Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Two Tribes: A Chicken Update

After a hellish winter, I decided to move my coops.  I’m thinking that putting them under the deck, closer to the house will accomplish several things.   It will give them more shade and protection from the snow and rain, enable me to check on them easily from the house, and reduce the distance that I have to travel every frickin freezing snow-covered morning. 

The second coop is being used to house more pullets.   My two chicken Babies arrived at the end of May.

This is Harley – a Silver Spangled Hamburg.  Her eggs will be white.

This is Strawberry – a Buff Orpington.  She’ll lay a tinted egg.

And, just in case you haven’t met them yet,  here are the Old Ladies.  This is Goldi Macaroni, an Americauna.  Her eggs are blueish.

And this is Leonarda the Queen (aka Leah), a Cuckoo Maran. Her eggs are brown with spots.

The Babies  were about 7 weeks old when I brought them home.   For the first week or so, they stayed in their coop.  I would open the door, but there were often all kinds of things going on in the backyard that made them scared to come out.  Mostly hoses, children, and children playing with hoses.   And don’t forget the poodle.

Meanwhile The Old Ladies were confused. 

“I’m almost sure this is where I used to live…what happened to my coooooop???”

To add to their confusion, the vegetable garden was suddenly fenced off.   All their lovely swiss chard was no longer accessible.

When The Babies finally started coming out, The Old Ladies chased them away from the feeding station.  Alternative stations have been created, and The Babies are now let out of their coop 5 minutes before the Old Ladies, to give them some early uninterrupted pecking time with the fresh food.

Will these two little tribes ever mingle?   Should I try to get them roosting together in the same coop?   Any tips from experienced chicken keepers extremely welcome!


tina said...

I hope they make friends. Good idea on moving the coops closer to the house.

Ashling said...

Poor Leah looks soooo dejected over the temporary loss of her chard! What a lovely chicken family. Good call on moving closer to the house for winter; you know that's been a worry of mine. IF we keep the chickens, we'll be housing them in the garage rather than the coop for winter. Here's hoping your tribes meld soon!

Hook Mountain Growers said...

As you know I'm new to this but asked experienced chicken-ologists at Bluefield about the coop positioning. They said to make sure the coop is able to get sun in the winter so maybe you can move the coop a little to capture a bit of sun for warmth....

JGH said...

Thanks, Tina. They sometimes end up in the "wrong" coops together. I hope that will help them become friendly, but I'm not holding my breath.

Ashling, so it sounds like you've decided to keep them at least a little while longer!! Hope things are going well....

HMG, Yikes, I don’t have any more shade in my backyard to offer them! The few sunny spots are being used by the (newly fenced in) veggie garden or are hopelessly sloped.

What worked last year was to cover the coop with an insulated sheet (the kind with the little air sacs used to warm up pools) It will be a better method this year because less snow will fall on it- last year we had so much snow and since the coop was exposed, drifts were actually blowing into it and the girls couldn’t even enter the run.

I’m probably spoiling them but I also put in an infrared light when it gets below freezing. Maybe next year I’ll cut down some trees and work on finding a sunny, protected place. BTW, Leah had started laying by the end of Dec. and although she did slow down, layed all winter. So you may get eggs in time for the holidays and all winter too~!

Jocelyn said...

These birds are beautiful! This is reminding me of lunch time in grade school.... :)

Pam J. said...

You wrote in a comment: "I’m probably spoiling them but I also put in an infrared light when it gets below freezing." Awwww...to me, that doesn't sound like spoiling; it sounds like being a responsible farmer or surrogate mother or whatever you consider yourself in this undertaking.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Pretty ladies you have there! I am so hoping that next year we get to keep some chooks.

TALON said...

I'm always amazed at how beautiful the chickens are. I think the move (even with the resulting confusion) was a great one. It's hard to think of winter, but it's a huge consideration.

Have a fabulous time in Wakulla Springs, JGH. Can't wait to see what fabulous shots you capture :)

Jody said...

Thanks for dropping by our blog and leaving a comment on Harvest Monday. Today, I finally gave a reply to everyone who commented.

I love your chickens. We did the same thing. Last winter we moved the coop nice and close to the house. We also used hay as a 3 -6 layer of litter inside the coop. We just replaced it every couple of weeks during the snow season, when we couldn't let them out.

David said...

You have some beautiful chickens there. I'm guessing they are all getting along by now. I was given a chicken rescue fledgling and the 4 older hens aren't too happy about it. It's much better to introduce two at a time.
Do all of your chickens have the same personality? All 4 of ours are vastly different...which was quite a surprise to us.
David/ :-) Tropical Texana