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Chicken update: one week on

Posted by on Wednesday 7 July 2010 in chickens, growing | 1 comment

I’m not going go on and on and on about the chickens but I thought I’d just do a quick update because it’s a week now since we got them – and we had a good bonding day yesterday.

The as-yet-still-unnamed girls seem to have settled in well. The first couple of nights, they needed a little encouragement to go to bed but now they go of their own accord. They were also sleeping in one of the nestbox in a big heap too but now they seem to be using the perches more.

Diet wise, they’ve shunned some of the scraps I’ve taken down – the bolted lettuce has been mostly rejected – but they like leftover pasta and nettles (which is good because there are *loads* in the field next to our house but I’m going to get better gardening gloves before I pick any more as the ones I had one yesterday weren’t good enough and ow-ee, stings all over). They’re eating borage leaves in this picture, which were also popular – handy since we’ve got a healthy patch of them in the herb bed.

We’ve had a couple of scares this week when (our dog) Lily got into the run so getting a lock on the inside of the run door is a priority now — we have a good one outside but no lock when we’re inside. On Monday night, we were also woken by what we’re pretty sure was a fox barking somewhere reasonably close by. It was hard to say whether it was near the coop and that was the reason for the barks (we couldn’t see the fox from the bedroom window) or slightly further in the wood but it worried us: I certainly had a “they could all be dead when we get down there” fear when it came to opening the pop hole the following morning.

As far as eggs are concerned, we’ve had three a day, every day since last Wednesday. For the first two days, one of them each day was squishy shelled but since then, they’ve been perfect. They’re now a good uniform medium-egg size. We’re finding it a little strange that it’s consistently three though – not occasionally four, since they should all be producing just about an egg a day — perhaps one of the girls is younger than the others and hasn’t started laying yet (two of them look smaller than the others so that’s possible). We’re keeping a close eye on them to make sure there is nothing untoward going on. (If we had different breeds like we’d originally planned, it would have been easier to match up the chickens and the eggs – I think the next batch we get in the autumn will, as a minimum, different from our existing girls but hopefully all different from each other too.)

So this bonding experience. They’d mostly been a bit timid around us up until yesterday. One of them, the only one we’ve been able to distinguish so far because she’s got black flecks in her neck feathers, has been getting more confident though and clearly associates us with food. She was looking very interested in me when I was filling up their food yesterday lunchtime so I offered her some corn from my hand and she tucked straight in – something they’d been afraid to do before. It made me smile a lot.

In the evening, I sent John in with a handful of corn and Mrs Black Flecks went straight for him like she’d done with me – and slowly the others joined in so at one point, he had them all eating from his hand together. When his hand was empty, I went in – and she decided that she wasn’t content eating from our hands – she jumped up and flew onto my head! She settled between my head and my neck, and we walked around the coop together – it’s where our cat Carla sits when I carry her so I’m used to walking hunched over like that. She stayed up there for about a minute then flew off again, but continued to follow me around for more treats.

This morning when I went down to take the photos, she came straight to me again and pecked my hands to check for corn even when I was holding the camera. She was very interested in the camera actually…

(Unfortunately it’s overcast today so the camera was struggling to focus at a normal distance, let alone this close up. And trying to use the flash just resulted in ….


Our plan has been to keep them in the run all the time – it’s a good size and I’ve got plans to increase its surface area – but now seeing how they are with us after just a few days, I think it’ll be a shame if they can’t come out to play occasionally too. We’ll see. We need to do some fencing before than can happen (we need to do it anyway for the dog) and the dog will also have to get more chilled around them – but it’ll be nice to think that it might happen in the future. I also can’t wait to get more!

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  1. louisa

    And as if on cue, we got our first egg from number four later on yesterday! She laid it about lunchtime – it’s a little small still but perfectly formed. Good work number 4!

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