The girls have arrived!

Posted in: Chickens, family, Farm Life | 1

The electric fence was installed, the coop renovated and all that was missing were the girls, the 19 week old, almost ready to lay, pullets. We had put in an order for 10 of them and late last week they arrived; lovely reddish brown hybrids known as “Red Sexlinks.” They were shy, the result of being a little shell-shocked from being driven in an open crate in the open back of a truck all the way from near London, in southwestern Ontario.

We made a typical beginners mistake in letting them out of their traveling crate to wander around in their fenced yard, rather than putting them straight into their coop. We thought it wise to let them get over being jammed in the crate all day by being able to wander and explore their spacious new outdoor yard. The trouble was that, as darkness approached, they had no idea that the lovely coop in the middle of the yard was their new home and instead began settling in for the night under the trees. It would have made a hilarious video if someone had been there to take one of Sheila and me trying to catch 10 chickens and get them into their coop. They always would head straight for the areas under the trees which were protected by branches that come almost down to the ground and we ended up almost crawling under branches to flush them out. We finally got them locked away safely for the night. Then we went inside to read that new chickens should be kept locked in their new coop for at least 24 hours with food and water so that they would come to know that as “home” before being let out. The next day we did that only to find that they liked their new home so much that they were reluctant to leave it the following morning.  Now, however,  they do leave the coop in the morning after the door is opened and most go back in at night. But, as I write this, I notice that two are trying to settle down for the night on some tree branches. Once it is a little darker and they are sleepy, we will go out with head lamps on to bring them into their coop. (One hour later: the expedition was a success. One chicken was easily plucked out of the tree and the other had already left the tree and was bedded down under the coop).

20160320_155637_resized_1
Here are a number of our “girls” sunbathing in the shelter of a tree.

 

20160319_113534_resized
Lounging around in the coop. They have come to see it as home and, even though the door is wide open during the day, often spend time there. It helps that the food and water is in the coop but they spend some time there even when not eating or drinking.

 

20160317_171745_resized
She flew to the top of the coop, over 6 feet high, soon after arrival. That showed us the need to clip their wing feathers on one side, which would make it difficult for them to fly so high.

 

20160318_162149_resized_1
Our oldest grand daughter, visiting with her family from Toronto for the weekend, fell in love with the chickens and watched them for hours. She was a great help in holding them very still so that I could clip the wing feathers. Her younger brother also helped with that. One member of the family who was not a help was their dog Charlie. He badly wanted to come in and play with the chickens. So badly that twice he touched the electric netting with his nose and each time he let out a shocked yelp and high-tailed it to the house, yelping as he ran. After the second time he was no longer so keen to come in to play with the chickens but stayed far back. Sounds cruel to say this, but I was delighted to see that the solar powered electric fence was so effective!

 

 

One Response

  1. Margie Sargent

    Interesting post! We enjoyed reading it together!

Leave a Reply