Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chicken Winter Home

Well, I'm back down to 3 chickens. No, the bantams weren't misbehaving. But I realized that...

A. I was doing twice the amount of work, and buying double the amount of feed....for nearly the same amount of eggs.

B. Pulling a chicken tractor around on nice lawn, and pulling it around in the mud, are 2 entirely different things.

Bantams don't lay nearly as often as production birds. But they eat about the same amount. The whole reason I wanted the little girls was to breed them. Since I can't have a rooster, that is out. Also, the lawn has stopped growing and the rainy season is upon us. The space under the chicken tractor has become a mud pit. I sold the (now healthy) bantams for double what I paid for them and today I moved the big girls over into their winter quarters, the kennel run with the attached coop. This was no easy task....moving them. I had to figure out how to get them out of the tractor, one at a time, and across the yard to the chicken run. I kept them in the coop part of the tractor until I was ready to make the transfer. The first hen (the black star) was easy, as she was on the roost right next to the door. By the time I was ready for the second hen, they had figured out something was up, and were not cooperating. The coop section of the tractor is deceptively deep. I had to open the door quite a bit in order to grab one. This allowed Joanie (the leghorn) to make a run for it. She got out the door and ran through the rhubarb. I was thinking I'd be in for a chase when she suddenly squatted and assumed the submissive posture. Which was odd as I was a good 6 feet away from her at the time. She just squatted there until I came and scooped her up. Maybe she realized she was out in the big world and got a little panicky. She's used to being penned in the small confines of the tractor. The third hen (the production red) was easier to grab and move. Once they were all 3 in the run they began, almost immediately, to get a good dust bath. They all smooshed in together, rolling and tossing dirt over their backs, all the while making chicken purring sounds. Yes, chickens purr when they are happy.

Note to self: White chickens in the muddy Pacific Northwest? Not a good idea. I don't think Joanie will ever be white again. The plan is to put the chicken tractor up on blocks for the winter. The girls will go back into the summer quarters once the weather permits.

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