Friday, August 7, 2015


Here are the six newest members of our family.
This is Whitey, she is Joe's hen. She is #6 in the peck order and is therefore the target of almost all of the harassing by # 1 and #2. She likes me, I'm her protector. She is separated from the others for her own sanity, until she gets bigger and can better ward of the bossy duo.

This is Scout, she is Julia's hen. She is #5 in the peck order and is harassed at times, though less then Whitey. But put Whitey and Scout together and Scout will peck Whitey. Scout is a barred Plymouth Rock, about 5 months old.
These are the girls, plus one.These are the girls that rule the run. From left to right, they are (I think) Beezus, Rosie, and Izzy, and Marabelle. It is sometimes hard to tell the three on the left apart, I needed a couple of days to figure it out.
This is #1 (mean) girl, Beezus. This is what she looks like from above, lots of white. She has beautifully colored feathers.She is a Red Sex Link hen, aka Red Star et al, about 6 months old. She will see Whitey or Scout off somewhere in the chicken run and chase them and peck them, without provocation and without reason. She is Sean's hen.
This is #2, Rosie. She is just like Beezus, down one notch on the ornery scale. She is graced with just a hint of white in her tail and back. She's the same age and breed as Beezus. She is Molly's hen.
This is Izzy, #3, she is my hen. I think that she is just a little younger than Beezus and Rosie but the same breed. She doesn't get in on the mean action but she likes to hang out with the other two big reds.
This is Marabelle, #4 in the peck order. She is Cassidy's hen. She is like Switzerland, neutral, she bothers no one and no one bothers her, except us humans. She does not like us and will not let us pick her up or pet her. She is a Buff Orpington, about 5 or 6 months.
 It has been an interesting nine days, that's how long we've had them. They are up at 6 am every morning. They start to bawk until we let them out of their coop. It's not loud and its not as annoying as some dogs we know, but they let you know they are ready to rock and roll. I try to keep the poop picked up every other day at least. And hens poop, a lot. Seriously. It verges on gross, but you know? At least the poop is useful. It is great for garden soil, and our soil can use all the help it can get. And if it's free, even better. Well, not free, as we had to pay for the feed. But isn't it great to be able to use the waste of one project for the substance of another? They love to eat corn, zucchini, bugs, dandelion greens, watermelon, homegrown sunflower seeds, pumpkin, etc. We let them out of their run a few times during the day for a couple of hours in total. The hens only spend the night and laying egg time in their coop, which was quite the ordeal to make, but that's okay. In the evening the hens will make their way into the coop around nightfall. If I fail to get Whitey out of her run and into the main coop before it gets too dark she will refuse to move, I have to carry her. As did Scout. That must be a hen preservation thing, don't move at night when there are predators that might be out and about. Just hide.
  To go from no pets, to pets that require care throughout the day, everyday, is a big change. I didn't expect it in all honesty. I don't know why? I do need to get a few things sorted out because of the strength of the peck order, which I was not prepared for. I need to put out a second feeder in the main run, one in the small run for Whitey, and likewise waterers for the small run, one for the coop, and a small alternative one for the main run. Cheap me refuses to shell out $25 for a prefab waterer or feeder.
  (Almost) loving having chickens.
Holding our first two eggs, from our own chickens.