanne, I never thought about that! My girls also free range so If I put them in a place they visit often, they will be able to go through it without the mess being in their coop.   My girls are all about bugs and grasshoppers though - worms are a no go. 

Comment by Susanne on May 24, 2014 at 8:40
My girls free range the yard during the day so the kitchen scraps grass clippings etc go out into the garden bed that is resting or under one of the fruit trees, that is I put the scraps / grass clippings etc where I want a bit of scratching done.
If they are left in the coop for the day I've a patch up the far end where the scraps go and I find as long as I put them out early they've scratched through them well by evening. If there are still some left I just rake some of the loose litter over.
In wet weather in the coop area I sprinkle a little lime around.
My girls are happy to follow me about for the tasty worm, grub treats that get dug up in the garden.
Comment by Susan on May 20, 2014 at 20:22

I know Elaine, they are very unique.  Would not be my choice for a pet if it were just love and company I was after but they are definitely worth it because of the eggs and entertainment. :)  Amdrew, my girls are quite okay with kitchen scraps.  I need to work out a way to feed them it though so I can keep it contained so the leftovers don't stink out the coop.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on May 20, 2014 at 0:00

My three girls LOVE worms, and bugs, and anything that moves.  On the other hand, the silly buggers won't touch kitchen scraps!  I honestly had no idea that chooks would turn out to be such a wonderful pet. 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 19, 2014 at 21:36

Fascinating how different they are one from another. It's even very pronounced with dogs of the same breed. Your hens are different breeds so the differences are probably greater.

It's wonderful how when you bring home a tiny animal (chick or pup) it seems to be a non-entity. With time the character comes out and even though they may look similar, they as individuals are very different.

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