A Little Update On ‘The Girls’…

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my chickens, aka ‘the girls’, so I thought I’d post an update.  I’m happy to report, with the exception of ‘Della’, who died at 3 weeks old, the chicks I ordered through the mail, in September, are alive and doing well.  In fact, three out of the seven have already started laying eggs!

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I have to admit, this flock of chickens has certainly been more challenging to raise than their predecessors.  While everything seemed to come naturally to my flock of little red hens, this mixed flock has seemed to have trouble with almost everything!

For a long time, I kept a red light bulb inside of their chicken house, and would have to turn it on at dusk just to get the new flock of ‘girls’ to go inside.  Once inside, they seemed to think it was party time!  I could see inside of their house, from my kitchen window, and two hours after dark, they’d still be walking around in their house!  I finally took their light away, but they continue to put off going in their house until it’s almost too dark to see outside! Meanwhile, their older red sisters, have happily roosted in their own house each evening, well before dusk!

Once the new girls finally go inside of their house, they often can’t seem to make up their minds where they want to sleep.  We had two roosting bars, side by side.  For a while, the chickens slept in different spots on the roosts every night!   They seemed to have trouble establishing a pecking order or a sleeping spot.  Ed finally raised one roosting bar a little higher than the other.  After that, five hens started sleeping on the highest bar, while two sleep on a shelf, next to it, that’s meant for supplies, not for sleeping!  The older red sisters established a pecking order, early, and have slept in the same spots since then.

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Some of this flock of chicks didn’t seem to know what was going on when they first felt the urge to lay an egg.  We watched, with great interest, as the first hen paced in and out of the hen-house, several times, but finally laid her first egg in the dirt!  Some of the sister hens soon followed, but utilized the nesting boxes we’d built and filled with hay, instead of laying in the dirt.

I’m happy to report, everyone is laying in the nesting boxes, now, but, one hen, in particular, seems to get upset when I gather the eggs!  The new hens have already laid 3 dozen eggs, since January 9th!  Most of the eggs laid are small, about the size of a golf ball, but, so far, two of them have had double yolks inside!

One new trick some of the new hens have learned is how to ‘squat’ for me whenever I enter their coop.  (I believe it’s because they think I’m a rooster)  Whenever a hen squats for me, I’ll reach down and rub her back!  I’m not quite sure what she’s expecting, but a back rub is what she gets!  (None of the older girls have ever squatted for me before.)

You may recall, I first began raising chickens three years ago, with a flock of six little red hens.  Over the course of two and a half years, we’ve lost three of the six to various illnesses.  Late last summer, we decided to let the remaining three hens go free during the day.  The girls now free range all day, but return to their coop at night, where they are locked up (as protection against predators) until the next morning.  So far, so good.

Of course, we had to add some wire fencing to areas around the yard that needed chicken proofing (like my flower beds),  and I’m wondering if they are going to find their way into our garden come spring.  Time will tell, if they will get to continue enjoying their freedom!  These hens stay in a separate housing area than their younger sisters, but can often be seen trying to get into the pen with them.

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These red hens have laid literally dozens and dozens of eggs, during their lifetime.  They kept three families supplied with eggs for over two years!  They are called ‘Red Stars’, and are bred to lay more eggs than any other breed.  I thought the girls’ laying days were over, but, lo and behold, some of the hens have started laying eggs again! I’ve gotten 5 eggs from them over the past couple of weeks.

One interesting thing I’ve learned about those little red hens is they can tell time!  They’ve learned that I go outside to give them an afternoon snack every day around 4 o’clock.  If I’m ever running late, I’ll find them waiting for me beside the front steps!  They look forward to their treats.

Another interesting thing about those little red hens is they know the sound of my voice.  Whenever I go outside, and call, “Chick, chick, chick” they will come running, as fast as their short, fat legs will carry them!  One of them will still sit in my lap if she gets half a chance, too.

One thing’s for sure.  If you have chickens, there’s never a dull moment, and there’s always something to do!  Someone once wrote, “Chickens are like the worst of dogs and cats.  You have to let them out, and you have to clean up after them!”  This is true, but I love spending time with them, and we sure do enjoy those farm fresh eggs they provide.  It’s a win-win situation, for me.  I like to refer to my girls as “pets with perks”!

 

 

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Published in: on February 13, 2015 at 9:04 am  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Pets with perks. Love it!! Thanks for the photos and the update! I’ve been wondering how they are all doing!

  2. We’d probably have chickens if we didn’t live in city limits… or have our dog Koda, cuz’ I doubt they’d be too safe around him!

  3. I find it fascinating how you relate to your girls. It shows you are a true lover of all God’s creatures – furry as well a feathery.

  4. Thanks for the update on your girls!

  5. My Pauline seems to go inside earlier when its extremely cold but its usually getting to dark to see when she goes in. She lays every other day and they’re extra large eggs so when I scramble eggs, I only scramble two for the two of us and its plenty. We usually have some to share with our daughter every other week.
    Pauline knows the sound of Honey Bear’s car. He goes out and talks to her and gives her a scattering of Sunflower seeds each day. I like to hear about your “girls”.
    Mama Bear


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