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.
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!
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. :)
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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